One of the biggest barriers to me being mortgage free in 5 years is a bad habit I don’t tend to talk about too often: I’m a comfort spender. If I’m stressed, I spend money on anything and everything. The ironic thing about this unnecessary splurging is that it ultimately leads to me adding to my stress levels because I end up wasting money that I need to save or use more appropriately. To put this into context: I recently had to give my credit card (which I took out at 0% interest purely for emergencies when solicitors fees swallowed my savings) to Gaz to look after because I spent £57(!!!) on a dress I didn’t really need.
I have good months and bad months. At the minute, despite being hugely anxious about work and my impending return to freelance, I am also incredibly aware that I have no choice but to cut all non-essential spends for the foreseeable future. Over the weekend I managed to keep my spending low despite being out and about, yesterday I spent just £15 on groceries for the week and I have successfully resisted the urge to buy an extra set of barbell weights (which I ‘need’ to progress my lifting).
Although… I did have a minor slip this morning and spent £1 on a box of Cadbury’s chocolate fingers, oops.
I know I’m doing it, even as I shop. I know I’m wasting money. I browse online shopping sites and tell myself as I go along “you don’t need this” and “you can’t afford this”, and then end up clicking “buy” anyway. Sometimes I add a ton to my basket and get as far as checkout before I come to my senses and browse away (but sometimes I don’t).
I know I do this for the feeling of pleasure I get both completing a purchase, and also when the things I’ve ordered arrive, but I also know that this feeling is fleeting and is soon replaced by spending regret, or (often worse) complete indifference: because that means the hole I’m trying to fill remains a void. I also know that I primarily spend like this on days where I don’t have my babies at home. I’ll leave you to fill the gaps there.
The question is how do I stop myself from doing it? How do I employ enough willpower to stop the spending (especially when I feel like my strength & willpower is exhausted just getting through the day at the minute)? I suppose I could buy a book on comfort spending habits…