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5 Tips For When You Can’t Stop Spending

Do you have a spending problem? Is your spending out of control? Check out these 5 helpful tips to curb your spending habits!

Guest post from Ashlee of Mom Life Together:

My family keeps close track of our finances. We tithe. We save for our daughter’s education, our retirement and other future expenses. Except for our home, we make every purchase is in cash. In short, we do almost almost everything “right.”

The biggest factor in my financial health is not being able to do all the items listed above… it’s the spending that occurs when I am not emotionally or spiritually healthy.

When too many Amazon boxes show up at our door, my husband will ask why I am upset. It’s obvious to both us that when there is a hole in one area of my life, I try to fill it with new things. Instead of dealing with the issues, I turn to shopping.

Through my journey I have learned a few ways to deal with the hurt/spend connection.

1. Have a written budget.

It’s so important to have a plan for your money. We are fortunate enough that our monthly budget includes a small fund for each family member to use for whatever he or she might need/want. This fund allows me to make extra purchases in moderation. Therefore, I don’t feel deprived or controlled by the budget.

We also have separate categories for items like clothing. I won’t even venture into certain stores if I haven’t saved enough to make a purchase. I am more likely to look at discount or thrift stores so I am not tempted to overspend.

2. Talk to someone about how you are feeling.

I tend to shop more when I’m holding something inside and not letting my feelings come to the surface. I feel less alone and more likely to seek out healthier methods of coping when I can talk to someone — my spouse, a friend, or another support person.

3. Find other activities you enjoy.

One reason I started blogging was because I found myself clicking on promotional emails and shopping whenever I got online. Now, when I get on my computer I have a stronger desire to write than to shop.

I’ve also noticed that my friends and I tend to shop when we get some kid free time. Of course it’s always easier to do the grocery shopping or other errands with that time. However, it’s also easier to go to department or big box stores, too.

Coffee shops have become my favorite kid-free time destination too. Yes, this does involve spending some money, but a $3 coffee fits in my budget a lot easier than a $100+ Target trip!

4. Don’t actually make a purchase.

NOTE: I only recommend this if you have a lot of self control!

Sometimes I enjoy just looking at my favorite websites to see what is available. I will put items in my cart that I never intend to purchase. However, you should know that in a few days you will probably start to receive emails with extra discounts to motivate you to complete your purchase.

5. Find the real solution.

All of the ideas above are just coping mechanisms for over-spending. You need to work on whatever heart issue you are experiencing to really make progress.

Spend time with God, reflecting on the hurt and seek the appropriate help.

If shopping has become an addiction for you (much like drugs or alcohol) it is important that you take your healing journey seriously.

You can be doing all the “right” things financially and on paper but if you are have a hurt that is leading you to overspend, you will never fully achieve financial health without finding a real solution.


Ashlee writes at Mom Life Together. Her hope is that all mothers will find a safe place to share authentically about their journeys without the fear of judgement.

photo source

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  • Jr Davis says:

    Thanks for sharing. One thing I do is delete emails of products because I don’t need to buy everything that is email to my inbox. I also spend time with the Lord to ask for guidance on when it comes to all the areas of my life. I find people who will encourage me to not overspend. My solution for me is not to buy everything I see. It takes self control. Thanks.

    • Ashlee says:

      Great advice! My email provider separates promotional emails to a specific folder. I just don’t look at the folder for discounts unless I already plan to buy something. Having supportive people in your life is so important!

    • Emily says:

      This!! I had to do this, too, because I was buying things because I had received a discount code in my email.

      • Ashlee says:

        Yep, definitely an issue for a lot of us! It’s so hard to turn down those “limited time offers.” I’ve noticed that most stores pretty much always have some type of offer at a given time.

  • Autumn Arthur says:

    I need to work on this so badly, so I am thankful for this post! My problem has been the “extra” money left after everything is budgeted for. My husband has variable income, so sometimes we’re scraping by and others we’re cruising, Last year we were cruising the majority of the year, and I developed the bad habit of shopping for clothes. As long as I wasn’t spending budgeted money, I was “okay” but reality is that money should have gone to emergency savings or to pay extra on loans. Breaking the habit has been hard!

    • Ashlee says:

      Our income isn’t too variable but my husband gets an occasional bonus, tax refund or other gift of money. We have a list separate from our regular budget for when that happens. We keep a running list of projects we want to fund but are not immediate and apply the money towards those items as we receive it. Some examples of things on the list are – new back door, new landscaping, trip for a family member’s wedding, Disney vacation. Some fun stuff and some practical. You could do the same with loans or savings. We actually do include extra mortgage payments on our list.

      I’ve been amazed at how much we have been able to fund over the last few years. Seeing what can be accomplished really provides motivation! (And when I know I’m going to get a vacation, it’s even more incentive)

  • Emily says:

    Thank you for this article.

  • Chelsy says:

    This is such great advice! Another trick I like to use when I feel the urge to shop or when my kids have earned a reward is a trip to the Dollar Tree instead of Target.

    • Ashlee says:

      My daughter actually calls the dollar store “toy store”. It’s her favorite place to shop because she can take her dollar (+ $.06) and get anything. When we go to other stores she has to constantly ask what things cost and if she has enough. Thanks for mentioning that!

  • Janet says:

    I came into some money a few weeks ago that was blow money. I want to be very very careful with it.
    #1. I take the time to write a list.
    So the first thing on my list is new clothing or at least new to me clothing.
    I have not had any in almost 10 years and what I have much of it has holes.
    #2. Start with the basics. I found pants on sale with coupons at Macy’s so when they went on sale I bought four pair 2 black and 2 navy.
    #3. Next I shopped thrift stores
    I managed to find 3 shirts and a leather jacket that I just love. When I started to go to the register the sign said Wednesday half off (It was Tuesday and the store was just about to close) I found a spot for the first time in my life to “Hide ” what I wanted and I made arrangements to come back in the morning when they first opened. I got them half price!
    #4. I went back to the online only now I have the shopping bug online.
    I got a hat that was truly needed on deep discount. I got a pair of shoes that were truly needed on huge discount.
    I still have so many holes in my wardrobe so I came up with a plan.
    First I bought every thing I loved and promptly returned it all (big huge mistake)
    #5. I went back to my list
    I started taking a photo of each item that matched my list that I thought I truly wanted.
    I am working on the rest of the plan
    I am setting the budget at 200 more to spend and that is it.
    I like this plan!

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