Emotional Spending: 6 Ways to Avoid Shopping Therapy



Emotional spending AKA shopping therapy can be avoided once we realize why we are spending money to make ourselves feel better. Emotional spending isn’t just about buying clothes or whipping out a credit card to click “buy now” on Amazon.


It’s more about the relief, distraction, and satisfaction that spending money can give us.


We pick up snacks in hope of feeling better, spend money on alcoholic beverages, and blame how we feel that day on all the things we do not have. It’s natural to want more, this greed is what prompts us to fulfill our goals.


To reach for things that once felt unattainable and to make our environment something more desirable.


What is emotional spending?

Wanting more is not a bad thing. The desire for more is in no way binary but this blog post is to help you understand that you do not have to spend money because you want control or to feel better.


Spend because it’s helping you in the long term or because you have already paid yourself first and have extra cash.


Keep reading to find out 6 ways to eliminate shopping therapy aka a classic form of emotional spending


1. Find a Hobby


When you feel the urge to pull out your wallet, dig deep into your bowl of hobbies and see if one of those activities makes you feel better.


Whether this is painting, catching up on a show, DIY-ing a new project or aggressively scrubbing a surface in an effort to clean it, you can find something to occupy your time.



This doesn’t have to be an in-depth activity. When choosing one just think of something that won’t stress you out more. If the pressure of deciding feels impossible because you’re overwhelmed with feelings, create a list and work your way down. It helps to make the list before you’re in the midst of an emotional whirlpool because we tend to not think as clearly when we’re upset.


As you get through the list, the goal is for your energy to lighten gradually because all feelings do pass.


2. Reach out to a friend


Tell someone who is emotionally available what’s on your mind. Social interaction can lead to you not only feeling heard when times are hard but if you ask for advice, they may even give you a new view on what you’re dealing with.


When you try to prevent emotional spending by talking to someone there are certain people you should not reach out to.


Who should you avoid when going through a hard time?


The reminder - The person who reminds you how you can’t afford it and makes you feel bad

It’s all about me - The one who can’t keep the focus off of them for long periods of time

The sometimes friend - The friend you don’t talk to often and always remember why during the conversation

The motivational friend - The one who encourages your overspending #YOLO


Shopping therapy can be a go to for many

A good conversation will be with someone who can listen more than tell you their opinion.


3 . Reflect on what just happened


Usually we want to make ourselves better using shopping therapy or emotional spending when we feel triggered.


A trigger doesn’t always have to be because of a negative event. Sometimes we want to reward ourselves because we feel we deserve it and it’s time for a treat.


What is your trigger? Is it stress, feeling overwhelmed, hearing good news from a friend, hearing bad news on the television?



What usually happens right before you want to spend money in a way you wouldn’t have otherwise?


It helps to jot down a list if you find its multiple things that way when you feel the urge to emotionally spend you can check the list and see if the reason why is present.


This can be your reminder and with enough effort and discipline, the reason why you stay indoors or away from online shopping.


4. Validate your feelings


Your feelings are real and valid. No one has to understand them except you and they will fade when they’re ready. Feeling jealous is a normal emotion. Feeling lost or like something is missing is also normal.


Feeling overwhelmed and in need of a change is 100% acceptable. And once you accept that your feelings do not make you a bad person and do not have to be shopped away; peace will come.


We do not live in a binary world where every feeling is either good or bad, likely it is as complex as we are. Feeling overwhelmed is because of several factors and not just one.