HELP! My Spending Is Out Of Control

You would think a savvy budgeting guru like myself would have all of the answers, you would be wrong.

One of the reasons that inspired us to write this blog,  is so that we can relate to real people like ourselves with budgets, families, and debt.  With that in mind I should let you in on a little not so secret secret, I am an emotional shopper.

It’s only Tuesday and I don’t yet have a day where I can use my “NO $ SPENT” sticker in my planner.

Not only that, but I own a planner where I use stickers. I think this may be something from childhood, where I had a major sticker collection habit. Regardless, my planner is my guide to life and I rely on it, so I am comfortable that I made this purchase with a 40% off coupon and paid cash. The rest of my purchases of late are completely off the budget track.

I thought I would include some steps, so that if you are like me at all you can incorporate into your life and hopefully we can end this cycle of emotional spending.

The most important thing is to Understand Your Spending Triggers

In many cases, knowing how to stop spending money has to do with identifying the emotional and psychological triggers that cause us to spend. If you remove those triggers, you’ll remove the temptation and opportunity to overspend. So the next time you head out the door, keep these in mind:

Time of Day

I am a lunchtime shopper. I find that I can get away from my desk, no kids, no husband, no crowd.  I can leisurely stroll through a store and take the full hour not working.  Do you find that you have more energy during certain periods of the day? If so, shop during times when you have more energy and feel less stressed. You’ll make wiser spending choices and think more rationally when you’re relaxed and less pressured.


Are there certain environments that make you want to spend, or make you feel obligated to spend just because you’re there? Craft stores, shopping malls, home shows, and even when you’re on vacation are all prime examples of times when you’re more likely to spend impulsively. So, take away the temptation by either steering clear of such environments, or only taking a few dollars with you.

Likewise, if you have a favorite store and you find yourself wandering through the aisles looking for great deals, do all you can to limit your opportunities to go there. For me this is TJMAXX and World Market, I have an obsession with fancy wines and foods. I like hostessing and showing off my dishes and platters. If we have people coming for dinner, I have to have a cute bottle of wine or some olives for them.


Different moods and emotional states can alter our energy, making us more prone to impulse shopping. For example, if we’re upset, stressed or anxious we may seek some retail therapy to feel better. This was 100% me this afternoon.  I am not sure if the 4 bras and bottle of Rose’ worked?

Instead of hitting the mall or your favorite internet shopping site, hit the gym or the park. Going for a walk or doing some exercise will do wonders for lifting up your mood.

What’s important is that you identify the moods that affect your spending behavior, and to find ways to avoid shopping during moods that will cause you to impulse buy.

Peer Pressure

Do you tend to spend more money than you normally would when you’re hanging out with your friends? Even the most well-intention friends can be a bad influence on us, especially if they have bad spending habits themselves. If you can’t afford to eat, shop, and vacation the way your friends do, it’s okay to decline their invites. That goes for co-workers too.



If you’re accustomed to a certain lifestyle, it could be difficult to give up when you suddenly encounter a financial hardship. But, if your lifestyle ends up becoming bigger than your budget and you don’t know how to stop overspending your budget, you could end up in worse shape.

Your upbringing also has an effect on your lifestyle choices. If you grew up in a household where money was always tight, you may feel the urge to overspend to compensate for all the things you were deprived of growing up.  Similarly, if you grew up in a household where money wasn’t an issue, you may feel compelled to spend money you don’t have in order to maintain the lifestyle you grew up with.

The easiest way to start living within your means is to create a budget, and to stick to it. You may have to sacrifice some things, but it will be worth it when you see your bank account balance coming out of the red.

I am not sure if this helps. I know I like to Pinterest when I am feeling the shopping urge. Just look at what they have or show and what I already own that could work.

Thanks for listening to my woes. I promise I will work on getting back on track tomorrow.  Let me know what your shopping triggers are, we would love to hear from you.