When we’re feeling down, many of us indulge in retail therapy in a bid to feel better. Research indicates that this works by giving us a sense of achievement and control. Even browsing online, or window shopping can lift our mood because we anticipate the possibility of a reward. But what if you’re struggling financially? Paradoxically, a spot of retail therapy can make you feel better about yourself.

But afterwards, you may well be consumed by guilt and anxiety. Unfortunately, feeling better in the moment does nothing to ameliorate the rising cost of living, particularly if you are struggling to make ends meet. Yet most of us are feeling the pinch just now and are probably in need of something to make us feel better about the financial constraints we’re living under. So, what to do?

This is where a little mindfulness is called for. Planning our finances by creating a budget will allow us to see exactly how we are spending our money, which should enable us to feel more in control. When we know where our money is going, it may be possible to cut back on unnecessary purchases. Little things like regular coffee shop coffees, chocolate bars or magazines add up to more than we realise, and often they’re just a habit that we don’t really appreciate.

Instead, we could plan our finances in a way that allows us to treat ourselves each month or save up for something larger. It’s not about dodging guilt either, but more about knowing and feeling that we are worthy and deserving of what we buy. If we spend our money consciously, it will bring long-lasting satisfaction, and our purchases will remind us of something good, rather than leaving us with a lingering sense of guilt.