Emotional spending is a fairly common issue. It can severely impact people’s finances and it has been increasing as we have come out of lockdown, because of a combination of the shops opening again and people feeling lower than they did pre-COVID.

Emotional spending is when people spend money to boost their mood and feel better about themselves. The spending can be on anything from clothes to food. Or basically anything that gives you some type of comfort when you make the purchase.

The problem with emotional spending is that even though you might get a momentary mental boost when you buy the item, if you have financial worries, or you are buying items that you do not need, then you can end up feeling a lot worse and be worse off financially too.

If emotional spending has become a problem for you, here are five ways to try and stop:

Start a new hobby

Try and find a new hobby that you enjoy, so that whenever you get the urge to go on an emotional spending spree, you do your hobby instead. Think about hobbies that you previously enjoyed or something you always wanted to try, or do some research to find something new that you can do. From joining a gym to doing jigsaw puzzles, whatever hobby you think will help to stop you from turning to emotional spending.

Remind yourself of the working hours it takes to buy each item

Before you buy something, calculate exactly how many hours you would need to work to be able to pay for the item. This can help you to resist making a purchase that you don’t need.

Calculate how much you are spending

Create a spreadsheet that lists all the emotional spending you have been doing, so that you can see exactly how much you spend each month and each year. Think about what else you could have afforded to pay for if you had not been emotional spending, such as a holiday or a new settee, for example.

Leave your bank cards at home

If you are going to be somewhere that usually triggers your emotional spending, such as a particular shop or shopping centre, just take out enough cash to buy what you need and leave your bank cards at home, so you are not tempted to make an impulse purchase.

Eat before you go food shopping

If your emotional spending tends to mostly involve food, make sure that you never go to the supermarket while you are hungry, as you will usually end up spending much more than if you have just eaten. A good way to stop yourself from buying unhealthy food for comfort eating is to think about how much exercise you would need to do to burn the calories off if you eat the food.

Emotional spending can start on a fairly small scale and develop into a much bigger problem that leaves people with big debts, so the sooner you can get it under control, the less financial trouble you will get into.

Becoming a member of Central Liverpool Credit Union can help you to save up more money and become more financially healthy, so if emotional spending has been affecting your finances, find out more about the benefits of opening a credit union savings account.