Money Management

7 Tips to Stop Emotional Spending and Practice Mindful Shopping

September 19, 2023
Emotional spending feels good in the moment, but if you're not careful, you can end up with an empty bank account and closets full of things you don't use or care about. Here are 7 tips to practice mindful shopping.
Britt and Laurie-Anne two women laughing and looking at their computers on a couch in a well-styled living room
Britt & Laurie Anne
Two female investors in their 30s with a collective net wealth of over $6 million+
Learn more
arrow right icon

Imagine you’ve had a tough day. You didn’t sleep well, you were late getting your kids to school, you goofed up at work, and when you got home, you discovered that you’ve had a huge wad of spinach stuck in your teeth half the day.

What’s something you do to instantly boost your mood?

For a lot of people, the answer is retail therapy (aka emotional spending). A new top, some cute throw pillows, or a hydrating floral face mask can go a long way in making you feel better.

And thanks to online shopping, next-day shipping, and the (literally) thousands of ads hitting us every day, emotional spending is more tempting than ever.

Look, I’m not here to make you feel guilty for spending your money on things that make you feel good. That’s one of the reasons having money is important in the first place. But it’s important to spend your money intentionally – to be able to make smart spending decisions instead of losing your hard-earned money on things that will eventually be shoved in the back of a closet, never to see the light of day again.

I haven’t always had the best track record when it comes to spending money. I’ve had to learn how to make thoughtful decisions about spending money without denying myself the ability to buy something fun and impulsive once in a while.

If that’s something that resonates with you, give this video a thumbs up and keep watching, because I’m going to give you 7 tips for overcoming emotional spending (while still enjoying shopping).

How to Avoid Emotional Spending

Here are 7 tips to stop emotional spending and practice mindful shopping:

1) Identify Triggers and Emotions

Understanding the underlying triggers and emotions that drive your spending habits is crucial.

Take time to reflect on situations, events, or feelings that typically lead you to make impulsive purchases. Are you stressed? Sad? Seeking comfort?

By pinpointing these triggers, you can recognize patterns and take proactive steps to address the root causes of your emotional spending.

2) Create a Budget

Creating a budget is a fundamental step toward regaining financial control. A well-defined budget acts as a guideline, preventing impulsive purchases and helping you make informed decisions about your spending habits.

Set clear financial goals and allocate specific amounts for essential expenses, savings, and discretionary spending. Include a category for personal indulgences, but ensure it remains reasonable and within your means.

Be sure to make room for fun and spontaneity in your budget.

3) Practice Delayed Gratification

One effective strategy for combating emotional spending is to practice delayed gratification. Before making a purchase, give yourself a cooling-off period, maybe 24 hours or even a week.

This approach allows you to assess the necessity of the item objectively and determine if it aligns with your budget and long-term goals. Often, you'll find that the initial desire to buy diminishes over time, saving you from impulsive and regrettable purchases.

4) Find Alternative Coping Mechanisms

Seeking healthier alternatives to cope with your emotions is crucial in overcoming emotional spending. Activities like exercise, meditation, journaling, or spending time with loved ones can help you alleviate stress, sadness, or anxiety.

By channeling your emotions into positive outlets, you'll reduce the urge to rely on shopping as a quick fix and discover more fulfilling ways to improve your emotional well-being.

5) Unsubscribe and Unfollow Temptations

We're constantly bombarded with tempting advertisements, promotional emails, and social media posts that lure us into impulsive buying. In fact, the average American is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day. Scroll through Instagram and you’ll see ads for clothing, online courses, glasses that reduce car sickness – all kinds of random objects.

Take proactive steps to reduce these triggers by unsubscribing from marketing emails and unfollowing brands or influencers who consistently tempt you to spend money on things that are just going to gather dust in a closet.

By curating your online environment, you'll create a space that supports your financial goals rather than encouraging emotional or mindless spending.

6) Practice Mindful Spending

When you do make purchases, cultivate a mindset of mindful spending. Before buying an item, ask yourself…

  • If it aligns with your values
  • If you genuinely need it
  • How it contributes to your long-term well-being

Think about the quality of the item. Sometimes, a product with a high utility and longevity is better than a lower quality item that’s on sale.

By approaching spending thoughtfully, you'll make more conscious decisions and reduce the likelihood of emotional spending.

5 questions to make smarter spending decisions!

7) Seek Support and Accountability

Overcoming emotional spending can be challenging, but you don't have to go through it alone. Seek support from friends, family, or even professional counselors who can provide guidance and hold you accountable for your financial goals.

A supportive community is crucial in helping you achieve your goals. That’s why we build it into our signature wealth-building program, the Million Dollar Year. Every day, women+ share their struggles, wins, and advice in an encouraging community with the same goals.

How I Went from -$40K to +$3M

Emotional spending may feel good in the moment, but the anxiety when the bills start pouring in – and the stress of lacking financial security – isn’t worth the short-term endorphin rush. These tips can help you break free from the cycle of impulsive purchases and regain control over your finances.

Remember that there’s nothing wrong with buying things that make you happy. But intentionality and mindfulness are cornerstones of financial wellness.

If you want to put your money toward something that will serve you well in the long run, be sure to check out our free masterclass. I’ll share with you my own journey of going from $40k in debt to building a net wealth of $3M+ – and teach you actionable strategies to help you do the same.

A Weekly Sip of Our Best Advice

Join 500k+ women getting practical financial tips and empowering strategies with the Dow Janes newsletter.

We respect your privacy. We'll use your info to send only what matters to you — content, products, opportunities. Unsubscribe anytime. See our Privacy Policy for details.

More Like This