While impulse buying isn’t always a bad thing, it has the potential to become a financially damaging addiction. Being aware of what causes you to spend in this way is key to decreasing your emotional spending. When you know what triggers your behaviour, you can take the first steps toward changing it.

Emotional spending is often caused by sadness, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, stress, financial difficulties, social isolation and boredom. However, the following suggestions should help you decrease your impulse spending and stay in control:

Understand what causes it
When you find yourself about to make an impulse buy, check in with your feelings. If you are sad, angry, or anxious, for example, stop and ask yourself if purchasing this item will really make you feel better, or whether it’s just an avoidance tactic.

Distract yourself
We engage in emotional spending to enjoy the positive feelings that come from the dopamine rush which accompanies a reward. There are, however, healthier and cheaper ways to obtain that feeling. Try taking time out and doing something else:

  • Go for a walk
  • Play sport
  • Meet a friend for coffee
  • Spend time on your hobby
  • Keep tabs on your bank account and budget for treats

Burying your head in the sand when it comes to your finances can lead to overspending, particularly if you are an emotional spender. Instead, keeping track of your spending on a weekly or daily basis will help you determine what you can afford to spend.

Save money
Saving money can give us the same dopamine hit as spending it. Watching your savings increase not only produces feelings of happiness it also enables you to feel in control of your money. Set up an automated transfer, and you won’t even have to think about it, your savings will start to grow all by themselves.