Blog post

How getting in touch with your emotions could save you a lot of money

5th June 2022

Good money management isn’t always about spending less money. This of course can help, particularly if you’re looking to save or invest, but managing money well also require you to become conscious of your spending habits.

Did you know that your emotions can play a very big role in your spending habits? In fact, when it comes to our discretionary spending (aka the not-necessary spending on things like food, clothing, entertainment etc) it is often largely driven by your emotional state.

Often people use money as a way to soothe emotions. If they’re feeling stressed, tired or lonely, they might shop to make themselves feel better. They might buy clothes, make-up or gadgets in an effort to fit in, feel prettier or happier or improve their self-esteem and confidence. They might shop out of boredom and for something to pass the time. Or spend more than they’d otherwise like or plan to when they’re feeling happy or in the mood to celebrate.

All of these actions are considered to be emotional spending. This occurs when you spend money to shift or change your mood, on the stuff that often you don’t really need or want.

Emotions are strong and they can often overcome logic. Think of the fear-based and panic buying of toilet paper and groceries that occurred during the pandemic. This was definitely not rational thinking!

Another influence is social media which creates an image of lifestyle, abundance and the good life and feeds the emotions of pride, validation, envy and jealousy, which are strong emotional triggers for purchases.

Following your emotions can also lead to impulse-buying. In fact, the advertisements, sales pitches and social media algorithms all aim to trigger your emotions in the hope that you’ll shop or spend more money.

Have you ever browsed online for something, only to be tracked by a pop-up ad for the following week? Have you been tempted to buy something purely as it was a ‘limited time offer’ and you felt pressured with great urgency?

Neither emotional spending nor impulse buying are necessarily a bad thing, or even a problem, unless you’re spending more than you can afford, or aren’t making progress towards your savings goals. If you think this might be you, here are our top ten tips on what you could do to prune your emotional spending habits:

  1. Take responsibility for your spending habits. Making yourself accountable is one of the most useful ways to overcome emotional spending. Create a spending plan and savings goal. Find a buddy to help you stay accountable.

  2. Pay attention every time you spend money, pause and ask yourself, how am I feeling? This simple action creates awareness and gives your logic a moment to explore the emotions and make a more balanced decision.

  3. Keep a spending journal or track your spending habits.

  4. Calculate how many hours you need to work to buy something and consider whether it is really worth that time and energy.

  5. Set meaningful goals. Spending is easy to do when you don’t have an alternative thing to allocate that money towards. Set some goals that truly matter so that you have another priority to weigh a spending decision against. Blossom's savings goals feature can help you do just that - you can set your goal, input how much you want to save and watch your flower grow as your savings blossom.

  6. Avoid the places that are emotionally triggering for your spending. This might be particular shops, online or on social media.

  7. Eat before going to the grocery store and don’t shop when hungry!

  8. Unsubscribe from mailing lists to intentionally limit your exposure to advertising.

  9. Delete any saved credit or debit card details on websites so you slow down online purchases.

  10. Set up a celebration or splurge fund to allow for allocated fun spending money that is separate from your other spending and bills.