Got a Spending Problem? Here are 3 Indications That You’re an Emotional Spender

happy woman with many shopping bags

Jeff Cuellar



Overspending is something we’ve all been guilty of at one time or another. There’s no shame in admitting it. Then again, overspending isn’t too hard to do in Singapore, a place with a reputation for being a shopper’s paradise – and an EXPENSIVE one at that!

Seriously, there are probably five times as many malls than schools in Singapore! Unfortunately, this doesn’t make it any easier to resist the temptation to overspend. And when you add the dangerous catalyst called “emotion” into the mix, the results can be very costly.

Here are 3 important indications that the reason you’re overspending is because you’re an emotional spender:


1. You Spend Because You “Deserve” to Splurge

It’s incredibly easy to justify any purchase after payday with these simple words: “I deserve it.” I’m certainly not going to argue against that. Singapore is a tough place to work in. You have to deal with 44- to 50-hour work weeks, bosses with slave-owner mentalities, and tight deadlines all the time.

So it’s understandable that at the end of the month, you feel emotionally entitled to the rewards of your labor. And that’s fine. But don’t let your emotion overrule your logic when it comes to treating yourself each month.

Otherwise, you’ll end up in a situation where you’re dealing with “buyer’s remorse” after your purchase (and a smaller bank account balance as well).

Instead of giving in to emotion, hold off on that purchase for at least a week. That should be enough time to take emotion out of the equation so you can make a more logical buying decision.


2. You Spend Because It Brings You “Satisfaction” or “Stress Relief”

The urge to beat stress through the form of gratification known as “retail therapy” is something most of us deal with on a weekly basis, not just on payday.  That’s because there’s no such thing as a “stress-free” work week in Singapore.

The bad thing about that is that it not only affects our physical health, but our financial health as well. Because when we’re stressed, we tend to make poor decisions – especially when it comes to buying decisions.

I’m not against “retail therapy.” On the contrary, I think it can be a good way of beating stress and renewing your energy for another tough month at work. Of course, there are many less expensive ways to beat the stress and anxiety such as trekking, jogging, or hitting the gym. But to each his/her own yes?

After all, it is still possible to rehabilitate your morale through “retail therapy” without going broke. You just need to take emotion out of your buying decision, that’s all.


3. You Spend Because You Want to Compete and Show Off

Competition is a part of life here in Singapore. When you’re young, you’re taught that you must compete against your peers to be the best in school, sports, etc. Even when you become an adult, you still need to compete for a good job or promotion.

While that competitive spirit can earn you great rewards in life, it can also cause you some serious financial pain if you’re not careful. In fact, making purchases out of envy because you want to compete with a friend, rival, or co-worker is the worst reason to buy anything.

It’s one thing to make purchases that you can reasonably afford. But when you’re actively competing with someone over who can have the best house, car, clothing, phone, or just about any other material possession – overspending can easily escalate to bankruptcy in a matter of weeks or months.

So if you’re in this dangerous situation, take a minute to press pause on the financial “manhood measurement” contest you’re playing and think about why you’re really overspending and whether it’s truly worth it.


How do you stop yourself from overspending based on impulse/emotion? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook! For even more useful information on everything personal finance, visit MoneySmart today!


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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.