Stress Spending – The New Form of Impulse Buying

More stress, more problems.

“Retail therapy” is a phrase that we’re all pretty familiar with. It tends to give the impression that spending can be a soothing experience, making you feel less stressed and more positive. However, as many of us know, it often has the opposite effect.

Why do we stress spend?

Like any other type of emotional response, stress spending is something people to do feel better. There’s plenty to make you stressed in life these days, from the future impact of political change, to where the next payment on your car is going to come from if times are tight. Even if you’re stretched to the limit budget-wise it can still seem like a good idea to go out and spend. Why? Well because, the whole process – the swish of the credit card in the machine, the power of being the purchaser, lovely packaging and then the sense of ownership – all give us an instant rush of endorphins. The trouble is that those endorphins don’t last long and are often followed by a range of pretty negative emotions including guilt, shame, anxiety and regret.

Why is stress spending the new form of impulse buying?

Stress levels are higher than ever before. When stress polls are taken each year, roughly a third of people report being more stressed than they were the year before. And it seems that the younger you are, the more likely you are to feel stressed with Millennials suffering from stress the most. Although not everyone responds to this increase in stress by making purchases, the lower levels of contentedness that so many experience increase the chances that stress spending will make an appearance.

How can you stop stress spending taking over?

Whether you’re a Millennial or not, stress spending could cause serious problems. From issues with relationships to getting into bad situations with debt and not being able to get out again, there are many negative consequences to responding to the urge to stress spend. And that’s a sure route to unmanageable debt that can leave you relying on bad credit loans or no credit check loans.

So, how do you make sure that you’re steering clear of the danger zone?

Know your weak points. Self-awareness is the first step towards dealing with a problem like stress spending. What is likely to trigger you to reach for your cards – a break up? A bad day? An argument? Try to work out what it is that starts you down the road to a stress spend so that you can look for an alternative option instead.

Take a time out. If you feel stressed then give yourself time to feel the emotion and work through it rather than responding straight away by hitting the shops. Give your credit cards to someone you trust for 24 hours and steer clear of all your favourite stores, online and off. Once your stress levels drop back to normal you’ll probably find the urge to spend has gone away.

Give yourself a break. If you’re stressed then what you need is to find a way to give yourself a break, as opposed to adding to that stress with the guilt of impulse buying. Talk to a friend, take a day off to do something relaxing or go and speak to a medical professional to get some support.