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Why do people spend money? You can control the urge!

I’m not a psychologist, but I do know sometimes, you just want to spend some cash. You might fall victim to buying those pumps at the mall when you only went looking for a blazer to wear for your much-expected job interview. Or you may find yourself having a little extra time between the time you’re supposed to be at work and your earlier doctor’s appointment so you find yourself in the Starbucks drive-thru, just because you got some extra minutes. I’ve found myself to be in the exact same spot, plenty of the times.

A recent article on the money motivation website reassured me that at least I’ve beat the 3 Most Common Spending Triggers.

The first one: You spend money to make yourself feel better. Sure, getting a new purse can make a girl’s day much better, but how many purses do you really need? I try to approach this spending pitfall this way: when you have a rough day at work or are feeling down, find something that will make you feel better, without spending a dime. For example, take a long hot bath, or guys- treat yourself for an hour of video games. Do something to forget that you had a bad day.

The second one: You spend money as a reward. I’m all for celebrating when you’ve reached a milestone or you reached your goal. But going on a shopping spree could leave you with something more on your plate: a big credit card bill. I try to always set a limit. Each month, my husband and I set an allowance for “spending money.” It’s my money to spend on whatever I want. So when I lose a few pounds or I made it through the first year at my company, I will dip in to that spending money to treat myself to a massage that I’ve already set money aside for. If it’s budgeted for, it won’t hurt to spend it.

The third one: Stress made you do it. We often hear it — stress makes us fat, angry, detached, sleep deprived and so on. And many times, we shop because we’re stressed. I find exercise is the best cure. Maintaining a routine to hit the gym every morning before work, or running around the neighborhood and smelling the fresh air normally makes me feel balanced, ready to take on spending temptations. I also try to plan everything out, so I have less of a chance to find myself stressed of the unknown and end up hitting the sales rack.

Overall, finding those tips that work for you is key. Maybe you hate the gym — try hiking to relieve some stress. Perhaps getting yourself a new outfit is not a bad reward for congratulating yourself on a project well completed — but set yourself a limit so you don’t feel worse when it’s time to do your bills. And, invest in healing mechanisms. Try reading, blogging, journaling, researching, catching up with friends, playing with the kids, designate a craft day or a relaxing weekend. Having fun and feeling better doesn’t have to put a dent in your wallet.