Impulse buying, retail therapy, and comfort shopping — many names describe those unintentional splurges you make at the checkout.
Whatever you call it, it’s spending driven by your emotions, rather than a financial need. And any time you spend with your heart and not your mind can be a problem.
Why Do People Comfort Shop?
Many people use online shopping as a way to cope with sadness, anxiety, and other negative emotions. Why? Because the initial thrill of buying something new can overshadow these dark feelings, at least for a little while.
Comfort shopping is a powerful experience that taps into the pleasure areas of your brain. Studies show shoppers get a hit of dopamine as they buy items or await packages to arrive. This flood of feel-good hormones can make it hard to stop splurging once you start.
What Are Examples of Comfort Shopping?
Think about all the times you get takeout or a new outfit when your fridge and wardrobe are both full. Or how you might go to the drug store for just pain relief tablets, and you wind up with a basket full of snacks, extra cleaning supplies, and books.
These examples might not feel like comfort shopping in the moment, but your brain will treat anything like a reward after a chemical pick-me-up of dopamine.
What Are the Dangers of Comfort Shopping?
The financial consequences of comfort shopping outlast the initial thrill of shopping if you don’t budget for this kind of spending.
The money you spend on these splurges has to come from somewhere. More often than not, it either goes on a credit card or comes from your savings.
What’s the problem there, if you’re keeping up with your bills? There are several:
- Filling up your card with non-essential shopping means you can’t use this account as a backup in an emergency.
- Maxing out your cards may do damage to your credit score.
- You might pay extra interest and finance charges on any balance you carry over month-to-month.
- If you aren’t saving regularly, you aren’t preparing for short- or long-term financial goals.
By wiping out your credit card and savings, a single unexpected expense can throw you for a loop. But there are ways to handle it until you get your spending under control. Go online to find personal loans that work in an emergency.
Before you commit to an online loan, read these tips for applying for a personal loan. They’ll help you understand the responsibilities of taking out a loan, and how you can find a personal loan that fits your finances.
How to Stop Comfort Buying
While an online personal loan may be a convenient stopgap, it isn’t a permanent solution to your financial issues. For that, you’re going to have to put an end to retail therapy and pay off your debts.
One of the best ways to do this is to make a budget that tracks and reduces your splurges.
If you’re still finding it hard to say “no” to unnecessary spending, make money harder to spend. Delete saved payment details, unsubscribe from retail mailing lists, hide your credit cards, and start using cash for everything.
But most importantly, focus on how you can deal with those negative emotions that got you to overspend in the first place. A little introspection and a lot of self-help can go a long way.