Do You Know Why You Spend Money?

This post was featured in the following carnivals:

Carnival of Retirement at Money Q & A
Yakezie Carnival at 20 and Engaged
Carnival of MoneyPros at Sweating The Big Stuff
Canadian Finance Carnival at Canadian Finance Blog
Totally Money Blog Carnival at Skint In The City
Carnival of Financial Planning at Frugal Zeitgeist
Financial Carnival for Young Adults at 20’s Finances
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at Money Crashers
Festival of Frugality at Budgeting with the Bushmans

If you think that shopaholics want to go shopping all the time, you are wrong.

The urges to run to the blissful place that I call The Mall come and go in waves. Usually it happens on days when I am stressed and feel vulnerable. Sometimes it happens when I feel self-content and want to extend that feeling of happiness by browsing through an endless supply of clothes and shoes.

I am not one of those people who can window shop. If I go to the mall, my goal is to spend money. I don’t set a budget for a shopping trip because it never works. There is always something – a pair of jeans, a raincoat, a scarf – that will throw my shopping budget out the window.

Last Saturday the oh-so-familiar longing washed over me, and I almost ran out to the car to drive to the mall. But I was able to stop myself. Then the question came to my mind: what lies beneath my spending compulsions?

Advertising

Advertising might affect some people, but it has no effect on me. I read magazines, and I watch TV. I see advertising everywhere. When I do see something that I like, I cannot help but analyze. I wonder how much Photoshop was used on Julia Roberts’ face to advertise an insanely expensive moisturizer?

Do I want to have flawless skin? Of course, I do! Am I going to pay hundreds of dollars for that cream. Hell no!

I don’t believe in Photoshop, and I strongly believe in genetics, serious use of sunscreen and avoiding the sun. I take every single advertisement with a HUGE grain of salt.

Emotional appeal of advertising does not have any affect on my spending. Not because I am some narcissistic and ego-maniacal person. I suspect that every single ad represents an exaggeration and some distortion of truth.

The Joneses

I don’t care that the Joneses wear Louboutin shoes and drive a Lamborghini. I might look at those shoes, getting into some state of coma. I might even lose control over my mouth muscles and drool a little.

However, status symbols, especially the ones that denote association with wealth have no effect on me. I don’t give a rat’s patootie if you drink wine that sells for $350 a bottle, live in a mansion with golden door knobs and swim in a pool with dolphins. No one can define the way I look, the way I dress, and, most importantly, the way I live my life.

I do want to have nice things. But I don’t care what my rich neighbors or friends enjoy. I realize that there will always be people who have more that I do. It doesn’t bother me. Things do not define us, remember?

Bargain Hunting

I don’t bargain hunt. Now, don’t you shake your head dismissively at me! I declared right from the bat that I am not a thrift store shopper, and I am not a frugal person. But if I go into my favorite store and see a jacket I have wanted forever on sale, I will buy it, and I will be insanely happy about it. Who doesn’t love a good sale after all?

However, most of the time I will not buy an item just because it is on sale. Somehow it always seems to me that the best looking clothes in my size never make it to a sale’s rack. Price is important to me, don’t misunderstand me. But I will not go out of my way to look for a sale.

Retail Therapy

Feeling depressed, stressed and vulnerable? Are you hurting or experiencing an emotional meltdown? Feeling angry and want to unwind? Why not go and get something nice then?

I am definitely in this category. The worst part of it is when I am feeling sad, I always spend more on myself than when I am shopping on any other given day. On my sad and stressed days my thinking is extra self-centered, and I go for extra self-indulgence.

Boredom

Before I immersed myself into blogging what seems to be on a part-time job basis, I did not have a hobby that would absorb me too much. I did like writing, and I wrote quite a bit. But there were no deadlines, no “I have to” thinking. I had a pretty flexible and undemanding schedule.

From time to time I would get bored with writing and myself. I would get in the car and drive to the mall in order to fill in the time that I had on my hands. Lately, it is not an issue anymore because I simply don’t have time to even get bored. Between my work, blogging and my family life, I barely have time to a take shower.

Do you know what drives you to spend money (besides your needs)?

45 thoughts on “Do You Know Why You Spend Money?

  1. Michelle

    I definitely can’t window shop either. I usually go clothes shopping just because everything in my closet seems boring and I somehow think a couple pieces of clothing are going to TRANSFORM my life. Ha yeah right.

