Friday, April 17, 2009

Emotional Spending

I have had a problem with emotional spending most of my life. Granted it isn't as bad as some others but if you compare incomes it really is my percentage of income spent on emotional spending is about the same as some of the others in real financial trouble with really high debt. My debt isn't that high but it is too high for my income that is for sure.

I realized this in therapy actually that when things get really rough I spend the money rather than taking it and allocated what I do have in the best way possible. Since I realized that a few years ago I've tried to be better but I still slip up more often than I would like to.

The past few weeks have been super stressful and I can feel that urge to shop again. I even have done it grocery shopping, I'll see a good deal and buy some stuff I don't really need just because it seems at the time to satisfy and reduce the stress and anxiety. That is temporary though. My habit has always been about finding a deal, it has to be a really good deal to make those feelings go away. It is almost no different than an alcoholic is with drinking and masking things inside. I've gone out and bought CFL's on sale to reduce my electric bill out of my budget even to 'satisfy' this 'need' or urge. I guess if you have this issue mine is of the least destructive kind because I buy things that make my financial life easier sometimes although in the grand scheme of things I make it harder on myself for the time being. The list goes on and on about the things I have bought in the name of emotional spending and the need to be frugal at it at the same time. Its not really frugal though if I'm over extending on my budget now is it?

I realized I was spiraling though and I decided to start walking when I feel that anxiety and urge. Its working and best of all its free. Not that I haven't been off the wagon this week because I spent too much on lunches out but this time will be different I'll have to make concessions the rest of the month (maybe even the next one) to make up for that.
I'm so much more satisfied with the walking now that I'm actually doing it, changing my stress and anxiety relief habits into healthy ones is a hard road. The fact that I am changing it to not just healthy decisions but for my body too makes the walking even that much more satisfying in fact. I'm hoping as I get more strength and endurance I can add in some work out videos too. For now the weather is beautiful and I don't own a bike so walking is free and that is what I will do. I do plan on budgeting in a used bike before summer hits so I can bike ride with my daughter. We have a beautiful metro park within walking distance. It was so refreshing to take a walk with my child and talk to her and listen to her thoughts as well. Walking by myself when things are at their worst is most helpful and I've gotten up at work and left my desk about 2 or 3 times this week to take a walk. What a difference that has made with the desire to just call in and stay in bed as well.

Anyway this post is mostly about my accomplishment this week. I took that anxiety and stress and I didn't go out shopping... instead I did a free activity that both reduced the stress and anxiety and didn't give in to that addiction. Even if I did over spend on lunches, I have a plan for next week since I know it will be stressful the rest of the month. I'm bringing things into work to put in the fridge so I don't have to pack a lunch daily it will just be there then I remove the excuse to go and get lunch while I'm working. Overall I call that a great success!

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