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Stress Spending: How To Determine, Avoid This Behavior


Stress spending is a way humans cope with these uncertain times and feel more in control. We may feel temporarily relieved if we satisfy our immediate desires, but these purchases can have long-term financial consequences.

Stress saving instead of stress spending

Perry Wright, a senior behavioral researcher at Duke University’s Common Cents Lab said that stress saving could be an alternative to stress spending. Wright also stated that the act of deciding to save can be therapeutic in the same way that the act of deciding to spend gives.

According to CNBC News, The act of spending money on something provides some kind of relaxation when you’re anxious. It is the act of acquiring something that lifts your spirits and provides you with comfort.

As a result, the term “retail therapy” was created. However, as Wright noted, this relief is just temporary.  He stated that it is common for material to degrade before an online shop has even had the opportunity to print a shipping label.

As per the report, the psychological explanation for feeling relieved after a period of stress, on the other hand, is that you have reached some form of resolution. However, Wright said it is the process of making a decision rather than the receiving of a purchase that provides a sense of control as well as brief relief.

How to avoid stress spending?

There are some tips or advice on how to avoid stress spending, and start saving for the future.

1. Monitor your spending activities

According to Experian, the only way to become aware of all of your emotional spending patterns is to keep track of your everyday expenditure. You can simply keep track of your spending by keeping all of your receipts for later auditing, or by using applications or software to track your spending behavior.

2. Sticking to budget plan to cut “retail therapy”

Follow an overall monthly budget that will require you to save (and invest) a specific amount each month while still spending money on things you need and paying down debt. When it comes to staying away from retail therapy, planning is essential.

3. Try window shopping to boost your mood

As Experian reported, according to research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, hypothetical shopping, such as window shopping or making a wish list of things you want rather than purchasing them, might also improve mood. Keep your credit cards at home so you don’t buy anything when you’re at the mall or shopping malls.

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