Do You Think You’re an Emotional Spender?

You just had a really hard day at work. You want to do something to take the edge off and release that pent-up energy you’ve been carrying around for hours. You do what you always do when you’re looking for some stress relief — you go shopping. That’s right — you’re not the type to have a stiff cocktail or take a smoking break when you need to recover from a tough workday. No, you need to buy something.

Taking part in a little bit of “retail therapy” after one particularly bad day isn’t a problem. It’s only a problem when you do this on a regular basis. Being an emotional spender can do some real damage to your personal finances. 

What Is an Emotional Spender?

An emotional spender is someone who tends to spend money to cope with heightened emotions. So, if you’re experiencing a lot of stress at work, you might find that you go out shopping for clothes that you don’t exactly need after you clock out. The shopping experience could provide some gratification and stress relief. 

Stress isn’t the only trigger for emotional spending. You might find that you spend more during other heightened emotional states, like when you are sad, angry or anxious. Any time that you don’t feel perfectly content, you might be tempted to pull out your wallet. 

Why is this a problem?

Financial Trouble

If you make a habit of emotional spending, you could put yourself into a tricky financial spot. You could easily push the boundaries of your monthly budget and put your checking account in overdraft. You could rack up the balance on your credit card and even max out the account. You could empty your savings because of your shopping sprees and leave yourself vulnerable to emergency expenses. Soon enough, you won’t have any funds to cover purchases when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Getting Back on Track

If you’ve put yourself into this position, you’re going to have to get yourself out of it as soon as possible. You don’t want to set this goal aside. Doing this could sink you deeper into a vicious debt cycle. 

Don’t panic if you’re not sure where to start with getting your finances back on track. Start by reading this blog on how you can make it happen — you’ll get clear step-by-step instructions on how to repay outstanding personal loans and revolving credit accounts. Following these simple instructions will help you get out of the debt cycle and move forward.

However, if you keep emotional spending, you will jump straight back into the cycle. So, you will need to break this bad habit.

Poor Coping Mechanism

Another reason why you should stop emotional spending is that it’s not a healthy coping mechanism. While it may provide you with a rush of dopamine that will make you feel better, that feeling won’t last long. Once that positive feeling is over, you might realize that you have a shopping bag full of impulse purchases that you don’t need or even want. And you might feel guilty that you’ve spent money that was best reserved for other expenses.

Better Ways to Cope

When you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed, there are other coping mechanisms that you can use to decompress. These are some healthier options:

All of these are effective strategies for regulating your emotions when you’re feeling overwhelmed. And they won’t require you to make irresponsible financial decisions.

If you’re still finding it hard to cope with heightened emotions, you may want to seek out a therapist. A trained professional could help you manage these moments of overwhelm in a safe and healthy way.

Your habit of emotional spending isn’t helping you. In fact, it’s hurting your finances. So, it’s time to break this habit for good. 

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