How to get on top of your emotional spending

Posted June 11th, 2018

Woman with shopping bags

We all love a bit of retail therapy now and again, but when you get a buzz from the act of spending itself rather than from what you’ve actually bought, and particularly if you’re regularly spending more than you can afford, you might want to stop and think about what this might mean.

Put bluntly, emotional spending has nothing to do with shopping for things you need. Instead, you turn to spending money because of how you are feeling, such as in the following situations:

  • You’re feeling happy about something and you celebrate by going shopping.
  • You’re feeling unhappy with yourself and cheer yourself up by going shopping.
  • You’re feeling stressed about something and going shopping is a welcome distraction.
  • You’re feeling less than someone else and use shopping as a way to keep up with them.

A recent study showed that 19 million UK shoppers did so for emotional reasons. Emotional spending in 2017 led to a total of £26.5 billion in credit card debt – that’s a huge problem.

So, how do you know if you’re an emotional shopper? Well, ask yourself the following questions and see if one or several of them strike a chord:

  • Are you routinely trying to justify your purchases to yourself or to others?
  • Do you often feel worried or anxious after a shopping spree?
  • Do you make a habit out of hiding receipt, tags, shopping bags or any other shopping evidence?
  • Do you own lots of things you haven’t used or worn, or in fact forgotten that you had them?

If you’re affected by emotional spending, the trick is to understand what’s going on inside you, so that you can tackle the bad money behaviour. Here are 5 emotional motivations that can cause a disconnect between you and your financial decisions.

Learn to recognise these states, or talk them through with the help of a professional counsellor, and your decisions will soon become more intelligent:

Love and belonging

Do you have a problem creating meaningful relationships? You may buy things to meet the need of ‘feeling loved’.

Play and fun

Are you a workaholic? Rather than creating a better work/life balance, you feel the need to treat yourself to an expensive toy or holiday.

Personal power

Is your spending never your fault? If you feel that your life is out of control, or you want to get back at someone, spending may give you a false sense of control.

Lack of freedom

Are you feeling trapped in an unhappy relationship or job? Spending money may represent a situation where you can exercise choice.

Sadness

Are you trying to fill the emptiness that sadness can bring? Whether you’re struggling to deal with a personal loss or are suffering from depression, overspending can by a symptom.

Once you’ve decided to put an end to your poor financial behaviour, there are some practical steps and techniques you can implement straight away to avoid emotional spending. These include:

  • Unsubscribe from mailing lists, so you are less likely to be seduced. The same goes for store cards – cut them up and close the account.
  • Never save your card details on shopping sites. The temptation to shop with just one click is far too great.
  • When shopping online, ask yourself whether you intended to buy the item when you first entered the website, how much you need it and how you would justify the purchase to someone else.
  • When you go shopping, set yourself a firm budget and take the money with you in cash, leaving cards at home.
  • Identify your triggers and devise alternative strategies to deal with the emotion that doesn’t involve spending.
  • As a last ditch resort, use the 24 hour rule: Wait for a full day and see whether you still really want to buy the item before making a purchase.

If you feel that it would be beneficial to speak to an experience and sympathetic counsellor about your emotional spending habits, please call the team at KlearMinds in confidence or email info@klearminds.com. Our expert psychoanalysts, life coaches and counsellors are powerfully equipped to give you the best opportunity for positive results and help you achieve fast, lasting change.

How can you tell if you’re in a bad relationship?

Posted April 13th, 2018

Man and Woman in Disagreement

We all deserve to feel safe, loved and happy in a romantic relationship but sometimes it’s not as straightforward as all that. But how can you tell whether your relationship is a healthy one or whether it’s time to say goodbye?

Most of the time, this is not a clear cut issue. Relationships are complex webs of human interaction and problems may develop slowly, over many months or years, possibly without you or your partner even realising. However, once the feeling sets in that ‘something isn’t right’, that’s when an experienced relationship therapist may be invaluable to help you understand what’s going on.

Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar?

Fighting too much

It’s normal to have arguments but as you get to know each other, you would expect there to be a progression towards better understanding and communication. If you keep going round in circles arguing with each other, possibly over the same thing, there may be a problem. Poor communication that never improves is toxic, stopping the relationship from moving forward.

Walking on eggshells

Is your partner dominating or controlling? This doesn’t necessarily have to involve threats of violence. It could be that you’re nervous and afraid of your partner’s emotional reactions, and change your views or behaviour to make sure s/he doesn’t get upset. Or perhaps your partner chooses what you wear, how you spend money or who your friends are? Manipulative behaviour is not the sign of a healthy relationship.

