Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Anoneemoose
    • By Anoneemoose 11th Jul 18, 11:13 AM
    • 1,982Posts
    • 2,384Thanks
    Anoneemoose
    Emotional Spending Help
    • #1
    • 11th Jul 18, 11:13 AM
    Emotional Spending Help 11th Jul 18 at 11:13 AM
    Hi.

    I just wondered if there was any known help for compulsive/emotional spending? I know there is loads of help on how to get in touch woth creditors etc, but I haven’t seen anything for addressing the actual spending issues in the first place.

    We have debt, which is on 0% for a long time and we’re not increasing it, however we’re not decreasing it much either and a lot of it is because we just spend without thinking. Particularly me. I don’t work because I have chronic illnesses and also because of that, I don’t have many friends. As such, I often fill in my time by spending. Not always massive amounts, but it all adds up

    We use YNAB to record everything, but instead of looking at the budget amounts before spending, we just spend and then move around categories.

    We have a decent income with reasonable fixed expenses, so on paper we should be fine..but we’re just cycling debt.

    I know what we ‘should’ be doing, but it just doesn’t seem that easy. I was bulimic previously, with binge eating disorder too, and it seems that since that has been under control, my bingeing has been replaced with spending.

    Any ideas would be welcome!
Page 1
  • National Debtline
    • #2
    • 11th Jul 18, 12:32 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Jul 18, 12:32 PM
    Hi Anoneemoose,


    Compulsive/emotional spending is an issue that more people face than you probably realise. It can be hard to clear the debt until the spending is under control. There is information available online that may help and this website did run a pilot to help people stop spending. Although that pilot has now finished there is still some information available to help get you started - https://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/shopperstopper/


    Have you tried to increase the payments to try and clear the debt, and also put some money to one side that is allocated for spending of this nature, so you still feel you could spend a little, if you wanted to? It is also worth asking yourself before each purchase, is this essential or do I just want it? If you can do this, and don't need the item it may help you stop some of the unnecessary purchases. Good luck,


    Laura
    @natdebtline
    We work as money advisers for National Debtline and have specific permission from MSE to post to try to help those in debt. Read more information on National Debtline in MSE's Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help guide. If you find you're struggling with debt and need further help try our online advice tool My Money Steps
    • dionysia
    • By dionysia 11th Jul 18, 5:31 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 155 Thanks
    dionysia
    • #3
    • 11th Jul 18, 5:31 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Jul 18, 5:31 PM
    This is also my problem - and like you, I also have similar issues with food! I think they're very common. In some ways using spending and food to deal with emotions is part of our culture, think of 'retail therapy' or the idea of cake and chocolates as 'a treat'. I'm still dealing with it but much better than I used to be. Some things I've tried that I think have helped:

    - Cognitive behavioural therapy - this is a kind of psychological treatment that focuses on identifying harmful thought patterns and challenging or reframing them. So for instance if you have an argument with someone and your usual response would be to get online and buy a new dress, CBT will help you catch that thought, connect it to the argument, and redirect your thoughts elsewhere. You might be able to access a course free or cheaply through any work mental health assistance that might be available to you (or through your GP if you can persuade them you need it badly enough and are prepared to wait for months and months), but there are lots of practical books you'll be able to get from the library and worksheets you can download from the internet.

    - Mindfulness. Not that dissimilar to CBT in that it helps you to notice your thought patterns and just be with them. For me, this has meant being able to just sit with the feeling of desperately wanting to buy whatever thing, feeling the feelings that brought on the craving to shop (or eat), and letting myself be sad that no, I can't have the thing. This will sound a bit feeble to people who don't have emotional spending issues, but certainly for me the feeling that I 'have' to spend the money on whatever it is is very real - it just isn't true (or as one of my favourite practices puts it, 'feelings aren't facts'). Again lots of books available, video/audio of practices on youtube, or apps like Headspace and Calm. Fundamentally, to stop emotional spending you need to find other ways of managing your emotions and mindfulness can help with that. So can new hobbies or habits, something to do that's not spending/eating - I started drinking herbal teas instead of wine and I paint (very, very bad) watercolours. I understand some people get on well taking up running. (Although you do have to be careful to not just give yourself something that you then justify spending lots on because you need stuff for it, so pick a new hobby carefully that doesn't need too much equipment!)

