Emotional spending

I've been there. You've been there. We've all been there.

You had a bad day, things didn't go the way you wanted them to, you're lonely, you're bored, you're overwhelmed, a relationship ended....the list goes on.

You think to yourself, I'll feel better once I buy all these clothes, that super expensive, very cute purse, that picture I've been thinking about, a completely new living room. And you know what, you do feel better....for about 3 seconds. Maybe another 5 when that item gets to your house and you get excited to try on the outfit or hang up the picture. Then reality sets in and you realize you're still sad, overwhelmed, lonely, etc. Only now you have a large credit card bill, or unplanned expense, that you have to pay for and factor into your budget, readjusting items as needed.

Does this sound familiar to you? I've been there. I used to be that person.

This is emotional spending. And it is dangerous.

Here's what I do to combat emotional spending:

  • Try a no-spend week. I was able to purchase any essentials (groceries, things for the house like trash bags, etc.) but anything non-essential was off the table for a week. It helped me see how many times I was heading to shop and online shop to make myself feel better. It was a huge wake-up call.

  • When I'm shopping and thinking about things, I will put it in the cart and revisit 12-24 hours later. If it's still on my mind, I buy it. If not, I enjoyed the "shopping high" I got...without having to spend money.

  • I ask myself, do I really NEED this or do I just want it?

  • I think about my goals and ask myself if this will help me reach my goals. Some goals include getting my house the way I like it, etc. So, they're not all financial goals.


I also went through my closet, gift closet, and tucked away shelving. I sold stuff I didn't need anymore and I was ashamed at how many of those items were in the original box, unopened, with tags still on. That showed me how much I was using shopping as a crutch, and not because I needed those items.

What are some things you do to curb emotional spending or make yourself more aware of when you're buying stuff because you're taking your mind off something or do you actually need it?

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