How Your Mood Can Make You Spend More Money

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

You’ve probably heard before that stores target your senses in order to get you to spend more money. Therefore, if you go to a grocery store when you are hungry, you may end up picking up impulse items that you didn’t want to purchase because you smell the sweets, and this is particularly true of junk food.

In addition to your physical needs (like hunger), your emotional attitude or feelings can also affect your spending. If you are depressed, stressed, or exhausted, it can be easy to convince yourself that you deserve a dinner out. If you are happy and content, you might find that it is easier to save money because you feel more in control of other parts of your life. Understanding how your mood affects your spending can help you make smarter spending decisions.

Many of us love to rationalize our spending. We convince ourselves that we deserve to spend money because we work hard, because we are tired, or because we are stressed. However, if you rationalize your spending too often, you can quickly go way off course and forget your savings goals. According to the site Free From Broke, we rationalize our spending and lie to ourselves because that means we don’t have to change. We can continue to make poor financial decisions if we refuse to look at our spending in an honest way. Also, according to Grayson Bell writing for Debt Roundup, emotional spenders use their current emotional state to rationalize spending. If you are an emotional spender, you have to learn to tell the difference between your wants and your needs.

Confidence and spending

In addition to rationalizing our spending, there are many other ways that our mood can affect where we put our cash. According to Gary Foreman writing for, we also make purchases to impress others or protect our image, spend money because we can, and seek to feel an emotional high from spending. Doling out money also makes us feel powerful, and we’ll spend additional funds because we want instant gratification, we want to maintain a certain lifestyle, we want to make up for something that we lacked in the past (for example, in childhood), or we want to convince ourselves of our self-worth. If your confidence is down one day, then you might be more likely to spend in order to impress other people or to prove your own worth to yourself. On the other hand, if you are feeling happy and content, as well as confident, you might not feel that you need to go out and buy a fancy suit or take a friend to dinner.

If you want to control your emotional spending, recognizing that you do it will help you start. According to Investopedia, you should avoid impulse buys, try to limit the amount of advertisements you encounter, avoid temptation (stay out of certain stores), keep yourself accountable, and try to find a different way to handle your emotions (like exercising).

It’s easy to spend money when you are unhappy or stressed, but saving money actually might make you happier, and that might encourage you to save even more money. According to a survey by Ally Bank, 38% of those surveyed with a savings account reported being extremely or very happy, versus 29% without a savings account. The survey findings also suggested that the more you save, the more likely you are to be happy: 57% of people with $100,000 or more in savings said they were very or extremely happy, versus 29% who had no savings.

If you want to beef up your savings, there are many ways to make the process easier. According to LearnVest, if you want to be happier about saving, it can help to write down your budget and goals so that you can then think about other things. You can also evaluate your spending and determine which things actually make you happier or give you joy, and you can work to enjoy what you have already. Once you are happier about saving, and you can pay attention to how your mood affects your spending, you can start spending less, and saving more.

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