Tips to Curb Emotional Spending and Not Break the Budget

Have you ever found yourself bored and decided to go shopping? Did you have a rough day at work or a spat with someone and find yourself at the mall?

Mall shopping ropes you into spending and your brain turns to mush.

These may be  situations where you shop with your emotions rather than shopping for what you need.  We don’t go into the mall often but when we do we are overwhelmed with the various shops,signs,sales and smell of food, all of which are so enticing.

So we are walking through the mall then all of a sudden…….Mmmm

People go mad for this stuff? ~  Has this been you?

The  strong aroma of popcorn at Kernels Popcorn forces you to do a 360 , nose in the air  and nothing else matters.  You get to the counter looking for samples, you ask for various flavours. They agree and the  first  double caramel corn melts in your mouth and then immediately money melts from your pocket. “Thanks and come again”, she says as you walk away with your LARGE bag of golden popped nuggets.

I bet you’re laughing because you know you have done this or thought about it but convinced yourself NO!

Tip: Don’t shop when you are hungry. If you are hungry talk yourself out of spending money on junk to eat that you don’t need. Wait until you get home.

Tip: If shopping with children bring snacks and drinks so you don’t have to purchase these for your children. It doesn’t hurt to pack a beverage and snack for yourself as well. $$ saved

You can also overspend at the grocery store or any other store for that matter. I think most of us can agree we tend to convince ourselves why we need to buy something when we really don’t  need it.

It’s a Situation (not a Jersey Shore Mike situation but a situation): It’s dead easy to fall into any of these traps below.

You: Oh, look at that ( enter item here)  on sale I can use it to make…


You: I can use that ( enter item here) later this year when I ….


You: Those (enter item here) would look great one day when…

Don’t laugh, you know you’ve done this!

We then go on to convince ourselves why we need to get it and then what do we do in that split second? We either end up at the cash register or we put it back on the shelf.

I’ll admit this happens to us and it should it’s all marketing tactics and our own emotions. How we handle these situations and emotions is what’s important.

Here are some ways we help deal with the emotions when shopping so we don’t overspend in our budget.

  • Only bring Cash when you shop– we do this sometimes depending on where we shop. This is good if you are not good with debit or credit card shopping as well.
  • Get In, Get Out Theory– This is the theory the wife and I use often.” Ok”, we say, “this is what we need, let’s get in and get out”. That way we don’t shop around the store. We get what we need, keep our blinders on and blast straight to the cash register.
  • Make a list– Always, always make a list to go by when shopping. If you deviate from that list you will have to make sure there is a very, very good reason for it.
  • Take a break– If you find you are seeing too much you want to buy, take a break. If you are in the mall or a shop go to the restrooms, sit on a bench and think about the potential purchase.
  • Sleep on it– We like to take a day to think about the purchase. We will go home and talk about it. If we feel we need it we will get it the next day. If not then we simply drop the subject and move on.
  • Purchase it– We buy it and keep the receipt in a safe spot. If we later decide we don’t need the item we simply return it. This is an option we try to stay away from though as most people don’t return the item. You then end up paying for “stuff” you don’t  actually need.
  • Want/Need– Ask yourself if the item is a want or a need. Be truthful. Think about how many hours you have to work at your job to pay for this item. Is it worth it now?

So there you have it folks “The Get in, Get Out Theory” of shopping.  You will feel better at the end of the day and your bank account will thank you for it.

If you like to shop and take your time, soak up all the new toys,fashions and decor you can still do that, just leave your wallet at home.

Remember if all else fails SMILE  with a mate  or enjoy a hot cuppa and stay away from the shops!!

What other ways do you emotionally shop and how do you combat this so it doesn’t push you into debt?

Related Articles:

Buying Clothes from the Second Hand Shop, Is it Worth It?

Price Product Adjustments, Don’t Miss the Savings

Top Ten ways to Cut your Grocery Budget


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  1. Spending money unnessarily at the mall isn’t one of my problems. We go, get what we need and leave. My weakness is travel and all of the travel newsletters that I get. I am always checking out prices online because I always want to go somewhere, especially when it gets really cold here.

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