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How To Curb Your Emotional Spending

By Rachel George

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A little retail therapy after a stressful week at work or while on vacation never hurt anyone. Or does it? Have you ever thought about how much you actually spend when traveling? From the time you wake up yelping best brunch spots to the 2 am munchies?

How many times have you returned home with tons of trinkets and souvenirs, only to check your account thinking, “What did I do?” We’re all guilty of living our best lives, and spending way too much money sometimes while on vacation. It’s ok, we all make mistakes, but we hardly consider the fact that our emotions play a key role in our impulsive spending acts.

Personal finance consultant Kassandra Dent has spent years working with clients who spent too much living in the moment or allowed their emotions to affect their spending while traveling. Part of living in the moment also means buying any and everything you want simply because you can. She focuses on how our emotional state affects our spending habits long-term. “For a lot of people on vacation, its almost like they throw caution to the wind. Maybe they rarely start with a specific spending plan or budget on what they actually want to spend their money on,” she said.

Sometimes our emotions interrupt our budget plans, affecting our spending habits completely. Wanting to fill this emotional void, we buy expensive dinner packages to mask the feeling of loneliness or wanting that feeling of fulfillment after buying something new.

Here are five ways to curb your emotional spending while traveling.

Avoid impulse shopping.

If you find yourself at the market shopping because there’s downtime and you’re bored or buying something you hadn’t originally planned to, go back to your room. Don’t make an impulsive decision to buy a product or service you don’t need, only to question it later.


Be mindful of your pockets.

“Before you ever step on the plane think about how you want this vacation to go. What do you want to get out of it? Be mindful of your experience and what you can actually afford.”

Understand currency difference

“I think it’s important also to understand the currency situation in each country or wherever you are traveling too. What’s the exchange rate? What’s the value there? What do things normally cost here?’ There are travel boards, blogs, and sites like Travel Noire, where a host of information about currency exchange in other countries is available to you.”

Save in %, not #.

“In terms of spending, I would save a percentage opposed to a set number. This way you don’t stress yourself out thinking, ‘OMG I spent 500 dollars instead of $400. For example, storing a percentage of your yearly bonus.”

Have a dedicated travel fund.

If its something that you truly love and value, then you need to set aside money for that. Parlay the skills you have into earning some extra money, aside from your normal income. Take that cash and use that to fund any additional savings.

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Rachel George

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