Learn how to avoid emotional spending and have more money in your family’s budget.
Emotional Spending: In Your Budget?
It can be a challenging time for families in America right now. Because of the rising cost of living from inflation, it can be tough to keep up with everything that needs to be paid even when you have a household with an active income. Over half of Americans have said that they spent more than they made each month in 2023.
When you’re overwhelmed, it’s easy to fall into the ironic pattern of emotional spending. While this can make you feel a little better in the moment, it hurts your finances in the long run and makes it harder to have enough money for your family. It’s natural to want to provide all the wants and needs for every family member, so this only makes it even more crucial to figure out how to break emotional spending habits.
Thankfully, there are ways to get this out of the way over time.
Identify Your Triggers
The first step to avoiding emotional spending is figuring out what is causing the emotional reaction in the first place. A lot of spend money as a response to stress, but this isn’t the only manifestation of emotional spending. Some people fall into the habit in an effort to keep up with others, for instant gratification, insecurities, or just as an outlet for impulses.
Even if it feels like an uncomfortable process, take some time to look within and back at your previous purchases. Do they match up with certain triggers that make you want to shop? Do you end up returning a lot of what you buy? Retailers have found that returns totaled 26.5% of all consumer spending in 2022. With that, it’s worth considering why you buy certain things and whether or not you feel you may even want them a month from now.
Find Hobbies That Aren’t Consumption-Based
It’s always good to have hobbies as a parent. It helps keep up your mental well-being and have an activity that is just for you. Whether you’re a working parent or planning to become a stay-at-home mom, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to find a hobby and set aside some time for it regularly. It’s a great way to feel engaged without having to buy something or spend.
Of course, this also means you may want to find a hobby that isn’t based on consumption. Consider gardening instead of collecting items you need to buy, or learning something new that you can practice in your free time.
Mindfulness is a wonderful way to minimize emotional spending. The great thing about practicing mindfulness is that it can also trickle over into other parts of your life. When you are mindful, you can live in the moment and feel more positive even as you face challenges.
It also helps foster an appreciation for delayed gratitude, which means you get greater rewards by resisting the temptation to act on impulse. You’ll often find that the “good things come to those who wait” nugget rings true in life. Studies also show that individuals who practice mindfulness feel less stressed. So, you’ll feel happier in the long run without feeling the need to resort to spending.
Create a Realistic Budget You Can Stick To
One of the best ways to make a budget you can actually stick to is to make it realistic. Too often, we over and underestimate certain expenses and end up not following through on the set budget. With that, you are more likely to spend excessively and justify any emotional spending as the budget is already ruined.
Make sure you set aside a part of your budget for both wants and needs, taking into account any events in the month that might change how finances will flow. For instance, knowing that Black Friday will definitely affect prices and how you’ll want to spend. With that, tons of core items will cost less and eat up a smaller chunk of the budget. At the same time, you’ll have to create a strict plan for allocating funds so that you don’t end up buying into the temptation of every Black Friday deal out there.
Are You an Emotional Spender?
Are you an emotional spender but found ways to curb that habit? Share your tips with us in the comments below!