4 Signs You're An Emotional Shopper—And How To Get It Under Wraps

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Learn to balance your wants, needs, goals and dreams.

Are you meeting your financial needs or are you spending too much on stuff you don’t really want or need? Emotions are a necessary part of a good life but spending emotionally may prevent you from meeting your goals or living your dreams.

Awareness of using your emotional mind vs. rational mind can make a big difference in how you live your life? Humans are truly complicated critters. It’s not easy to know when you are using your rational mind and when you are using your emotional minds when it comes to spending.

Here are a few indicators that you are most likely spending emotionally rather than meeting your true needs:

1. You are easily distracted by many other things going on in your life.
Marketers take advantage of this by using bright colors, sounds, and "amazing offers" to add to your distractions and confuse you. You are more likely to open your wallet.

2. Your self-control is typically weakened.
When it comes to spending you are able to use your rational mind only so much. You use up your self-control at some point.

The time it takes for this to happen is usually shortened by stress, lack of rest and alcohol or drugs.

3. You are feeling down or depressed.
We all know that when you feel sad or depressed you want to do something to feel better. Often that something is to spend (retail therapy).

So how do you get a handle on your emotional mind and activate your rational mind when it come to spending money in ways that align with your life dreams and goals:

4. Stop what you are doing and breathe consciously for a few minutes.
You will be truly amazed how this simple act helps you be aware of the sensations of stress in your body—the tight muscles in your shoulders and jaw, your rapid heart rate, pressure and fullness in your head and face.

Once you are aware of the stress you can exercise, meditate, practice yoga or do more conscious breathing to relax and avoid using spending to relieve these symptoms.

Here's how to get it under wraps:

1. Be mindful of your mind.
When you are constantly overloaded by all the choices, situations and problems of life, acknowledge this to your partner or a friend. Keeping it to you is a way to hide it from yourself.

When you hide from your emotional and rational states you may not make reasonable decisions. Being aware and sharing your thoughts and feelings are ways to wake up to your senses and see the world and your life clearly.

2. Stop and wait.
If you have the urge to spend your hard earned money Impulsively, without weighing your needs, wants, dreams and goals, make it a practice to wait until the end of the day and then sleep on it before pulling out your wallet.

Often if you give yourself even a small amount of time to weigh your needs and wants, you will realize that you are doing retail therapy and you have other options to satisfy your emotional needs. When you hear or see the words, "Act now before it's too late,” say, "No thank you, I will wait until tomorrow to decide."

3. Create a spending plan.
Develop a flexible, realistic spending plan that fits your level of income and meets your needs

4. Does this fit into your life vision?
Does the purchase you want to make fit into your spending plan and does it bring you closer or further from your dreams and goals in life.

It may, now, be a good time to hold back and to make conscious decisions about spending that fits into a well thought out spending plan. In this way you can seem aware of the tradeoffs and spend your hard earned money with confidence.

Confidence that you have thought it through and made a conscious decision to fit your spending into a plan in ways that won’t significantly alter your path toward what you truly need and want for yourself.

It is an extraordinarily comforting feeling to spend your money in ways you have planned. Of course a plan is not helpful and may, honestly, be discouraging if you haven’t develop discipline and good habits around spending.

For many people some form of coaching or counseling is necessary to get beyond the emotional triggers that fuel our sometimes addictive spending. For help or more information on emotional spending visit my websitesubscribe to my blog or email me.

This article was originally published at Tom Woodward, Financial Recovery℠Counselor. Reprinted with permission from the author.