Have you ever stopped to think about the way you feel before making a purchase? It may seem random, but thinking about your state of being while Spending may shed some light on some of your less than ideal purchasing habits.
In the post, “The Danger of I Deserve This Thinking”, I explored how my marathon training gave me a way of justifying purchases. If I ran 20 miles, then I “deserved” a new running top. It’s exactly those kinds of thoughts that can lead to a real spending problem. And it’s not just limited to “I deserve”.
Today I want to explore some of the other emotional and situational triggers that may motivate a purchase and see how we can Combat those that are not serving us or our financial goals.
When Do You Get the Urge To Splurge?
1. When Depressed. From being too lazy to make your own food and ordering delivery to going on a shopping spree to create some temporary satisfaction, depression can get expensive. Don’t let your impulsive “depressed purchases” plunge you into debt and further despair. I’m no expert, but a walk outside or a date with a friend seems like a much better option than a credit card swipe.
2. To Motivate. How many people bought gym memberships and fancy new workout gear earlier this month that have yet to set foot in the gym? When you get jazzed about something, it can lead to a lot of preemptive spending. And while some of that may be necessary, if you don’t follow through, it’s just a waste. I can’t tell you how many people I know who spent a fortune on Rosetta Stone, and have since abandoned the program, letting it collect dust on their shelves as their lives become full with other projects.
Maybe the solution for this one is trying things out either for free or cheaply before committing to a full purchase. For instance, for foreign language, check out the free resources online or download an inexpensive app that teaches you the basics. If you still feel committed after that, go for the full purchase.
3. To Reward. This is the one I really struggled with when marathon training. When you accomplish a major feat, you feel justified in making splurge-type purchases. What I found to be most effective in combating this Urge was finding non-financial ways to reward myself- watching my favorite series on Netflix or taking a hot bath.
4. To Celebrate. Birthdays, promotions, accomplishments… they’re all a reason to celebrate, and usually, that entails spending money. I’m all for celebrating, but I know I need to monitor how often I do it. 5pm happy hour is NOT a reason to celebrate (as much as I’d like it to be).
5. Socially. Between your co-workers asking you to come out for a cocktail and your twenty best friends inviting you to their engagement party, wedding shower, bachelorette party, AND wedding, there is so much peer pressure to spend. I adore my friends and all of our social gatherings, but I simply don’t have enough money to do it all and still prioritize my OWN goals. To help combat the social spending, I’ve started picking and choosing which events I attend, cutting back where I can (I wear the same dress to almost every wedding), and recommending cheaper alternatives (potluck anyone?).
What emotions and situations cause you to splurge? How do you combat that urge?