I know it all too well, and so do you. Those moments when life feels like it is too hard and all you want to do is go out and buy something nice. The next thing you know you have all spent the money you were saving. That my friend is what we call emotional spending.
It is a curse that has plagued us since the beginning of time (okay maybe not the beginning). And it isn’t good. So, how do we overcome it? We can go to the extreme and hide in our bedrooms. Better yet move to a deserted island and live out the rest of our days. Well, you can do all those things or you can continue reading this article.
Let’s dive in.
Tip 1: Acknowledge your emotion.
First things first you need to acknowledge your emotions. It’s good for your emotional health. I know you may be wondering what kind of tip is that, well, the smart adult kind. Listen, people, we are emotional beings. And emotions are inevitable, and sometimes those emotions are yucky. But let me tell you a secret; It’s okay to feel them.
Most times we spend money emotionally because we feel down. We tend to feel down about our circumstances and situations. We spend when we fail, or feel as if we haven’t accomplished anything, and so on.
Those feelings are yucky but, instead of running to the department store, take a moment to feel them and then let them motivate you to accomplish your goals.
I always say, “if you don’t like something then change it.” You don’t like your job, get another one; don’t like where you live then move. You don’t like your hairstyle change it and so on. There is no rule that says that you need to live a life that makes you destroy yourself.
So, don’t let emotions rule you. Instead, find a way to rule them. The number one secret to a happier and healthier life is to control what’s inside. Don’t be afraid of the yucky emotions. Most of the times you can talk yourself down from them.
Tip 2: Have a plan.
Okay if you are like, “Nelle I don’t want to feel those yucky emotions.” Then have a plan. What does this mean? It means exactly what it says. Plan out your emotional spending.
This can happen with a budget. Yes, that “B” word again. If you know you’re an emotional spender, add it to your budget. So Every month set aside that 20, 30, or 50 dollars in a separate account.
Now when the emotional spending bug bites you, there is already have money set aside to satisfy it. This way you won’t go broke and have to live in a cardboard box.
If you are struggling with your budget check out my 2019 Minimalist Guide To Budgeting. Just refresh your page.
Besides setting a budget I also recommend that you try actually planning out what you’re going to buy.
I know it sounds crazy but you can actually do it. Ask yourself what have I always wanted to buy for myself. Is it a pair of earrings, a book, headphones, or clothes? Whatever your overspending preference is, plan it out.
Here’s an example: if I must buy something to make myself feel better, I will always buy a book. I give myself a budget so that when the emotional spending bug bites me, I go and buy said books. But the important thing is, I always have my budget in mind.
Honestly, by the time I find the books I want that are within budget, I’m over the whole thing that had me spending money in the first place.
I know that going to Barnes and Noble is therapeutic for me. The thought of rummaging through books gives me time to stop and think. Having time to think, stops me from spending money. So, pick your battle. Plan your emotional spending.
This planning trick works Every time because a good plan guaranteed success.
Emotional spending is like every other type of spending. But I have a bit of advice; If you need to budget your emotional spending and feel like it’s out of control, I recommend you see a therapist. Because the emotional spending might be tied to a traumatic event that you are trying to cover up. I’m just saying.
Tip 3: Get an accountability partner
Okay so you’re budgeting and it’s not working. And you don’t think a therapist is right for you. Then I suggest this last tip; get an accountability partner.
Find a friend who you love and trust. Someone who you can be vulnerable with. For some, it’s their spouse, others it’s their friend. But whoever it is, ask them to help hold you accountable.
Maybe they can hold you accountable with the budget you set. They can even be the person you call to talk about what’s happening in your life.
We all need someone to support us. Having support helps us reach our full potential. We are social beings. So let us use that to our advantage. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone.
And if you are uncomfortable talking about your problems, ask that person out to lunch, or just call and talk to them about something else. The point is to reach out. And I know you can.
Don’t let emotional spending control you. But instead, control it. We will always feel emotions because we are emotional beings. But our emotion doesn’t give us our identity. They are there to motivate us to be better.
Don’t be afraid to take control of your emotions, your situations. The biggest secret to breaking free from emotional spending is taking control. It’s your life you are in the driver seat. So live it for yourself and in the process inspire others to live freely.