    Reply
  2. Money Beagle

    I actually hate shopping which I think saves me money. I don’t like malls for the fact that you have to deal with parking, others shoppers, and lines at registers, so I typically don’t go unless I need something or unless my wife plans a family shopping trip. I think just ‘going to the mall’ with no purpose in mind is a surefire way to waste money.

    Reply
    1. Aloysa

      Oh, I avoid those like hell! Because they will make me want to shop and I am a weak person. I would not be able to resist.

      Reply
  3. Dollar D @ The Dollar Disciple

    The thing I probably spend the most money on, outside of my normal bills, is eating out. It all comes down to convenience (and laziness, i must admit). This is something my wife and I are working on this month now that she’s working from home.

    Reply
  4. AverageJoe

    I am a hawk for items I was already going to buy that are on sale. Generally, I’m not attracted to advertising, but the other morning I couldn’t stop watching the Schticky commercial (look it up on YouTube…it’s a hit). That made me laugh so hard that I might just buy one….

    Reply
  5. retirebyforty

    That’s a difficult question for me. We spend some money eating out because we like good food and like to try new things. We’re not really shopping people so it’s not big problem for us. Oh yeah, baby stuffs are so cute. It’s easy to overspend on those things.

    Reply
    1. Aloysa

      Oh, I probably would spend tons on a baby. And if it would be a girl, I would make a shopaholic out of her too! Good thing we don’t have kids! 🙂

      Reply
  6. CultOfMoney

    I really don’t like shopping very much, and only have a tolerance of about 20 minutes in a mall. Most of my clothes are either work clothes (and where I work no one would notice any difference between a designer shirt or one from JC Pennys) or just everyday things (jeans, t-shirt) so I don’t really need anything fancy, and can’t really see the point of buying a $80 t-shirt or $300 jeans. I did use to drool a bit over some fancy electronics in my younger years, but really couldn’t care less for the most part now.

    Reply
    1. Aloysa

      I would still notice a difference between JCP and a designer shirt. But my eyes are well trained. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Tackling Our Debt

    This line cracked me up “I don’t bargain hunt. Now, don’t you shake your head dismissively at me!” I enjoy reading your posts.

    Do you know what drives you to spend money? You know what? I’m really not sure. But spending has just become a habit that I find hard to break. Up until several years ago I had money and never put a lot of thought into what I spent it on, except in the case of huge purchases like a house or a vehicle.

    I don’t buy things to keep up or impress other people either. And while I don’t spend much time shopping for clothes these days, I do enjoy buying things for our home, or spending money on a fun vacation.

    I am not they type of person that will drive all over town looking for the best deal on grocery items. I plan out my grocery trips based on sales in the flyers, but that’s as far as I have gone so far.

    Reply
    1. Aloysa

      Sometimes I wonder if I just enjoy spending as a process. Maybe because I feel empowered by the ability to pay for stuff. I don’t know… I need to think about it more.
      I am glad you are enjoying my posts.

      Reply
  8. Lisa @ Cents To Save

    My two favorite words! Retail Therapy!! But know I have rationalized my retail therapy by shopping at Thrift Stores. Sounds good in theory, right?

    Reply
  9. Money Infant

    I’ve never been a shopper, in fact my wife almost has to drag me to the mall to go shopping. Lately she has given up and just brings things home occasionally when she feels I need new pants or a shirt. The only thing I have a weakness on spending is for food. $80 for a bottle of olive oil, ok. $18/lb for that cheese, sounds cool to me let’s try it. I wouldn’t go $350 for a bottle of wine, but I have spent close to $100 in the past (that was damn good wine too). I will hesitate before agreeing to go out to eat at what I know is an expensive restaurant, but ask me enough times and I will give in eventually. Thank goodness I at least have a fast metabolism 🙂

    Reply
    1. Aloysa

      $80 for a bottle of olive oil? Are you serious? I would not spend so much money on it. But I am known on spending a lot more on a pair of shoes. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Good Cents Savings

    Advertising definitely influences me much more than I wish it did. I will see a new style or trend and if I think it fits in with my personal style I often decide I need to be on the lookout for that item if I can find a good deal. Had I not seen that advertisement (usually in a magazine, email, or on a website) I would have blissfully unaware that I “needed” it.

    Interesting exercise to think through the different motivators – thanks!

