Unmana Dutta

In the new order of the world after the lockdown, people are often seen ordering or buying things that they may not actually need. They may be under stress, or bored, or just wanting to prove their worth in terms of their self-esteem, for which they are engaging in something very popularly known as ‘emotional spending’.

People who engage in emotional spending tell themselves that it is okay that they are shopping rather than getting addicted to alcohol and smoking. However, this is a serious addiction like any other. In this, there is a cycle of emotions. A person experiences some strong positive or negative emotions, followed by them buying something to neutralise that emotion, then coming to the realisation that they have spent too much, following which there is guilt. But, then, after sometime, this cycle continues.

It is important that there is realisation from the person who is spending and the people around the spender to let them know about this behaviour of theirs. For dealing with this, here are some of the most effective tricks one can try to curb emotional spending:

Ask ‘why’ you are buying

The first rule that you need to apply while doing online or offline shopping is questioning yourself why you are buying it. Think of its needs, its uses, and if you can manage without the product.

Follow the 48-hour rule

Before you actually end up buying a product online, put that item in the cart for 48 hours. If you still need it after that amount of time, then go ahead with it. In case of shopping at physical stores, you can keep your debit and credit cards at home, carry cash and do window shopping, check for things that you like and try them. For the things that you really like and need, you can come back in a few days and buy them. This will help you cut down on the splurge.

Fix a budget

It is always helpful when a fixed budget is pre-decided in case of grocery or household shopping. This will help in keeping a check on your spending when you are emotionally charged.

Unsubscribe to mails and notices

More often than not, we end up shopping online because we see some push notifications or mails related to the products we want – be it for sales and discounts, which tempts us to buy the products. Moreover, we end up surfing the internet for a long amount of time, going from one link to another from the same application, ending up spending and buying things that we may not actually need. Hence, it is suggested to unsubscribe to the emails and block the push notifications from the apps.

Make a list before you shop

It is advised to make a list of the things that you want to buy. When you are emotionally charged, you will notice that you will add more items to this list, but later, you might cancel some of the items as you realise that you may not actually need them.

Ask a friend or family member

Whenever you have the urge to shop due to your emotions, get an opinion on it from your family members or friends. This will lower your chances of spending money, as they would stop you from shopping carelessly.

Emotional spending or compulsive buying is a common behaviour of modern times, and if someone is not able to manage it, then it is always better to seek professional help.

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