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#BadassBudgeting Tip of the Day: Combat Emotional Spending

Have you ever dealt with heightened emotions such as stress, sadness, overwhelm or loneliness? This post is about addressing the emotions that cause us to buy. Whether these purchases are necessary purchases or completely impulsive, this article will help to address why and how we make emotional purchases.

According to, emotional spending is spending money during a period of heightened emotions, like stress or sadness. It often results in buying items you don't really need, or even want. Mental health experts say this is a coping mechanism to avoid addressing those difficult emotions, but there are many ways to deal with it. (February 2022).

Have you ever caught yourself reviewing your credit card only to see some impulsive purchases, or worst, not balancing between your income and the remaining balance on your credit card? I have caught myself in this situation a few times and let me tell you, it doesn't not feel good. Making more purchases on my credit card than I have the income for makes me feel reckless, guilty and in a lot of ways, out-of-control. Thankfully this has only happened to me a few times and I was able to pay off the balance in full the next paycheque. However, what happens to those of us who are not able to pay off our credit card balances in full? What are the consequences? Having to pay as high as interest as 20.99% or higher on the remaining credit card balances and also, having to live with the consequences of having to deal with the purchases we've made, especially if they are material or physical. What I mean by this is: clutter.

Spending money to help us feel better has been a long-standing coping mechanism for many Americans,” says clinical psychologist Sheila Forman, PhD (, February 2022) but this doesn't have to be the case. So we've spent more than our paycheque on our credit card, now what? Let's focus on a few strategies to help combat emotional the emotional spending.

1. Journal

The act of writing down our thoughts and emotions can help a long way with the successful management of our money. Journaling can help pinpoint our triggers and help us to eliminate those spending triggers. Journaling can also help us determine what our money goals are and help us track our progress to making our financial goals and ambitions a reality through action of manageable steps.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Breathing, meditation and taking a moment to focus on the mind-body connection can help us to be in-the-moment and intentional about our spending habits and money patterns. Mindfulness can help us to slow down and not act impulsively when it comes to spending our money which is the ultimate goal in combatting emotional spending.

3. Eliminate Spending Triggers

Through the help of journaling and mindfulness, this can help to eliminate spending triggers such as spending money when we are happy, sad, lonely or depressed. Our mental and emotional states should not be the determining factor of whether we spend or save so it becomes especially important to sit down and get curious about yourself: find out what those spending triggers are and how you can combat them such as using a cash-only budget, developing sinking funds or allocating a portion of your daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly budget for fun-money.

I hope these tips and tricks helped you gain insight into your own emotional spending patterns and helped to give clarity on an action plan to combat or manage the emotional spending. For myself personally, I spend money when I'm lonely and what has helped me is sticking to a cash-only budget where I allocate my budget and withdraw my money in cash. Once the cash has run out, I have no more money left to spend because I am not going to spend on my credit card. I want to make sure I'm working within the parameters of my income and bi-weekly paycheque.

Comment below on when and how you find yourself challenged with emotional spending. I'd love to know in the comments below and see whether the journaling, mindfulness practice, and eliminating / managing triggers is helping you along the way of combatting emotional spending! Signed, Filipina Budget Girl.

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