    Reply
  11. jefferson

    i don’t necessarily think that what i spend money *on* is really all that impacted by advertising…
    how ever.. there i know that peer pressure can have an effect.

    when *ALL* of my co-workers had an iPad.. i found myself wanting a tablet.. even tho i had never even thought of buying one before.. (i ended up getting a kindle instead)

    but typically, i still research anything before i buy it..
    but the act of buying itself, no matter what it is.. seems to be sort of therapeutic.. like it justifies my hard work or something…

    Reply
    1. Aloysa

      I can relate very well. The act of buying indeed can be very therapeutic. But peer pressure never had any effect on me. At all. Interesting… how different people are affected differently.

      Reply
  12. maria@moneyprinciple

    I hate shopping and there are very few things that can get me to The Mall. Even when my wadrobe needs serious attention, I would rather go to small artesan type shops – large places, with loads of stuff in them overwhelm me and give me panic attacks. But I like buying certain things – like all kind of gadgets – and I used to spend a fortune on coffee. Oh, and stationary – I still love this one.

    Reply
  13. Michelle

    I laughed audibly @ “I don’t believe in Photoshop.” 🙂 My desires to spend are fueled by my low self esteem, I believe. Buying new clothes and shoes (and makeup) makes me feel beautiful and fabulous. I’m in the midst of cleaning out my closet and I’ve come across way too many pieces that have barely, and some that have never, been worn even. This tells me I obviously have purchased clothes that I didn’t need, just to fill whatever was lacking inside me that day.

    Reply
  14. Pingback: Friday's Circle of Friends - March 2 - The Late Edition | Tackling Our Debt

  15. Buck Inspire

    Nice breakdown on what could make someone shop. But if you are not bothered by any of them, and you don’t have time, what makes you shop? Is it because it’s stress relieving or like eating comfort food?

    Reply
  16. Ella

    In my worst spender time I think I ahd a keeping up with the joneses tendncy, but lately it’s been more when I am stressed out. And recently I have not spent anything at all and feel a bit cured 🙂

    Reply
  17. Pingback: The Snobbish Roundup: 3-5-2012

  18. Rachel

    Shopping therapy!!! Thank god I’m picky as all get out and a hard to find size, or I’d be screwed. I just refuse to allow myself into stores or sections of stores if I don’t have the money to spend. Bookstores are almost completely off limits unless I’m planning to read the books I would have purchased in the store. I force myself to stick with the free kindle books on Amazon, and I’ve banned myself from the local Half Price Bookstore. All this since I can’t be trusted to return the library’s books in a timely fashion.

    Reply
  19. Pingback: Financial Carnival for Young Adults – 3rd Edition - 20's Finances | 20's Finances

  20. Pingback: Carnival of Money Pros: Daylight Savings Edition

  21. Pingback: Canadian Finance Carnival #79 – Canadian Finance Blog

  22. Pingback: Welcome To The Carnival Of Retirement

  23. Pingback: Yakezie Carnival: Setting Your Clocks | 20 and Engaged

  24. Pingback: TotallyMoney Blog Carnival # 58 – The Joneses Edition « Skint in the City

  25. Pingback: Now I Know My ABC's - Carnival of Financial Camaraderie

  26. Young Professional Finances

    I used to shop a lot but once I started budgeting, I started thinking about the money I’d be able to save instead of spend. My pitfall is eating out – I love eating at restaurants and trying new food which makes my wallet not so happy. Although I’ve been trying to cook more, when I’m hungry, I tend not to make good financial decisions. This is especially true if I had a hard day – all I want to do is eat out!

    Reply
  27. zoren

    I think its much wiser to think before you go shopping, list everything you need to buy. I always put in my mind that there always another day to come back and budget is important how can you save money if you keep on shopping, unneccessary things need to set aside and buy whats important.Everytime I go shopping thats what I put in mind.

    Reply
  28. The Schticky

    This line cracked me up “I don’t bargain hunt. Now, don’t you shake your head dismissively at me!” I enjoy reading your posts.

    Do you know what drives you to spend money? You know what? I’m really not sure. But spending has just become a habit that I find hard to break. Up until several years ago I had money and never put a lot of thought into what I spent it on, except in the case of huge purchases like a house or a vehicle.

    I don’t buy things to keep up or impress other people either. And while I don’t spend much time shopping for clothes these days, I do enjoy buying things for our home, or spending money on a fun vacation.

    I am not they type of person that will drive all over town looking for the best deal on grocery items. I plan out my grocery trips based on sales in the flyers, but that’s as far as I have gone so far.

    Reply
  29. Pingback: Carnival of Financial Planning - Edition #227

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *