Impulse spending is a real problem we all face. Justifying our spending has become a norm.
We all work hard for our money. But, we often feel like that hard work deserves a treat, like we’re some kind of puppy.
We’re having a bad day, so we choose to indulge in “retail therapy”. We’re bored, so we window shop, which inevitably turns into shopping bags full of items we bring home.
The great news is, impulse spending is a habit that we can break.
We have the power to control our urges to spend and we just need to proper tools and systems to put in place so we can have the strength to say no to those urges.
In order to break the spending habit, we need to know our triggers.
A Little Disclaimer
Before we begin, I want to mention that I am not a therapist. I don’t formally study psychology or human emotional health. So, please do not take this article as a self-diagnosis of your mental and emotional health.
I just want to stimulate conversation so we can better understand impulse spending.
Triggers for Impulse spending
Mine was simple. I felt I deserved to spend money because I work hard.
Looking back at the mindset now, I can see how my perspective was a bit backwards.
I realized that since I work hard for my money, I deserve to keep it. Now, I save money for the things that matter in my life.
None of us deserve to give our hard earned money away.
Your trigger might be that you see something you like and the feeling that you must have it consumes you. So much so, that you become obsessed with the thought of having the item.
If you’re like my mom, you buy tons of something just because it’s on sale. It doesn’t matter if she needs it, it’s on sale, and that’s justification enough for her.
Sales make her feel FOMO and she buys way more than she needs.
Whatever your trigger is, you need to recognize it in order to change it.
Impulse Spending and Your Emotional Health
Impulse spending is a direct result of our emotional status. Whether we like to admit it or not, impulse spending has nothing to do with the item(s) we’re purchasing and everything to do with how we think we’re going to feel once we purchase the item.
Ultimately, we all want to believe that the purchase will make us feel happy, complete, accomplished, etc.
But, truthfully, those feelings don’t come from purchases, they come from non-material components in our lives.
Choosing Intangible Happiness
True happiness and contentment comes from within. You need to be happy with yourself, with your life.
Interpersonal relationships and our circumstances have an affect on our perspective. Our perspective is our mindset, and this ultimately controls our behavior….with everything.
Recognizing our emotions can help us fix the cause and have better control over our feelings. When we control our emotions, they will no longer impact our spending.
Gratitude Changed Everything
Before I knew it, I noticed all the good in my life much more often than I could see the bad. Over time, my voids were filled with gratitude and thankfulness. I focused on my family, my faith, my love and service for others.
In turn, I felt a complete pivot of my emotional well-being and the urge to spend money all the time went away. I was too busy loving the life I had to focus on all the material possessions I didn’t have.
Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy
Understandably, this is not an easy step. But, taking the time to analyze your emotional health is incredibly helpful in your quest to change your mindset.
Ignoring the parts of yourself and your life that need to change can create voids in your mind. These voids can manifest into spending impulses that give you the false sense of control and perhaps misplaced joy.
I remember feeling this way when I would buy a pair of shoes. I know, it sounds petty, but buying shoes made me so happy. But that happiness was never long-lasting, so I’d find myself wanting to buy another pair after just a few weeks.
Silencing the Monster of Greed
If you think about it, the idea of always wanting more can become a monster in our lives. We can’t ever (no matter how rich we are) have every single thing we want all the time.
Great news, impulse Spending is not permanent!
Impulse spending is a habit that can be broken. You have the power to take control of your actions. But, you must first learn your personal triggers and understand the emotions that cause your spending.
Unlocking those underlying factors will help you gain control of your money, your spending, and your joy.