Yes!  I am an emotional spender, and I don’t know may people who can honestly answer no to that question.

I am sure we have all been guilty at one time or another of purchasing something, getting it home, and looking at it a day or so later on asking ourselves “why on earth did I buy that?”. 

This isn’t just a women thing.  Men spend emotionally as well; we may just spend a little differently when emotions get in the way.

How can you tell if you are an emotional spender?

What do you do when you feel stressed?  Think about the last time you felt under a lot of pressure, did you:

  1. Go for a run or walk to clear your head?
  2. Reach into the fridge for a glass of wine?
  3. Pick up a chocolate bar on the way home and eat it while driving?
  4. Or head to the closest shopping centre and come home laden with goodies? For men, it is more likely to be heading to your local bar and shouting all your mates.

If you answered number 4, you are probably an emotional shopper, so you need to read on.

Another tell-tale sign of an emotional spender, is you spend regardless of whether you can afford to or not.   There may be other bills to pay, but in the heat of the moment, you don’t care that the rent is due tomorrow, or the power bill is due next week.  You just have to have whatever has caught your fancy.

An emotional spender has mastered the art of storytelling.  You can justify your spending till the cows come home.  By the time you have finished you have written a novel about why it was perfectly OK for you to splurge.

When you hand over the credit card, you feel so good.  Just for those few minutes when you are trying on the new shoes, your emotions suddenly lift and you feel great.  You know everyone is going to admire your new purchase.  That high usually lasts until you walk out the door of the shop and then a little while later (anywhere from minutes to days) buyer’s remorse sets in.

Emotional spenders can from time to time, find themselves in sticky financial situations and have to rob Peter to pay Paul by shuffling money around between credit cards and bank accounts to get the ends to meet. Or borrowing money from friends and family to tide you over.  This of course causes more stress, so guess what, you go spending again and the viscous cycle continues

If you can see yourself in these behaviours, here are a few things you can do to start to bring your emotional spending under control

  1. Recognise what emotion triggers your spending. Next time that emotion hits, make a conscious choice to do something different.
  2. Step back and give yourself sometime to come back to equilibrium. If you find yourself about to pull out the credit card, stop, count to 10 (higher if you need to) and give your rational brain time to kick in, then you can really decide if you want to spend the money
  3. Get some support or help from a friend, that is what they are there for. Pick up the phone and as my daughter says to me, ‘have a rant’, always best to check in with your friend first to make sure the timing is OK with them.  Once you have whatever the emotion is off your chest, the impulse to spend will have dissipated
  4. Minimise temptation as much as you can. If online shopping is your thing.  Unsubscribe from the emails that will tempt you to spend.  Don’t have your credit card number remembered in your computer, so every time you want to spend, you have to get the card out and enter the number.

All these tips will help you change your behaviours.  But if you want long lasting change, then you will have to go one step further back, and look at your beliefs and that is where we can help you. So, if you want to get your emotional spending under control.  Pick up the phone and give us a call or drop us an email.