Do you ever find yourself mindlessly swiping your credit card, without much thought about what you’re buying or how much it’s costing?
This happens to me when I’m shopping for myself for things like clothes and shoes. I find myself in a blacked out state just throwing things in my cart, just because, and then I get to the register, and a couple hundred dollars later, I’m just swiping my card. Sound familiar?
I also do this with food sometimes. After a bad day, it’s real comforting to just order delivery and get into a Netflix binge. That’s my most common form of emotional spending. Have you ever spent out of emotion just to feel better?
Ohhh and let’s not forget about online shopping! This is a common area where it’s easy to spend a lot of money without thinking twice. These are just a few examples – think about if you spend mindlessly or out of emotion, and when that happens.
If your money personality has any level of carefree or spontaneous, you are probably really resonating with this. The planners out there, maybe not so much. It’s good to know your money personality type when it comes to spending.
The problem with the examples I provided is that I hadn’t really put any thought into what I was buying, why I was buying it, and if I really cared about that thing. I’ve also now spent money that in reality, I’d probably rather be spending on travel or saving for a down payment for a new home.
Before you feel restricted, like I’m suggesting you have to go on a tight budget, let me clarify – this practice is just about being more mindful of your spending. It’s not meant to tell you how you can or can’t spend your money.
It’s meant to bring awareness and mindfulness, so that you can take back control and decide where your money is going. Rather than looking at your credit card bill at the end of the month in complete shock and total anxiety, you intentionally manage your money based on what matters most.
Are you feeling me on any of this?! If you are, stop before you swipe sister!!
Stop and think for just 30 seconds – what am I buying right now? Do I value this, and what does this purchase mean to me? How do I see myself using this? Is there something I value over this item and would like to purchase or save for instead? Am I making this purchase out of emotion?
Weather or not you decide to go ahead with the purchase, at least you have not mindlessly swiped your credit card. You stopped before you swiped, and made an informed buying decision.
Even if you decided you didn’t really want to make the purchase, but you still did, that’s okay too. It’s part of the journey. You’re learning new habits after all, and that’s not easy.
Aside from taking a moment to be mindful about your purchases, here are some other tips to help you be more mindful of your spending.
Track your expenses every month
This is a great way to truly understand what is happening with your spending habits. Sometimes we just don’t realize how much certain habits are contributing to our bank account. Seeing the numbers is a great way to reveal those truths. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it seems! No judgement or shame here!
Know what you value
By knowing what you value and what’s truly important to you, you have a lens through which you can make decisions. I almost always ask myself this question now when making a purchase – is this something I value, how does this fit into what’s truly important to me?
Have a plan for your money
This is a great way to get out of a spending rut. Having a plan for not only the lifestyle you want to live today, but also future aspirations, can help you to make money decisions with more purpose. For example, I get really motivated by envisioning purchasing our next home and what that means to me, and that makes other spending seem more frivolous.
Give yourself a “fun money” fund
This is something I did recently. I set up a fund of $300 per month to spend on whatever I want. I can spend that money guilt free and that feels amazing. I hired a health coach with that money because health and wellness is so important to me. Is that enough to cover all the “fun” I’d like to be having? Not necessarily, but it gives me enough freedom to spend on myself, while also making sure I’m taking care of bills, investing, and saving for future goals.
What’s your alternative to emotional spending?
If you notice a pattern of emotional spending, how can you interrupt that pattern? If you’re in the midst of an Amazon binge, and you notice that this is an emotional spending habit, can you stop yourself, get up from the computer, and go outside instead?
Give yourself grace
This is #1 most important – be kind to yourself throughout this process! It’s not easy to change spending habits and be mindful about how your actions are affecting your bank account. Instead of beating yourself up and calling yourself “stupid” or a “failure” or whatever negative self talk you have, treat yourself like you would someone else.
If a friend or client came to you feeling bad about spending, would you yell at them? No! You would tell her that it’s okay and there’s going to be bumps along the road. It’s a journey and no one’s perfect. It takes time to master new habits and she’s only human.
Treat yourself that same way!! I’ve been doing this for years, and I still mess up! I’m still learning and growing everyday, and I’m a financial professional. Be kind to yourself and enjoy the journey and the process.
I’m here for support. I’m that girlfriend that you can talk to about money, without judgement. If you want to talk this out, I offer a free 30 minute money chat. Schedule here. You got this girl!!