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Buying something you don’t really really need when you’re stressed, bored or needing a boost of self-esteem is defined as emotional spending. Impulse buying, while giving you a temporary emotional boost, can wreak havoc on your budget and prevent you from having money for future needs or to put in savings. Learn how to avoid emotional spending so you can also help avoid the feelings of guilt and the eventual credit card debt that can occur.

Know Your Triggers

The triggers that lead you to indulge in emotional spending so you can consciously avoid them. Much like someone watching their weight makes the conscious decision to avoid the cookie or candy aisle at the grocery store, you need to recognize what tempts you so you can avoid it whenever possible.

Establish New Habits

It’s said that it takes 21 days to establish a habit. Take the next 21 days to find other ways to spend your time so you’re not spending your money haphazardly and irresponsibly. Instead of going to the mall with your deep-pockets friend, find other ways to spend time with that particular friend.

Track all your spending for a week

Emotional spending totals for a week by keeping your receipts and circling everything you didn’t absolutely need to have, things you bought on a whim. Emotional spending on small ticket items can be just as destructive as large ticket items in the long run because those small things add up more quickly than you realize. The little things might be fun or nice to have at the moment, but will you even care about them tomorrow? Or will you just have buyer’s remorse?


If it’s urgent that you have something right now, it’s usually classified as a need. Always look the purchase and look at your budget before you spend money on something you don’t need. Ask yourself a few honest questions before spending money on an impulse buy: “Do I really need this? Can I live without it? Will this truly improve my life having this?” If you answer “no” to these questions then you’ll probably feel guilty later if you do spend money on the item.

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