Whilst over or emotional spending can have a dramatic impact on our budget and how we feel after we’ve done it, spending is not a “bad habit”. Failing with a budget does not make us “bad” with money. Understanding why we over spend is key to spending well and in line with our income, values and spending plan.
Here are 6 reasons you could be over-spending and breaking the budget:
Having too little in childhood, scarcity can cause feeling of fear. That is a fear of the money running out, it disappearing, being lost or running out.
This can sometimes create a money saving habit or a difficulty in asking for more. But equally it can mean we want to spend on ourselves because we had less as a child. Spending can create a feeling of control, safety and allows us to give to ourselves in a way we “missed out” on as a child.
As humans we have a need to “belong”. To feel part of a group. Sometimes sending beyond our income is an unconscious attempt to keep up, be the same and respond to the social pressure to fit in – aka not be left out.
This can push us to overspend by accepting social events, try and have the same or similar items, cars, holidays, clothes, houses etc… to our peers.
Money and self worth are related, money often echoes our relationship with ourselves. It’s not a coincidence that worth, value, enough are words we apply to both ourselves and money.
Spending briefly creates a positive feeling that can counter our feeling of low self esteem or not being good enough. Shopping can “feed” this empty feeling as we get the quick spending high, often followed by regret and the cycle repeats.
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Your Reward System
Sometimes we create our own “reward system” based on “I deserve this”. This is driven by emotions and we’ll reward ourselves for the wins and good days as well as the lows and bad days.
The “reward” makes us briefly feel better and we convince ourselves we deserve it but that need to be rewarded can drive us to overspend.
An Internal Glass Ceiling
We each have a financial “comfort level” often based on an amount that is familiar, previously experienced or in line with those around us.
We set ourselves an unconscious “limit” on how much we’re allowing ourselves to have. When we near this internal lass ceiling we sabotage ourselves by creatively spending or giving it away to bring ourselves back to our “comfort zone”
To Feel Better or… Different, Less, Distracted
In simplistic terms we either move away from discomfort or toward pleasure.
Shopping creates a unique, short lived, high so briefly changes how we feel. It helps to reward, distract, disassociate or replace what we are feeling before triggered to spend. A spending habit can help us feel better, happier, less bored, but is then followed by a low brought on from being over budget, regretting what we bought, in debt or seemingly out of control.
So Why do you Keep Over Spending?
All 6 of these reasons for over-spending are created by our feelings and thoughts around our self and money. Spending is not in itself a “bad habit”, in some way spending is actually trying to help you. Understanding how it helps you first is a start point to beginning to create change.
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