If you've found yourself spending extra money on impulse buys lately, you're not alone. In a recent financial survey, 35% of respondents said they've been spending more on unnecessary purchases to cope with feelings of anxiety, stress and boredom.
Emotional spending happens when people shop based on their feelings, not their needs. While this type of spending may provide a brief sense of comfort, it can become a big problem if it gets out of hand.
Ready to break the cycle of emotional spending? Try these helpful tips:
Take time to breathe
Impulse buying happens quickly, usually before we have time to think about whether we really need a product. Especially with online shopping, it's easy to make a decision in a single click!
To avoid buyer's remorse, give yourself some time to breathe and think clearly before making a purchase. One way to help yourself slow down is by removing saved credit card information from online shopping sites. After waiting 48 hours or so, you might forget about the item or realize you don't need it after all.
Another idea is to keep a wish list of the items you want to buy. When your birthday comes around, or when you have extra money saved up, you can treat yourself to something special without feeling guilty.
Find healthy ways to reduce stress
When you're tempted to impulse shop, try to find a productive activity to do instead. Read, exercise, meditate, or pick up a new skill like painting, photography or baking. You'll see there are many ways to relax and reward yourself without spending extra money!
Budget for now and later
Comfort spending can fill an emotional need, but it's often short-lived. If overspending becomes a habit, it can lead to debt and even more stress. One way to gain control now and in the long-term is to set up a budget. It's best to create a budget that allows you to save for expected and unexpected expenses while still leaving some wiggle room for fun.
If you're not sure where to start, try following the 50/30/20 rule. With this budgeting method, 50% of your income goes to needs, 30% goes to wants and 20% goes toward your savings.
Once you have a spending plan in place, keep track of all of your purchases to ensure you're staying on-budget. Wright-Patt Credit Union's (WPCU) free Money Management service makes it easy to categorize your purchases and track your spending so you know where your money is going. Now that's a great feeling!
WPCU is here to help make life a little easier for you and your family during uncertain times. For more helpful tips, tools and advice, please visit our online Education Center.