It’s natural to want a distraction from something that is causing you stress. However, your excitement over that new outfit or electronic gadget will soon fade when you receive the credit card bill. If you thought the stress of the day was tough, it’s nothing compared to stress that can be felt from being overextended financially. While it’s ok to treat yourself once in a while, it’s important to consider why you are making a purchase.
To begin understanding your stress spending, you have to recognize your triggers. When you’re browsing the web late at night and find yourself on a website looking at pack of 10,000 red cherry Jelly Beans, you should consider what lead you down this path. Triggers can range from seeing an advertisement for your favorite store to having a bad day at work. These triggers lead us to rationalize, “I deserve this,” while ordering our 12th pair of new shoes in a month. This causes you to look for material things for pleasure rather than activities, such as a walk or time with your pet.
As hard as it is to control stress spending, there is one simple way to combat it. The answer is time. For large purchases, wait at least 24-48 hours before hitting the order button. Waiting will give you time to fully consider if this is what you want. Remember, that fancy new phone will still be available tomorrow and the day after that.