38. "I shouldn't have bought that!" - How to deal with impulse spending

*I swear in this episode

So you unintentionally spent more money than you meant to. Unintentional spending happens. So let’s talk how to deal with impulse spending on this episode of the money mindset shift!

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Unintentional spending happens. So let’s talk how to deal with impulse spending on this episode of the money mindset shift!

Before we dive into how to deal with impulse spending, money can be a sensitive topic already. And impulse spending in particular tends to have a lot of shame around it.

“You should have had better control.”

“You should have done x, y, or z with that money instead.”

And so on.

Annoying bullshit, right?

Pause. Take a deep breath.

Now let’s talk about it.

So you unintentionally spend more money than you meant to.

There was a sale. You saw something on the clearance rack. You decided while at the store to get yourself a treat. That email from that coach you follow was just really darn convincing.

Seemingly on a whim, for whatever reason, you made a purchase. Oops, impulse spending.

But it doesn’t always feel good, so how do you deal with impulse spending?

Use the framework!

Do you remember what it is? Evaluate, Shift, Heal!

Evaluate your relationship with spending. How do you feel about spending? What happens when you “impulse spend?” Describe the situation. Describe the feelings.

Let me give you an example from my own journal:

“I think I have mixed feelings in regards to spending. When I go shopping, I tend to buy things that aren’t on the list, or that “I don’t really need.” For example, I just bought more clothes at Target. I have enough clothes, and in fact, I’m trying to be more intentional with my wardrobe, but I still bought more. I do like what I bought, which isn’t always the case, but I still feel a little guilty because I really don’t have any money right now. Like I’m pretty sure that my bank account is nearly empty. And that makes me really anxious.”

So here, from my journal example, you can see that I have dove in a little bit. I looked at what my feelings were. Described the feelings, described a recent situation, and what was going on.

Then once you’ve described those things – once you Evaluate – you move to Shift. You Shift the stories and narratives. What beliefs do you see in your response to the previous questions? What rules are cropping up?

Here again are some examples from my journal:

-“Impulse spending is bad. I’m bad for doing it and people who have money are responsible and don’t impulse shop.”

-“Impulse spending is what is keeping me poor / from having money.”

-“I’m being / allowing myself to be influenced by ads and the world.”

-“Smart people aren’t easily influenced. They can see through the marketing and are thus superior.”

-“If I just got my spending under control, all my other money problems would dissappear. Spending / the individual is at the root of money problems.”

Do any of these resonate?

Once you’ve written them out, you can shift them.

For example, you can realize how impulse spending, and spending overall, isn’t merely an issue of the individual. It’s not really your fault. Capitalism, consumerism, white supremacy, and more are major influences on spending and your relationship with it. And this compounds with things like brain chemistry and neurodivergence – be it the happy brain feelies, hyperfixation on a new craft, or the need for mental stimulation.

From here, you can begin to release some of the self blame, while still pursuing a more fulfilling relationship with spending and the happy brain feelies that impulse spending gives you. One of your choosing.

Which is actually what Heal, the last part of the framework is all about!

Healing the wounds that have been inflicted upon you and creating something more supportive.

A big part of this is realizing that you are not the stories or narratives. You are not to blame, but you do get to change it.

Again, here’s an example from my own journal:

“Society has given us some shitty frameworks, huh? We learned somewhere along the way that we have to be perfect in order to not only have value but to get our needs met as well. Unfortunately, we were lied to. It was just another way to keep you and I oppressed, easier to harm, and more susceptible to violence.”

“Basically, the systems we live in are shit, AND that isn’t your fault. While we do have a responsibility to change them, to contribute towards a better future, we aren’t to blame specifically. And actually, to be taking that shame and guilt on, only further perpetuates these shit systems.”

“I love you. You are doing a great job trying to navigate all of this. And it is okay to spend a little money for a little bit of happiness to continue making it through.”

That excerpt is from where I chose to write a letter to myself. However, the key piece here is that it came from a place of compassion. So whether you write a letter to yourself while you’re in the Heal part of the framework, or you do something else, it’s the compassion.

And the framework guides all of this.

Evaluate gave me an understanding of what was underlying my feelings.
Shift allowed me to identify them and choose more supportive beliefs.
And Heal then wraps it all up together in a way that lends some closure and emotional processing, so that I could move forward with creating a plan towards a relationship I could feel better about.

This podcast episode didn’t get into all of the details, and I definitely didn’t share all of my journal. (There were 9 pages of writing on spending and impulse spending.) – but this episode does give you an outline for beginning how to deal with impulse spending.

Evaluate your relationship with it. (Listen to the questions I pose to you again.)

Shift the underlying beliefs and rules you’ve been given.

And Heal the wounds that have been inflicted upon you because of those beliefs, rules, and relationship.

If you want to dive in further, we have all sorts of different ways, different avenues, to do so on shelbymelissa.com. You are free to explore or send me a message on Instagram @shelbymelissa and I’ll help you decide what might be best for you. What best fits your budget, with what you’re dealing with, etc.

This work isn’t always easy. I totally get that.

But it can be fun to know yourself better, and it is certainly rewarding to feel lighter and free-er on the other side.

And who could argue with a better more supportive future for us all?

I love you.
You’ve got this.

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