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Are you an emotional spender?

"I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist."

Tammy Faye Bakker


I can be an emotional spender.  

Take aways are my Achilles heel.  For some it is shopping.  Or travel. Actually, mine can be travel too.  But take aways are my emotional spend quick fix.  Particularly sushi. Sushi is definitely my favourite take away.

Emotional spending is easy to identify - it is when we buy something we don't need (or even want) so as to satisfy an emotional need such as stress, sadness or loneliness.  Emotional spending tends to be a coping mechanism that we whip out with ease to avoid difficult emotions.  Have you noticed yourself doing this?

I don't know about you, but I don’t even have to be that emotional to look for the spend ‘hit’.


I do so much cooking.

Whether that be soups for school lunch boxes, or batch cooking bolognaise for easy-to-reheat dinners, or a sounds-posh-but-isn’t-really crab linguine when I’m feeling energetic, I am the cook in the house.

And then … when I am in my ‘I'm rather peeved that I am doing everything around here’ mode, I can often default to the ‘I deserve to spend money on a takeaway’ mode.  Sound familiar?

Thing is, take aways cost a lot more than they used to. Have you noticed that? And my gorgeous kids have had adult appetites since they were about 5 so there are no savings to be had on kiddie options.


So how do I manage the emotional spending? 

How do I avoid that takeaway?  Honestly, I don’t always. I will admit to that. Sometimes I give in, and emotionally spend. For that initial hit. That unfortunately, afterwards, can feel a bit sh*t.

But I do manage it, sometimes.

One of my tricks is to check my budget before the ease of ordering gets the better of me. Yes, yes yes .... you know I love to track money but truly, if I didn’t know how much we were spending, and how much we had available to spend, how would I know what we could afford? This isn’t rocket science. 

So if I know that we don’t have the budget in the pot that month, or that something else would have to go as a result, I meal plan so that I don’t have any excuse to reach for the Just Eat link later in the day. I defrost that bolognaise.


And then sometimes I find a halfway option.

This particular one had a duel benefit … a saving for me, and a lesson for the kids

Last Sunday night my 12 year old niece was over, and my son just loves being with her (they were born 12 days apart and basically consider themselves to be twins, it really is very special). 

They wanted a takeaway. I wanted to avoid one. Separately, I needed to get our absolutely filthy car washed (seriously filth, it hadn’t been washed in over a year).

I asked the kids to wash the car. And my son (diplomat-in-waiting) suggested they be paid in take away burgers

Boom. Negotiation accepted. I had already defrosted something for my husband and me to eat so really it was just the kids, plus I had a clean car which I would have paid for separately ... so actually it was win-win all round. Particularly for my son and niece who devoured their burger!


I know my emotional triggers.

And I know they can influence what I buy and when I buy.  And I know (mostly) how to keep that emotional spend in check.  Do you?

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