Are You an Emotional Spender? Here’s How To Know and What To Do

Does “When the going gets tough, the tough goes shopping” describe you to a T? Is spending your way to deal with problems? When your money habits are dictated by your feelings, it’s easy to get into financial trouble! Here are five signs that point to an emotional spender. Find out if you are one now!

Stressed at work? You buy a new bag. Guilty about not spending enough time with your loved ones? There goes your hefty Christmas bonus—down to the last centavo—spent on new clothes and toys for the family.

If you’re shopping binges are instant relief from uncomfortable feelings, then you’re an emotional spender. Here are five signs to know for sure and advice on what to do. 

1. You Shop for New Clothes Depending on the Mood You’re In.

The sign: You’re feeling sad and bloated so you buy clothes in happy colors. Or you killed it at your client presentation so you went and bought that new suit.

The fix: Window shop, try it on, take pictures, but don’t buy it yet. Sleep on it and go back to the store two or three days after. If you still want to buy it, then do so. When the emotional need passes, the urge to buy often disappears.

2. Using Your Credit Card Is Your No. 1 Stress Reliever

The sign: It hasn’t been a good day. Your action plan—whip out your credit card and make wild online purchases to put a smile back on your face.

The fix: Cut the plastic in half and content yourself with just browsing, not buying. If you need the credit card, lower the credit limit to a minimum.

3. Your Home is Filled with Stuff You Don’t Need. 

The sign: Your closet are filled with stuff that still have their tags on. You have a vintage-designed popcorn maker in your kitchen but you never buy popcorn or an exercise machine that you have not used for two years.

The fix: Make a habit of asking yourself, “Do I really need this?” and “What will I use it for?” Never buy something on the spot unless you need it for absolute survival. For the rest of your “wants” sleep on it for three days or so. Chances are you won’t want it the second time around.

4. You Upgrade Your Cellphone as Soon as the Latest Model Comes Out

The sign: Drat! A new tablet just came out in the market. Now, you have to upgrade your barely used gadget just to one-up everyone else.

The fix: The latest it bag, the newest car model—there are other ways to feel better about yourself without bombing out your savings.

5.  You Get Buyer’s Remorse Every Time You Look at Your Receipts.

The sign: There’s no surefire sign of emotional spending than guilt or regret at seeing how much you paid for. How you feel whenever you look at your receipts is a huge indication of being an emotional spender. If you really needed something, then you won’t feel guilt, shame, or regret.

The fix: Make a list of what you need to buy whenever you go to the mall or to the grocery store. That way, you’ll avoid buying things you don’t need.