Although you may feel that you have your spending habits under control, people do tend to spend for emotional reasons. Some people spend to feel better, to get rid of a feeling of loneliness, or to forget about whatever it is that’s bothering them. Alternatively, some people like to spend money when they feel good about themselves.
Either way, it’s not a good idea. Your intellect should determine how, when, and on what your money is spent. When you invite emotions into the picture, you’re asking for trouble.
How? For one thing, if you’re serious about saving and investing, this is just what it takes to ruin your plans. Spend, yes. But, spend within a plan and not simply because you feel like it.
You may also regret the impulsive shopping later – which will make you feel even worse than you did then. An impromptu purchase means you didn’t take the time to discuss it with your spouse or significant other. It also means that you won’t buy as smart as you normally could: waiting for the item to go on sale, researching makes and models, possibly buying second-hand, and deciding how to pay for the item.
There are several solutions to emotional spending, and you’ll have to find the one that works for you. Here are some ideas:
Instead of making the purchase when the mood strikes, start looking into it now. Read what consumer magazines have to say, ask friends, and check prices at various stores and websites. Sometimes, just researching a new purchase satisfies the need to shop, and you’ll be in a better position to make a logical decision later.
Keep the receipts.
Hold onto the receipts and don’t use the recently purchased items if you do go on a shopping spree. Most stores allow returns, and you may decide to return some or all of the things you’ve bought when you’ve had a moment to think about it.
Look at the big picture.
Remind yourself of your financial goals. Think about how much closer you’ll be to them if you don’t spend the money now.
Think of how much good the money can do if given to a worthwhile cause.
In general, spending is not a bad thing. But there’s something tremendously empowering about knowing you only spend when you’ve made a logical, conscious decision to do so.
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