    - I like to listen to the Dave Ramsey podcast for a short sharp dose of motivation, he's not touchy-feely at all, but listening to him screech 'rice and beans, beans and rice!' at people who ring him up about their debt problems can be a bit of a kick up the bum.

    - I read one of Geneen Roth's books about money and food and found it helpful, it's a bit more woo but it made me reflect on my own relationship with them both. Same with Alex Jamieson's book. I like Cait Flanders' blog and archives. Other podcasts I like are the Art of Money podcast, Bad with Money with Gaby Dunn, and Her Money Matters which all have episodes about emotional spending and just generally help me to be more intentional about money.

    - There are practical tips like cut up the credit card or change the PIN to something you don't know off the top of your head, take your debt card details off your computer so it doesn't autofill, only use cash, you can get programs that block sites, stash 'spare' money in an account you can't access too easily, carry a reminder in your purse of a special goal you want to save up for, change your lunchtime routine or way home so you're not passing the shops. Have a think about your spending, when, where and how you do it, and figure out ways to not give yourself those opportunities to shop anymore.

    Good luck! We'll get there .
    June 2017: owe £16,818.
    June 2018: owe £13,263.
    • Anoneemoose
    • By Anoneemoose 11th Jul 18, 5:47 PM
    • 1,982 Posts
    • 2,384 Thanks
    Anoneemoose
    • #4
    • 11th Jul 18, 5:47 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Jul 18, 5:47 PM
    Hi Anoneemoose,


    Compulsive/emotional spending is an issue that more people face than you probably realise. It can be hard to clear the debt until the spending is under control. There is information available online that may help and this website did run a pilot to help people stop spending. Although that pilot has now finished there is still some information available to help get you started - https://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/shopperstopper/


    Have you tried to increase the payments to try and clear the debt, and also put some money to one side that is allocated for spending of this nature, so you still feel you could spend a little, if you wanted to? It is also worth asking yourself before each purchase, is this essential or do I just want it? If you can do this, and don't need the item it may help you stop some of the unnecessary purchases. Good luck,


    Laura
    @natdebtline
    Originally posted by National Debtline
    Thank you. We do have fun money already, for family spends, which we tend to go over regularly. I really do think it’s more a lax approach rather than something ‘serious’, although I appreciate it’s something to be aware of and keep an eye on.

    The first thing I’ve done is decided on a 24 hour rule. If I see something I think I ‘need’, I have promised myself I will think on it for at least 24 hours, hopefully by which time the urge will have worn off!
    • Anoneemoose
    • By Anoneemoose 11th Jul 18, 5:56 PM
    • 1,982 Posts
    • 2,384 Thanks
    Anoneemoose
    • #5
    • 11th Jul 18, 5:56 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Jul 18, 5:56 PM
    This is also my problem - and like you, I also have similar issues with food! I think they're very common. In some ways using spending and food to deal with emotions is part of our culture, think of 'retail therapy' or the idea of cake and chocolates as 'a treat'. I'm still dealing with it but much better than I used to be. Some things I've tried that I think have helped:

    - Cognitive behavioural therapy - this is a kind of psychological treatment that focuses on identifying harmful thought patterns and challenging or reframing them. So for instance if you have an argument with someone and your usual response would be to get online and buy a new dress, CBT will help you catch that thought, connect it to the argument, and redirect your thoughts elsewhere. You might be able to access a course free or cheaply through any work mental health assistance that might be available to you (or through your GP if you can persuade them you need it badly enough and are prepared to wait for months and months), but there are lots of practical books you'll be able to get from the library and worksheets you can download from the internet.

