I am an emotional shopper. When I’m sad or happy, or tired or energetic, angry or bored or breathing, I shop. Some people eat their feelings – I shop them. I remember the day I found out my grandpa died, I found myself wandering around the mall aimlessly, finally buying my first designer purse. I’d never spent that much on a purse before, but it – just for a second – made me feel less pain.
Are my emotions putting me into debt?
Not all of my emotional shopping experiences are that dramatic or expensive. For example, around 3:14 every work day I start trolling my favorite clothing sites for deals. Why? Because it’s 3:14 and I’m tired, bored and like shiny new things. Most of the time I just browse. But one out of every, oh, 20 times, I’d say I make a purchase.
Six months ago, a part of my life was turned upside down. To preoccupy myself, I started saying yes to every invitation from friends for lunch, dinner, happy hour, concerts and movies. I remember getting my credit card bill, throwing it across the room and hiding in the shower. Who spent all that money?
A month ago, I received some good news so I rewarded myself with a new bike. I don’t regret the purchase because it’s amazing and I ride it all the time. But I could have gotten away with a much cheaper model.
Last night I couldn’t sleep and I was emotionally and physically drained. I jumped online and as my finger hovered over the BUY button for a $3000 couch, I stopped.
It occurred to me that my emotions have been leading me to make some poor spending decisions lately. I’m not in danger of getting into uncontrollable debt. Yet. If I continue to allow my feelings to spend money, I will be in over my head dealing with debt before I know it.
MSN Money has identified three emotions that can drive you into debt. I seem to be across the board with which feelings and situations make me want to scratch my buying itch. So for now, I will try to keep my emotions from running my financial choices. I am going to start paying attention to my patterns, identifye what emotions trigger large purchases and look for other ways to deal with those feelings. Like ice cream. Or running. Or crocheting cat sweaters from my hair.
Yes I shop at times when I’m bored, but I give myself a limit, like $10 at a consignment store, or $20 for shoes, and I always use cash. And I am fortunate enough to live near a Name Brand Clothign store, a wallet saver. I do not use my credit card for any online shopping, I have been diligent about that. My credit card is only for emergency items and/or airline tickets. (Even if I did use a credit card for online shopping, it would not be nearly the same for me, as I like to try on everything to make sure it fits me right, or is the right color, etc.)
Bargain Babe says
@Du Way to keep your emotional spending in check. Are you happy with the amount of money you spend on clothes and shoes?
Yes, between NBC and TJMaxx, I get cute, great, priced clothes/shoes. I will admit I am a shoe fanatic and I do have to keep myself in line. But if you wait til the end of hte season for the lowest of the low markdowns, you can get double. This week I wore my 2 new sandals, I bought them for $5.49 (Kohls) and $5.00 from TJMaxx at the end of 2013, and I put them away for this summer.
Megan Thode says
Wow, Di, you have MUCH better control than I do! Most of my “offenses” are online … maybe I need to tighten the reins on that!
Rachelle Romberg says
I love everything about this article! Just remember, at least emotional spending does not have calories!
Bargain Babe says
@Rachelle Romberg Hahahaha, so true!
Megan Thode says
Unless you are buying Cheez-Its in bulk, @Rachelle!!!! Not that I’ve done that or anything…. 🙂