How to Cut Emotional Spending (Tips to Avoid Impulse Purchases)

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“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need,” said Tyler Durden in one of my favorite movies Fight Club. This is not far from the truth.

With budgets of billions of dollars spend annually, advertisers try to convince us that if we buy their products we will be more successful, attract the opposite sex and be happier.

With so big budgets and so carefully crafted and targeted ads backed up by polls, research, psychologists, it’s not difficult to understand why we turned to emotional spenders.

Emotional spending is when you buy something you don’t need and in many cases you don’t even want but eventually you buy it under the pressure of emotions like unhappiness, boredom, and under appreciation just to mention a few.

While it is not realistic to completely cut emotional spending we have gathered some tips below that will help you considerably decrease it.

Ways to Avoid Impulse Purchases and Emotional Spending

1. Decrease your exposure to advertisement

The ad men and women know how to get us spend. They are experts at understanding behavior and psychology. When you see advertisements frequently, the odds are stacked against you.  Even when you know exactly what is going on, you will still have the impulse to spend.

This impulse is strong and can hurt you in many ways you might not think about. Even if you fight off the urge to spend, you may hurt yourself in other ways. Making tough decisions will always give a little depletion of our willpower reserves. This is called ego depletion. So you may make the tough call to “not buy” but later on you may not be able to resist eating that big slice of cake.

The best way to avoid emotional buying is to be less aware of what’s available. If you could stick your head in the sand like an ostrich and never see another ad, you would be a lot better for it. Unfortunately, you can’t completely cut yourself off from advertisements. All you can do is significantly reduce your exposure to ads.

Online: Use an adblock software that will prevent advertisements from popping up when you visit your favorite blogs. Unsubscribe from the products catalogs that are flooding your email with new products and offers.

Offline: When you are recording a show it is really easy to skip advertising. When you are listening to radio better switch to a public station or listen to a CD or mp3 you have recorder. Watching TV on NETFLIX, Hulu and other similar services are also ways to never see ads.

2. Don’t make impulse buys

When you are at a store or an e-shop online and you find yourself ready to buy something that you wasn’t planning to buy before just don’t buy it.

Make a rule that every time you find yourself in this situation you will get 24 hours to think if you really need what you are about to buy. You will see that the majority of the times when you leave the website or store you will forget about that item.

Now if after 24 hours you are still thinking about it but you know that you can’t really afford it, just wait for a week. Make a bit of market research, and try to find a better time to buy it as a reward to yourself (if you close a deal to your work etc.).

3. Be accountable

Reach out your friends and family and let them know that you are trying to spend less and tell them to give you a hard time, when they see you buying stuff you really don’t need.

You can also make a list with your financial priorities and post it in a visible place where you can see it every day, like your refrigerator.

If you want to take this a step further, write these priorities to a post it and put it on your credit card so you can see them every time you are about to buy something unnecessary.

4. Find other activities

If you are find yourself shopping as a form of entertainment or distraction, identify what you are your feelings when you have an urge of going shopping and try to find an alternative activity that will help you deal with these emotions.

If you are going shopping when you feel stressed try some exercising to blow some steam. Rather than going shopping, why not go for a nice long walk. Walking helps you to burn calories and feel better, rather than give you a quick endorphin high followed by the bad feeling of mounting debt.

If physical activity isn't the thing for you, why not simply meeting up with some friends and socializing, rather than going out and spending.

Hi! My name is Benjamin Warren and I am the owner and webmaster of Running a site that has a lot of product reviews has given me a big experience when it comes to shopping. So I decided to write this article to help you become more efficient and save money when you do so.

1 thought on “How to Cut Emotional Spending (Tips to Avoid Impulse Purchases)”

  1. Hi Michal!
    Glad you liked it!!
    I actually use these tips my self too.
    Nice to hear that you dont’t have impulse buys problem.

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