    - Mindfulness. Not that dissimilar to CBT in that it helps you to notice your thought patterns and just be with them. For me, this has meant being able to just sit with the feeling of desperately wanting to buy whatever thing, feeling the feelings that brought on the craving to shop (or eat), and letting myself be sad that no, I can't have the thing. This will sound a bit feeble to people who don't have emotional spending issues, but certainly for me the feeling that I 'have' to spend the money on whatever it is is very real - it just isn't true (or as one of my favourite practices puts it, 'feelings aren't facts'). Again lots of books available, video/audio of practices on youtube, or apps like Headspace and Calm. Fundamentally, to stop emotional spending you need to find other ways of managing your emotions and mindfulness can help with that. So can new hobbies or habits, something to do that's not spending/eating - I started drinking herbal teas instead of wine and I paint (very, very bad) watercolours. I understand some people get on well taking up running. (Although you do have to be careful to not just give yourself something that you then justify spending lots on because you need stuff for it, so pick a new hobby carefully that doesn't need too much equipment!)

    - I like to listen to the Dave Ramsey podcast for a short sharp dose of motivation, he's not touchy-feely at all, but listening to him screech 'rice and beans, beans and rice!' at people who ring him up about their debt problems can be a bit of a kick up the bum.

    - I read one of Geneen Roth's books about money and food and found it helpful, it's a bit more woo but it made me reflect on my own relationship with them both. Same with Alex Jamieson's book. I like Cait Flanders' blog and archives. Other podcasts I like are the Art of Money podcast, Bad with Money with Gaby Dunn, and Her Money Matters which all have episodes about emotional spending and just generally help me to be more intentional about money.

    - There are practical tips like cut up the credit card or change the PIN to something you don't know off the top of your head, take your debt card details off your computer so it doesn't autofill, only use cash, you can get programs that block sites, stash 'spare' money in an account you can't access too easily, carry a reminder in your purse of a special goal you want to save up for, change your lunchtime routine or way home so you're not passing the shops. Have a think about your spending, when, where and how you do it, and figure out ways to not give yourself those opportunities to shop anymore.

    Good luck! We'll get there .
    Originally posted by dionysia
    Thank you for such a detailed reply. I!!!8217;ve had CBT before for my OCD and I learnt about the !!!8216;feelings aren!!!8217;t facts!!!8217; thing too. I think there will be too long a wait, so I might see if I can talk things through with my intuitive eating counsellor. She has taught me about mindfulness and meditation, which has been a great help for the food aspect. I!!!8217;m sure I can find some benefit from talking to her because, although she specifically works on the eating side of things, she!!!8217;s had many clients who replace the eating with something else!

    I have ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia, so I!!!8217;m often stuck in the same four walls. I also lost a lot of (what I thought of as) friends when I had to give up work. Seems it was out of sight, out of mind. Because of my illnesses, our grocery spending seems to increase because cooking is often too much, and I can!!!8217;t stomach leftovers or batch cooked/frozen/reheated food because of sensory issues.

    I did try and read Dave Ramsey!!!8217;s book at one point, but I found it triggering the way he went on about fat people. I have gained weight since the bulimia and illnesses.

    I do enjoy cake making, but that!!!8217;s expensive and I have just taken some sewing classes in the hope of making some clothes that fit well!

    I may start a diary on here.
    Last edited by Anoneemoose; 11-07-2018 at 5:59 PM.
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 11th Jul 18, 6:00 PM
    • 4,870 Posts
    • 34,524 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    • #6
    • 11th Jul 18, 6:00 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Jul 18, 6:00 PM
    This is also my problem - and like you, I also have similar issues with food! I think they're very common. In some ways using spending and food to deal with emotions is part of our culture, think of 'retail therapy' or the idea of cake and chocolates as 'a treat'. I'm still dealing with it but much better than I used to be. Some things I've tried that I think have helped:

    - Cognitive behavioural therapy - this is a kind of psychological treatment that focuses on identifying harmful thought patterns and challenging or reframing them. So for instance if you have an argument with someone and your usual response would be to get online and buy a new dress, CBT will help you catch that thought, connect it to the argument, and redirect your thoughts elsewhere. You might be able to access a course free or cheaply through any work mental health assistance that might be available to you (or through your GP if you can persuade them you need it badly enough and are prepared to wait for months and months), but there are lots of practical books you'll be able to get from the library and worksheets you can download from the internet.

