The Emotional Spending Trap

Radley bag

If you’re anything like me, you will have a spending weakness for something – shoes, handbags, makeup, watches, cars or toys for your kids, there will be SOMETHING you can’t resist. For me its handbags. Specifically; Radley ones. With the little Scottie dog.

Don’t get me wrong – before this, I had NEVER spent more than £50 on a new handbag, let alone the cost the handbag in picture set me back (Or to be brutally honest, how much my credit card was set back).

Time after time a new handbag would hit the shelves and I would fall in love.  I told myself I worked hard so why not?  I would reward myself because I deserved it! In other words, I fell victim to emotional spending.

Poor Spending Habits

Did I think about how I was going to pay for them? NO, I never gave it a thought. I didn’t even hesitate handing over my credit card to take the latest bag home with me.

Ah, so maybe I was savvy and paid the bill off in full the next month?


Do you know what I did? I left it on the card to accumulate interest, paid only minimum repayments, and added to my ever increasing debt mountain (something I have vowed never to do again).

I can hear you giggling – maybe you’ve done this too? Maybe you’re STILL doing this. It might not be handbags, but paying for anything on a credit card or store card without paying it off in full every month, or at least have on a 0% interest card with a plan to pay it off before the deal ends is a sure way to lose control of your finances.

The Income Trap

I thought because I had a well-paying job, I’ll pay it off eventually because I’ll always have a good income.  It’s a trap that a lot of high earners get themselves into.  Quite simply, I felt that I deserved nice things because I worked so hard.  I was completely blind to the cold hard truth, one small change in circumstances and I would be in a financial mess.

All I wanted was to feel rich and glamorous. I’d bought into the false assumption that because I earned a good income, I was fully capable of paying this back. Instead of looking at my current financial status and lack of savings to pay for the handbag outright.  I relied upon my EMOTIONS to do my thinking.

Radley London

“How gorgeous is this handbag?!”

“Everyone will be impressed”

“This is perfect for my new outfit”

“This colour is perfect, I have nothing like this one”


Emotional spending 1. Rational thinking 0.

To be fair I wish it was JUST handbags, but no.  Eating out at the last minute, new shoes, crazy amounts of stationary, my weakness for beautiful notebooks, takeaways, the list goes on.


What about you?

Where do you do this?

Do you:

  • Spend money you don’t have when going to the pub on a Saturday night, and buy everyone drinks when you know you have rent/mortgage money due soon, but do it anyway because you don’t want to feel like the tight-arse?
  • Overspend at the supermarket with little indulgences just because you’re tired, don’t want to cook, or feel like treating yourself for the end of a hard week?
  • Grab a takeaway or eat out several times a week, you work hard so why not?
  • Buy your partner, parents or kids presents because you’ve been working too hard and don’t see or speak to them much?

I’m not writing this to make you feel bad; I’m writing this to make you more AWARE of what you’re doing. Like emotional eating, emotional spending is disastrous for your health.

Without planning your spending, the real cost could be hundreds more than the purchase price. You run the risk of running out of money every month, putting stuff on credit, and generally feel guilty about how little you are saving and just how much you owe.

The good news is that you, like me, are fully capable of doing something about it. Once you are aware, you can change your habits and stop resorting to emotional-spending.  The first step to take may be the hardest, but take a look at getting clear on your finances it’s life changing!

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