Binge Spending- When Your Wallet Hits the Road

Money and Emotions

How to Disentangle Them . . .

emotional spendingMoney and emotions are intricately linked. Most of us know the feeling of wanting to spend to make ourselves feel better after a hard day at work or after a stressful activity.

Even if we phrase it to ourselves different — “I want a manicure as a treat” or “expensive chocolates would taste good now” – the desire to have those things is linked to a desire to spend in order to care for ourselves, to reward ourselves, or to protect ourselves from stress.

Spending emotionally is only a problem when you are overspending. To some degree, everybody spends emotionally, whether it’s for a great suit to make oneself feel important or entrance to a nightclub to dance the night away.

If you’re overspending because you spend emotionally. You need to curtail it.

The first step out of the web of money and emotions is to become aware of why we might be spending when we either binge spend (rack up big purchases or a lot of little ones suddenly, for things we don’t really need) or go way over budget for the month.

First, plan a rough budget for all the necessities: rent/mortgage, food, transportation, clothes, anything else you need on a steady basis.

Second, if you binge spend or go way over budget, examine your purchases. Why did you make them? Write it down or record it on your computer. Why? Well, in order to take action, you need to define what the feelings were. You need to get it out of your head, too, and into someplace else, like a journal or an audio/video diary.

Once you know why you did something, analyze what you can do differently the next time you get a trigger like that. Ex-husband driving you crazy? Call a friend and share emotions rather than spend.