Emotional Spending: Why Spending Feels Good

Emotional Spending: Why Spending Feels Good

Why does shopping feel good?   Let's explore the pschology of spending.  

Everyone deserves something that can help them feel good when they've had a rough day. Some people like to exercise, others hop on the phone with a friend or may just indulge in their hobbies.
Do you feel like buying something new always gets you in a better mood? If so, you may be practicing emotional spending without knowing it. 

Emotional spending can be seen as a form of impulse buying where people buy things they don't need to improve their mood. Some people joke about emotional spending by branding it as "retail therapy," but that term can make people overlook how troublesome it can be for your finances. 

Thanks to the pandemic, impulse buying has gotten worse, but there is a way to break the cycle. Read on to learn why we love to impulse buy and how you can stop. 

The Why Behind the Buy 

Some people can assume they impulse spend because it feels good, but have they ever thought about why it makes them happy? The answer to this can be a variety of things.
Emotion plays a huge role in impulse buying. Finances are such a personal thing, so it's only natural that emotions can get tied up in the process. Buying something small may make you feel good momentarily, but making decisions based purely on emotions isn't the best way to go through life. 
Some people impulse buy out of habit. They grew up watching their parents buy things to deal with their problems and didn't learn about financial discipline. As a result, they've fallen into the same habits their parents had. 
There are even some people that impulse buy because they're convinced they found a great deal. This is why it's important to think critically about the advertisements you see. BOGO deals, free shipping, and other little discounts can convince you that you're saving money on something you don't even need.

Tips for Curbing Emotional Spending 

Do you want to cut down on your impulse buys? Breaking the cycle of emotional spending is possible when you have the right tools. If you're serious about saving money and sticking to your budget, follow these tips. 

  • Wait It Out: Did you just see something you feel like you have to own? Instead of buying it now, see if you still feel the same way in a day.  Not buying things in the moment gives you a chance to slow down and think. If you give yourself some time and enter a different emotional state, you may find that you don't actually want what you thought you needed.
  • Cut Down on Email Clutter: Stopping impulse buying can be difficult if you're constantly flooded with emails about sales and discounts. If it's too hard to resist, consider removing yourself from some mailing lists. When you can't see all of the "deals," you may find yourself less tempted to buy. 

  • Set a "Just Because" Budget : Are impulse buys eating into your budget? If you love to shop but just want to cut down, consider setting aside a budget for your retail fun. Setting a budget for impulse buys still gives you the opportunity to buy something, but it lets you do it in a way that won't harm you financially.

Learn More Money Management Tips

Curbing your emotional spending is only one way you can improve your money management skills. Education First FCU is committed to helping our members achieve their financial goals.  We have plenty of resources for people that want to learn more about how to secure their financial future. Browse our extensive FiEd Resource Center and blog so you can learn about topics that matter to you the most.