    - Mindfulness. Not that dissimilar to CBT in that it helps you to notice your thought patterns and just be with them. For me, this has meant being able to just sit with the feeling of desperately wanting to buy whatever thing, feeling the feelings that brought on the craving to shop (or eat), and letting myself be sad that no, I can't have the thing. This will sound a bit feeble to people who don't have emotional spending issues, but certainly for me the feeling that I 'have' to spend the money on whatever it is is very real - it just isn't true (or as one of my favourite practices puts it, 'feelings aren't facts'). Again lots of books available, video/audio of practices on youtube, or apps like Headspace and Calm. Fundamentally, to stop emotional spending you need to find other ways of managing your emotions and mindfulness can help with that. So can new hobbies or habits, something to do that's not spending/eating - I started drinking herbal teas instead of wine and I paint (very, very bad) watercolours. I understand some people get on well taking up running. (Although you do have to be careful to not just give yourself something that you then justify spending lots on because you need stuff for it, so pick a new hobby carefully that doesn't need too much equipment!)

    - I like to listen to the Dave Ramsey podcast for a short sharp dose of motivation, he's not touchy-feely at all, but listening to him screech 'rice and beans, beans and rice!' at people who ring him up about their debt problems can be a bit of a kick up the bum.

    - I read one of Geneen Roth's books about money and food and found it helpful, it's a bit more woo but it made me reflect on my own relationship with them both. Same with Alex Jamieson's book. I like Cait Flanders' blog and archives. Other podcasts I like are the Art of Money podcast, Bad with Money with Gaby Dunn, and Her Money Matters which all have episodes about emotional spending and just generally help me to be more intentional about money.

    - There are practical tips like cut up the credit card or change the PIN to something you don't know off the top of your head, take your debt card details off your computer so it doesn't autofill, only use cash, you can get programs that block sites, stash 'spare' money in an account you can't access too easily, carry a reminder in your purse of a special goal you want to save up for, change your lunchtime routine or way home so you're not passing the shops. Have a think about your spending, when, where and how you do it, and figure out ways to not give yourself those opportunities to shop anymore.

    Good luck! We'll get there .
    Originally posted by dionysia
    Brilliant advice here. Thanks dionysia, this post will help loads of people, not just the OP .
    Finally Debt Free After 34 Years, But Still Need to Live Frugally
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 OCTOBER 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund. Save for house repairs.
    "Tough times never last, but tough people do" - Robert H Schuller
    • enjoyyourshoes
    • By enjoyyourshoes 12th Jul 18, 8:08 AM
    • 1,062 Posts
    • 1,309 Thanks
    enjoyyourshoes
    • #7
    • 12th Jul 18, 8:08 AM
    • #7
    • 12th Jul 18, 8:08 AM
    A range of things to try:-

    Identify NEEDS ad WANTS and only spend on NEEDS

    Don't do shopping as a hobby, try to find something else to get involved in (walking , cycling etc)

    Don't go shopping hone 'down' as this will decrease your ability to make god rational decisions.

    Do list for food shopping (based upon what you have just run out of or what you need for the menu in the forthcoming days) and go to shops that a only sell food as the other items may tempt you

    Only do 1 food shop a week.

    Only buy whats on the list

    Try 24 hour rule, if tempted, wait 24 hours before you make the decision to purchase as often the thing you were going to purchase was a want not a need and you didn't realise it

    De clutter and see how much money you have wasted !

    Have a clear goal put this in financial terms and start strategy to achieve this.

    Don't have a CC, pay for everything with allocated money you have saved for.

    Don't use OD, just don't buy when you are close to the limit.

    Allocate all your earnings into 'pots'-short term spending, medium term spending, long term savings

    good luck
    Debt is a symptom, solve the problem.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,805Posts Today

6,715Users online

Martin's Twitter