This is a guest post by Rhianna Dews for Mozo.
A recent Mozo Comfort Spending Report found that 81% of Aussie’s are comfort spender offenders, spending a whopping $1,430 a year on average to kill stress, anxiety, loneliness and boredom. We’re talking a total of $25.5 billion being chucked away each year on emotionally-driven comfort spending!
So, just to be safe, here’s a comfort spender symptom-checker to see if you’re a comfort spender offender!
- When leaving the office after a bad day at work, you won’t even make it 200 metres down the street before making a pit stop at the first shop you pass along the way.
- You practically invented the ‘post-breakup haircut’ phenomena, and you justify the absolute fortune you spend at the salon with your “look good, feel good” motto.
- When boredom strikes, it always ends with you hunched over your laptop with your black card in hand, and at least 30+ online shopping tabs open.
- You’ve become a local hero for keeping the corner shop in business with the masses of chocolate you buy whenever you’re down in the dumps.
Now, if one or more of the above sounds like you, chances are you’re an emotional comfort spender. But don’t fret! Here are some tips and tricks to help you pull the plug on your comfort spending ways, once and for all!
Know your triggers
The first step to quitting your emotional spending behaviour is understanding what causes it. It’s essential to recognise your emotional triggers and have a gameplan ready so that you can avoid being tempted to make irrational or impulsive purchases.
If online shopping’s your guilty pleasure, and stress and anxiety are your emotional spending triggers, then it’ll be much harder for you to resist the urge to splurge when you’re stressed. But, by acknowledging this, you can plan for it.
If you know you’ll be under the pump at work next month, then set aside some money so that if your willpower dwindles and you wind up indulging in some retail therapy, at least you won’t be sabotaging your savings or wracking up any credit card debt for doing so.
Make a stress-buster list
Another great way to prevent emotionally-driven spending is to make a list of different stress-busters that you can turn to, rather than wasting your money on things you don’t really need. It could be as simple as taking a few deep breaths, meditating, running a bath or going for a nice long walk.
Or maybe there’s a hobby or activity you love which always puts you in a good mood, like drawing, singing, cooking or even reading? Everyone’s stress-buster list will be different, but what’s important is that it suits you specifically.
Ask, believe, receive
Another trick to kick the comfort spending itch is to set yourself a financial goal and a strict budget to help you achieve it. Dig deep and think about what it is that you really want. A hotted-up sports car? An action-packed Europe trip? Once you’ve set your goal and worked out a budget, it’s time for the fun part!
Jump on Pinterest, or grab some scissors and glue, and make a vision board with pictures and quotes that visually capture your big financial goal. Then, the next time you’re tempted to drop some cash, revisit your vision board and remind yourself of what you should put your money towards instead.
Practice mindful spending
Now, you’ve probably heard of ‘mindfulness’, but what about ‘mindful spending’? Well, it’s pretty much the same concept. Mindful spending is about being more conscious when making a purchase and considering what the impact of that purchase is to you and your finances.
By being more mindful with your money, you’ll end up saving a tonne as you’ll only buy things you truly need or things that bring value to your life. Think of it as the ‘Marie Kondo method’ of spending, except you’re only buying things that ‘spark joy’ in your life!
Track your spending
If you’re seriously struggling with your impulsive shopping problem, then it might be time to face the music with a comfort spending intervention. By this we mean, track your spending!
Now, if the thought of tracking your spending has got you trembling with fear, then all the more reason to start now. There are loads of mobile apps out there to help you track your spending and see exactly what you’re spending your money on. Trust us, this could be just the wakeup call you need to shake your habit once and for all.
About the author:
As a personal finance writer at Mozo, Rhianna Dews arms Australian consumers with the tools needed to make informed financial decisions by turning complex finance topics and industry jargon into practical tips and tricks.
TFC Disclaimer: Guest posts are posted in good faith. I cannot attest to the accuracy and originality of each article. If you have any concerns about the content, please contact the author of the article outlined above.