After a rough day, have you ever treated yourself to a nice meal or done some damage with the credit card for a much-needed dose of retail therapy? Do you tend to spend more money when you’re around friends for feeling just plain bored?
It might seem harmless, but these behaviors are often indicative of something more. Patterns in overspending can often be attributed to spending triggers — certain situations that encourage us to spend money needlessly.
Most people have at least one trigger that causes overspending. Do you know what yours is and how much it’s costing you? Read on to find out.
How to Stop Spending Money: Identify Your Spending Triggers
I’ve learned my spending triggers include exhaustion, hunger, or feeling upset — I stop caring about price and just want to feel better. I end up spending too much money on coffee, food, and happy hours with little regard to how they affect my financial bottom line.
I started to notice my spending triggers a few years ago, when I wanted to really evaluate my spending. I noticed that in certain situations, I spent more and didn’t care about budgeting.
I realized your emotional state can play a huge role in your spending patterns and financial success. In fact, a study by university researchers found that sadness makes you spend more, proving just how influential emotions are on spending.
Overspending every now and then is usually not a big deal. But a series of bad days or months could be a detriment to your savings account and potentially lead you down a path towards debt.
Common spending triggers include:
- Feeling lazy, which results in spending money on conveniences like a cab rides or expensive dinners out.
- Feeling insecure, sad, or anxious and going shopping to feel better.
- Big events or celebrations that lead to an “I deserve this” attitude.
- Temptation, such as being in a mall or bookstore.
- A breakup.
- Losing your job.
- Surfing the web. The internet can be a beautiful thing, but with ads following you everywhere you go, one click of a button can make you feel better all too easily.
How to Identify Your Spending Triggers
If you’re serious about saving money or paying down your student loans quickly, you need to know your spending triggers so you can avoid them. In order to identify your spending triggers, track your spending for at least one month. Don’t just track where you went and how much you spent; add a third column and track your emotional state as well.
You can do this in an excel spreadsheet or in a notebook. The key is to track how you felt when making each purchase. Doing this can help you be more mindful of your purchases and help you recognize patterns of overspending.
The point of this isn’t to make yourself feel bad. We all have spending triggers. The goal is to identify what they are and recognize patterns in order to make positive changes.
According to LearnVest, “The biggest problem with triggers isn’t that they lead us to one fiscal faux pas, but that they get us into the habit of spending poorly.”
It’s not healthy for your mind or your budget to spend in order to make yourself feel better. Money can make you happier in the moment, but it’s not the key to everlasting happiness.
How to Stop Overspending and Manage Your Triggers
Your spending triggers are like landmines — you can’t really make them go away, but you can learn to avoid them.
When I realized I was spending more money when I was tired, hungry, or upset, I made a few lifestyle changes to anticipate and avoid my typical behavior:
- I focus on getting a good night’s rest as often as possible.
- I buy groceries ahead of time.
- I’ve turned to meditation, reading, exercise, and walking with friends when I’m upset.
The solution to managing your spending triggers is to create a new corresponding habit with them — one that costs less (or ideally, involves no money at all) such as exercise or journaling. Consider inviting friends over for a potluck, calling a family member, doing yoga, or having a living room dance party when you are feeling the pull of temptation.
There’s nothing wrong with indulging here and there, but in order to master your money and live debt-free, it’s crucial to understand your spending triggers. Knowing why you overspend and learning to manage your triggers not only helps you save money, but gain more control over your life.
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To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
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4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
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