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Breaking Free From Emotional Spending: Part 1

emotional spending

We are whole integrated beings and everything that we do involves our whole selves. Just the simple act of breathing includes our nose, nostrils, lungs, diaphragm and some chest muscles.  Our emotional life is tied to our thoughts, memories, good and bad experiences, preferences and desires.  What we choose to wear, eat, watch on television or listen to on the radio is because of our integrated whole self. Our money choices are also an extension of us. The more we understand ourselves, the better we will understand why we make the spending choices that we do.

Self discovery can be liberating. The approaching new year will bring the promise of new beginnings; the gyms will be packed; weight loss group attendance will soar, and diet cook books will fly off shelves. Why not consider an internal journey, as well— one that could help you understand how your emotional responses and money decisions are linked?

Do you find yourself engaging in emotional spending? Let’s define it: Emotional spending occurs when you buy something you don’t need, or may not even truly want in response to a negative emotion such as feeling overwhelmed, being bored, feeling misunderstood, or any number of other emotions.

Emotional Spending Self- Assessment

Try to answer the following questions truthfully without giving them too much thought.

  1. When you’ve had a bad day, do you buy things to make yourself feel better?
  2. If you see a friend with a new item, ie. watch, jacket, purse, or car, did you ever buy something to feel better about yourself?
  3. Do you believe internet influencers when they tell you the product they’re endorsing will make you more desirable, better looking, more attractive to others?
  4. Have you shopped to relieve stress?
  5. Have you bought anything to make someone like/love you?
  6. Do any of these apply to you. I shop when I’m: Bored, Hungry, Angry
    Happy, Sad, Jealous, Want to celebrate
  7. How many things do you own that you’ve never worn; never used; never gave as a gift you intended?
  8. Have you shopped and used your children or your pet as an excuse to spend money?
  9. Have you bought something, hated it when you got home and then wonder why you bought it in the first  place?
  10. Have you ever hidden something you bought from a spouse or significant other?
  11. Have you ever deliberately, defiantly, knowingly bought something that you could not afford? How did you reason yourself into the purchase? What excuses did you use on yourself?
  12. Have you ever bought the same thing twice without realizing it?

Once you have gone through these questions quickly, it would be beneficial to go through them again, but more thoughtfully.  Additional examples may come to mind that will shed light on your emotional state when you’ve shopped int the past—and that’s a good thing.  There are no right or wrong answers; only the honest answers with help untether you from the tyranny of emotional spending.  Get excited because the last stop on this journey can be freedom.

The CESI Team is committed to helping you reach your financial goals. If emotional spending and debt keeps you from living the life you dream of, contact us for a free debt analysis today and get started on the road to a brighter future!

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