Modify your Spending

impulsive-spendingThe economy is bad and you still want to spend. It seems too difficult to control, but if you do not stop you will face grave financial consequences. Does this sound like you? Do you want to know why you are spending despite your budget crunch? Do you want to know how to stop this reckless spending? You will learn an easy technique by reading this information.

The following paragraphs highlight the unhealthy motivations for spending and offer suggestions for how to successfully modify this impulse.

Why we spend

There are two main reasons we spend money: 1) we need to purchase necessities and 2) we are inherently impulsive with behaviors that alter our mood. This article will focus on the latter because it is purely unhealthy.

Impulsive Spending

Impulsive spending typically occurs when we need to alter our mood. When we are stressed, we spend. When we are bored, we spend. When we are angry, we spend. Finally, when we are excited, we spend. Feelings and mood states motivate our every action, even spending. When any of the aforementioned mood states motivate spending the results will always be negative. Spending is like a drug that satisfies a craving to experience an altered mood state. It briefly alleviates stress, boredom, and anger, and increases excitement. However, the aftermath only increases these feelings.

How to modify impulsive spending

In order to modify impulsive spending we have to know what it does for us and what we are telling ourselves from the initial urge to the final purchase. Spending essentially makes us feel better. The act of acquiring something new is exciting, and this excitement momentarily distracts us from our negative feelings, such as anger, sadness, fear, and hopelessness. While it does not make logical sense that you might be spending more now when resources are limited, you can see the emotional reasons as your negative feelings likely have increased with the stress you are experiencing in this struggling economy.

You can use your feelings as cues to learn what you are telling yourself in the spending process. You might say to yourself, “I need that, “or “I deserve to have something nice,” when you are experiencing a negative emotion.  Once you know what you are telling yourself, you can change your internal dialogue. For instance, you might challenge these thoughts with thoughts like this: “I do not need that. I am feeling the urge to spend money because I feel angry or bored.” This will allow you to interrupt the urge to spend and give you control of the impulse.  You can repeat this exercise whenever you feel the urge to spend money on anything that is not a necessity. You will have plenty of opportunity to reward yourself and purchase luxuries when the economy improves.