Wishing your were home alone

Do you find yourself wishing that your partner wasn’t around? Do you have more fun on your own? If you prefer spending the evening home alone while encouraging him to go to the pub, or you increasingly socialise independent of each other, all may not be well at home. With tensions building while you’re together, you may start to realise that life would be happier on your own.

Constant power games

In a good relationship, the balance of power is evenly distributed; there’s plenty of give and take so that both parties feel that their voice is heard. However, if one partner feels powerless or disenfranchised, they may try to redress the balance by inadvertently upsetting the proverbial apple cart. Suddenly, the relationship feels on edge, destabilised and uprooted, upsetting both partners.

Habitual stonewalling

Positive communication is key in any relationship – you need to be able to talk about important issues to move your relationship forward. But what if your partner refuses to talk about the big stuff such as moving home, getting married, having a baby? Blocking the possibility of talking about the future means the relationship is stuck in the present, which could be a toxic situation.

Something’s changed

People change and the secret of a long-term relationship is to keep adapting to each other and still make it work. If you find yourself thinking that ‘this isn’t how it used to be’, ‘this doesn’t feel good anymore’ or ‘this isn’t what I signed up for’, then perhaps what was once a good relationship has turned bad. Can you bring the good times back?

If you’re tired of feeling stuck, lonely or unhappy in your current relationship, seeing a relationship counsellor may help. At KlearMinds, we can show you simple steps you can take to improve your relationship difficulties, giving you plenty of advice and active strategies to help you achieve the improvements you want. Contact KlearMinds today on 0333 772 0256 for a confidential chat to see how we can help.

Filled Under: Relationships

Relationship problems – what’s wrong with us?

Posted January 19th, 2017

There may be many reasons why your love is on the rocks. However, if things between you and your spouse or partner are not going well, it’s not always obvious to see what the underlying problems are. How serious are the issues? Is it just a temporary blip or is it terminal? Should you stay and make it work or cut your losses and leave?

It’s important to understand that most serious relationship problems occur around the same themes. So if you recognise any of these in your marriage or partnership, it’s high time to take action to improve your relationship.

Criticism

In any relationship, it’s completely normal to have arguments and disagreements. However, when a person is criticised for the person s/he is and a relationship problem is staged as a character flaw in a partner, it’s hard to move past that. If one or both of you provoke arguments and then look for reasons not to forgive the other person, that is a big problem you need to work on.

Contempt

Contempt is the number one predictor of breakups. If left unchecked, negative behaviour such as finger pointing, insults, sarcasm and talking down to your partner will chip away at the very foundation of your relationship over time. If one or both partners are unwilling to soften the conversation and inject some positive emotions into the relationship, there’s little point in being together.

Lack of sexual desire

For most people, having a mutually fulfilling sex life is an essential part of any good long-term relationship. If one partner has a much lower sex drive or shows little interest in wanting to be intimated, this needs to be addressed urgently. A marriage or partnership without sex could be a deal breaker.

Infidelity

Commitment and exclusivity are the foundation stones of a long-term partnership. Being in a relationship with someone who cheats on you is tough. It is possible for both of you to work through the infidelity with honesty and forgiveness and a promise to put it behind you. However, chronic infidelity and broken promises are much harder to fix.

Lack of communication

Sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings about each other is what gives each partner reassurance. But if one partner shuts down emotionally or is unable to open up, it’s much harder to connect. How can you deal with relationship problems if one of you keeps it all bottled up? Communications skills can be learnt; it’s essential to keep talking to each other so you don’t drift apart.

Filled Under: Relationships

What are the 5 love languages?

Posted November 4th, 2016

do-you-love-me

When relationships go wrong, it can be the hardest thing. Are you fed up with constant misunderstandings or arguments? Do you feel as if you’re doing all the relationship work? Are you drifting apart? Has the spark gone?

Whatever relationship or marriage problems you may be facing, often it’s our communication skills that are letting us down. That’s where relationship counselling can make a real difference. Experienced therapists can help you understand the underlying issues while teaching you the tools to make progress.

According to the 1990s blockbuster The 5 Love Languages, there are in fact 5 ways that we express and receive love. The book may be a perennial favourite on the pop psych shelves, but there’s no harm in taking a closer look at the advice given: learn to speak and understand your and your partner’s main ‘love language’ and not only will you communicate better, your relationship will improve as a result.

(more…)

Filled Under: Counselling, Relationships