When you’re stressed, do you tend to use shopping as one of your coping mechanisms? No judgement – this is totally normal. The thing is, many people who have issues with spending too much aren’t learning alternative skills that are healthier than coping mechanisms. Especially when it’s so easy to click a button and have something delivered (sorry, Amazon).
If you’re a regular to my blog, you know that I go on a Spending Diet a couple of times per year. This just makes me aware of what coping mechanisms might be causing me to overspend and helps me “reset” my brain. I also try to review Mint weekly or biweekly (and here’s how to get started on the process quickly). Other people swear by YNAB.Many people who have issues with spending too much aren’t learning alternative skills that are healthier than coping mechanisms. Click To Tweet
Why do I do these things?
Sort of like I am motivated to eat healthier and exercise when I step on the scale regularly, my coping mechanisms only kick in when I forget what my bigger goals are. I realized that part of my ongoing practice is all about putting space between thought and action. Which means:
- When browsing for something online, leave it in your online shopping cart for a day before you make the purchase. I never buy anything the day I put it in my cart.
- If you’re tempted in the store by something that is not a need, put it back while you shop for the items you came for. My mom’s mantra was “If it’s not on my list, I don’t buy it!”
- Don’t take credit cards into tempting stores. For example, I never take my credit card into West Elm because I have learned that I always want $500 worth of stuff at a minimum.
- I also leave myself a relatively small “pad” in my checking account, and move the excess to an online, high yield savings account so that if I want to spend the money, it takes 1-3 days to make it back to my checking account.
- I have a friend who only keeps one credit card in her wallet and puts a sticky note on it, so every time she pulls it out, she has to remove the sticky note. It says Financial Freedom.
Your stress response doesn’t have to be about shopping per se… it might also be going out to eat too often, because the thought of proactive meal planning is just too much. You might need to learn to let go of perfectionism (and here’s my example of that with bacon).
Bottom line, if you THINK you might be using coping mechanisms that hurt your results with money, there are ways to move toward healthier alternatives. If you’d like to recommit to financial clarity, you might like my free workbook, Conscious Spending in 30 Minutes or Less – you can download that from the free resource library.