Whether you’ve had a stressful day at work or a fight with your significant other, stress can trigger spending that you wouldn’t otherwise do. Emotional spending – sometimes known as retail therapy – is a dangerous habit that can land you in debt without delivering the good feelings you were counting on.
Here are 6 warning signs to look for so you can prevent an emotional spending spree.
You Say “I Deserve It” When Making A Purchase
Telling yourself that you deserve the shoes that are way out of your budget is a sign that you’re shopping to boost your own self-esteem. Spending money on items you feel will make you more attractive is a habit that is rooted in your emotions. Address your own self-esteem issues to prevent buying things to fulfill something you feel is lacking.
You Shop To Escape Financial Problems
If you’ve recently been on the receiving end of bad news regarding your finances, you may be tempted to go make a purchase. However, if budgeting is hard for you, spending more than you planned can easily happen which will make your financial situation even worse. Avoid using credit cards in a fit of emotional spending as this will certainly make your situation that much worse.
You’re Seeking Immediate Gratification
When you’re stressed out, you may feel anxious, restless and even irritable. To combat these negative feelings, many people seek the immediate gratification that shopping can provide. However, the relief is only temporary and many people experience buyers remorse and a resulting low once the shopping spree is over.
Instead of making an emotional decision for instant gratification, think about the purchase and review your budget for a healthy dose of reality.
You’re Shopping Simply To Relieve Stress
Some people shop to relieve stress. Immersing yourself in the world of new clothes, kitchen gadgets and mall sales is a good way to blow off steam and forget about life. But if that type of self-help involves buying everything you see, you may need to steer clear of the mall when you’re stressed out.
Instead of shopping, try talking to a friend, hitting the gym or relaxing in a hot bath.
You Keep Trying To Keep Up With The Jones’
Lets face it, there will always be times when friends, family members or co-workers have something better than you. When buying or collecting things becomes a competition, it gets harder to keep a clear head when making purchases. While it’s fine to want the best for your family, don’t fund that desire with credit card debt and emotional spending.
You Return More Items Than You Keep
Most casual shoppers return an item once in a while when it’s the wrong color, wrong size or just didn’t suit the need you bought it for. However, an emotional shopper may find themselves returning lots of items all the time in an effort to minimize financial damage. While you may save some of the financial ramifications of your shopping spree by returning things, you’ve still invested a lot of time and energy into the exercise that could have been spent doing something more worthwhile.