Emotional buying and spending do not necessarily involve large sums of money. It’s more about why you spend money than how much you spend. Emotional buying means you spend money to feel better or feel good in some way, and you do not really think of the consequences. Emotional buyers often use credit cards for their purchases, because it takes the “sting” out of shelling out cash. It seems like you’re not really spending money, and enhances the “feel good” factor.
But emotional buying habits are not healthy, either financially or emotionally. Here are some tips on stopping the destructive behavior known as emotional buying.
Identify the Need
Sources point out that emotional buying is indicative of some sort of unmet need. Maybe you felt deprived as a child, or perhaps you are trying to cope with emotional trauma with the accumulation of stuff. Of course, this is just a superficial fix. The underlying problem is still there.
Seek out therapy and counseling to help you identify what emotional needs or issues are at the root of your spending problem. If you can deal with the emotion that’s driving the behavior, you’re more likely to be able to stop the spending.
Let It Go
It can be tempting to spend because you don’t feel adequate. Maybe you’re trying to keep up with those Joneses we all seem to have in our lives. Or maybe you are buying inordinate amounts of things for your child(ren) or other family members. Some emotional spenders will rationalize their spending if it’s for someone they love. Try to let it go – you’re not competing with other families to see how much stuff you can show off. For all you know, that other family could be in more debt than you are!
Turn It Off
Advertising can be a real trap for the emotional buyer. After all, ads are aimed at your emotions and perceived needs. Emotional buyers are especially vulnerable to these tactics. So turn off your television and other sources of ads, and don’t browse magazines with lots of ads. It’s also a good idea to turn off any shopping networks and not browse through paper catalogues. Take some time out from the ads that make you want things you don’t need!
Find Another Outlet
As you are working on the underlying emotional issues that fuel your buying, find other things you can “indulge” in that can act as an emotional pick-me-up or reward. (It’s probably not a good idea to make that indulgent item food, however.) Treat yourself to a walk in a nearby park or a workout at the gym, or take in a chapter of a book you’ve been wanting to read. Just try to avoid any sort of money spending as you think of ways to give yourself an emotional boost.