Emotional spending. We all do it more than we even realize. We do it when we are happy, upset, stressed, or maybe even scared. It becomes a habit we quickly want to stop. But, do we really need to stop a habit that we enjoy? What if this habit doesn’t cause any harm?
What if this habit buries our debt deeper and deeper. You can stop emotional spending with the tips I share below. I, too, struggle with emotional spending. Yet, today I have learned to control it.
LET THE STORY BEGIN
Here we are, another week. We are not spending any money on anything extra. Sometimes that is hard to justify.
When you are on a spending freeze, you are thinking about every purchase. You are questioning everything you buy and all that crosses your mind to buy.
This week I struggled with Date Night. I wanted to spend it based on my feelings.
The girls spent the night at their grandparents Friday evening. We had alone time for the first time in 3 weeks! Yet we were both exhausted because we just moved.
It was really tempting to spit out my thoughts. “Ohhh I don’t feel like cooking. Can’t I just get a day off from cooking? Let’s go out to eat.”
All I had to do to justify my feelings was scroll through Facebook or Instagram and see my “friends” who aren’t really friends still make me feel less than. For example, see how they spend money and feel that I should spend money too.
But I knew I didn’t have money to spend. So, ouch, my pain digs deeper.
I held all those emotions in. It would cause damage if they left. Sometimes just sharing those with someone else makes them happen. The temptation becomes stronger once you speak. I knew that I could put that money towards our groceries next week.
I could have let my feelings make a bad purchase. We didn’t need to spend $40+ on dinner. Sure, I could justify that we deserved it. Sure, I could pay $20 for a fast food joint, but why when I am staring at a cupboard with food and a fridge with something in it too. It wasn’t like our cupboards were bare.
My soul was the only thing empty after thinking I could justify my feelings based on social media “friends.”
The Question that Saved Me
Did we NEED it? If you stop and verify your emotions with truth, you can decide between wants and needs. It takes time, and it won’t be easy, but you will know that your needs come first.
So we ate leftovers. I didn’t have to cook, and we were both happy. Truly we were exhausted. We got to spend time at home together, enjoying it for the first time without the girls.
Emotions bring about many purchases in our life. Justifying those feelings result in things we may not be able to afford. Like Dave Ramsey says “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
Stress has strained my relationship with my husband in the past couple of months. Yet, we have strengthened our relationship with God. Like my dad says,” To grow closer to your spouse you need to grow closer to the Lord.”
Even though we haven’t sold our house yet and just dropped the price, the stress is starting to drift. Our faith is being made stronger as well as our marriage. So I can take a deep relaxing breath looking back and saying we made it through that. It wasn’t pretty, but it came with meaning. We learn,n we grow, we love.
Today I challenge you if you are doing a spending freeze to guard your emotions regarding purchases. Even if it is food for your family, we can fall into the trap of justifying buying all prepackaged convenience food and spending more money than if we just set aside an hour to make a meal menu and serve our family healthier food.
Here are 5 Tips To Empower YOU Today To Stop Your Emotional Spending
- Write Down Your Financial Goals and hang up in your kitchen. If you know what you are saving money for and are reminded of that each day you can hold on to that when temptation arises.
- Avoid leisurely shopping. Go to each store with a list and a purpose.
- Shop Alone. If your spouse, kids, friends, parents shop with you and tend to bring about emotions for items to buy, shop alone. This won’t have to be forever, just until you have the strength to say, No.
- Always ask is this a need or a want?! Don’t let your mind go into justification mode.
- Pray. Pray for wisdom for your finances. Pray for strength to fight temptation with spending. Ask your friends, family, and church family to pray with you.
I got groceries again for those curious as to what we bought this week, and then we spent money on Dog Food, my daughter’s socks, and gas. So next week I will need Toilet Paper for sure!
Not pictured is a 55 lb. bag of Purina Dog Chow for $21.49 from BJ’s club!
Frozen 5 pack socks $4.49 from Walmart. I spent $20 on a tank of gas at Tops- I had $0.40/ off a gallon.
Total Spent This Week $71.98- includes tax.
*UPDATE: This post was written in April 2016. Just a little over a year, I can NOT believe how much the Lord has blessed our obedience during this time of our life with finances.
We are now on a plan to be mortgage-free in 7 years! All thanks to blogging, hard work, and praying over our finances, and recognizing wants verse needs. If you are in a struggling time with finances, I hear ya. I know what’s it like. I know the stress that it causes but know that God has a plan for you. He knows your deepest desire. You need to listen. You need to trust. And once you do, you’ll be sharing your story just like I am today.