I spent $132 on a mobile game. What? Yep! That’s why this episode, number 48 of the Money Mindset shift is titled “Help! I overspent!” And this episode is dedicated to anyone who has accidentally overspent as well! Which is probably everyone, so keep listening, and let’s get into it!
First, before we dive in, I do want to say that overspending happens. It happens to nearly every one of us. So if you’ve overspent, know that in that respect, it is normal. It happens to people all of the time. And we’ll actually get into why it isn’t totally your fault in a moment.
But you might be asking what happened. Well, I downloaded a phone game I had played before, while on vacation. You know, keep myself entertained while away from home. Something easy to pull out while in the car or on the plane, whatever right.
I’d played it before. So I knew what to expect. And for everybody asking, I am not going to name the game. We’re not here to like, throw anybody under the bus. But you may have seen ads for it, okay? So I knew what to expect. I had played it before. Mainly, that this game includes micro transactions – in game purchases that get you access to a second in game currency which can be used to unlock levels, items, etc. Not every game uses a second type of in game currency, but many do.
This one happens to have “coins” which can be earned in any level and done so pretty easily. And the special currency, “gems,” which can be expended to get special items and unlock various things faster.
Additionally, microtransactions aren’t actually always “micro.” The price can range from 99 cents to $99. There are also different kinds of micro transactions, like loot boxes, which give you random items. And others kinds have a bit more consistency, in knowing exactly what you are going to get.
There were two major factors that played into my purchases totaling $132. They are impulse spending and impatience.
I think we’ve defined impulse spending before, but it is basically an unplanned purchase that is decided on a whim, in the moment. And you may or may not know, I am not the most patient person.
The thing is though, the games that do this – that use micro transactions – are DESIGNED this way. They know that if the price is low, .99 cent, $2.99, etc. and you are emotionally invested, positively or negatively, that you will be more likely to make an impulse purchase. Thus, purchasing the .99 cent gem pack on a whim without really thinking about it, you’re like “yeah, that’s not really a big deal.”
In my case, I don’t like waiting. I was playing the game to help pass the time and be entertained. So by having to wait, I wasn’t able to access how I was passing time. So I’d have to just sit. And that was just painful enough, and coupled with these micro prices, I was in. Hook, line, and sinker.
And because it is a dollar or two here or there, I wasn’t thinking about how it would add up.
Additionally, as business owners, we know that if people buy once, they are more likely to buy again, and spend more. Which obviously (or maybe not so obviously) led to a couple of $15 and $20 purchases. And let me tell you, those gems went very quickly.
So, what happens when you accidentally spend $132 in micro transactions on a mobile game?
First, release the blame and shame from yourself. There is no way for you to “know better.” Companies use marketing psychology and some techniques of debatable ethics, to leverage your very human brain against you. That isn’t your fault.
Were there things you could have done differently? Maybe. But it doesn’t help to focus on those things. Because what happened is what happened. The past can’t be changed, but you can move forward.
So in addition to releasing the blame and shame from yourself, acceptance of the situation is important.
In my case, yeah, I spent the $132. I needed to accept that. I needed to eat that and make new decisions going forward.
Your brain as you’re hearing these things may not be on board with these perspectives in the moment. And that isn’t your fault, you’ve been given a lot of shit around money and spending. But I do invite you to respond to those thoughts with compassion towards yourself. “I should’ve known better” or “I should’ve done differently” – those are things you’ve been told or you’ve picked up from society or somewhere.
Instead, respond toward yourself with compassion. “I am human. What happened, happened. I don’t need to blame and shame myself in order to grow or change.”
If your brain is not responding to that, sometimes it responds better to hearing it from someone else. If that is the case, then I invite you to join the Money Mindset Shift Community on Facebook. The members and I will be that voice for you as your inner compassionate voice strengthens.
Then you can also use the Evaluate, Shift, Heal framework to move through the experience. Some of the examples above are actually examples of shifting those thought patterns. But we’re gonna use them in journal form here. Here are some prompts you can utilize:
- What happened? (describe the situation)
- How do I feel about this? (go deeper with what your brain is telling you that is making you feel that way. You’ll have an example of that in a second.)
- How do I want to feel about this? (Can go deeper with “How do I want to move forward?”)
- What thoughts or beliefs do I need to shift to support how I want to feel?
- Where can I give myself additional compassion around this?
- Are there supports I can utilize to maintain this change?
Here are a couple of examples from the prompts above:
- What happened? I accidentally overspent $132 in a mobile game.
- How do I feel about this? At the time, I felt ashamed. I should have kept better tabs on what I was spending. I knew this was a possibility, because I am a human. I knew that and I proceeded anyway. That was the story my brain was telling me. That’s where those thoughts come in. So you can see the feeling was the shame. The thoughts were I should’ve kept better tabs on what I was spending. I knew this was a possibility, I proceeded anyway. Kind of putting “this is my fault.” But we know, if there is any fault of mine, it isn’t totally mine. Companies are leveraging these things against you so we can give them a little fault.
- How do I want to feel? More at peace with this. I know I’m not the only person. And I want to move forward with more knowledge and intimacy with my spending.
So those are things I actually wrote down. They come straight from my journal. And I’m not going to get into all of the prompts that I gave you, but you can kind of see how this develops.
So examples of supports I could utilize, that could be actually just keeping track of the purchases. Spending more intimate time with my money and looking at my statements more often. Those sorts of things. Not having this like, laissez-faire, I spend what I spend and I’m not looking at it sort of thing. And that would be an actionable step that would back up the things I have written in the journal because those actionable steps are important and they reinforce the new beliefs.
So if you find yourself in this position, those are some prompts that you can use. And again, I invite you to give yourself that compassion.
But what I wanna know is have you accidentally overspent too? But maybe it was at the store, rather than on a mobile game? The next episode is for you! So make sure to subscribe to the podcast and turn those notifications on so you don’t miss it! We’ll be going shopping together at one of my favorite stores. I’ll see you there!