How you spend your money is always a personal decision. That said, it's also important to be able to recognize the signs of emotional spending, both in yourself and others. What is emotional spending, you might be wondering? According to Ryan Howell, PhD at Psychology Today, emotional spending and compulsive shoppers tend to shop in response to their negative emotions and negative sense of self. Of course, depending on our own relationships with money and our own budgets, we are all going to spend differently; as such, the precise boundaries one person has might not work for someone else. It's good to remember, though, that emotional spending can impact people no matter what their socioeconomic status is.
It's also fair to point out that emotional spending is not a sign of immaturity or being irresponsible, but a real compulsion with which a lot of people struggle. Especially when we consider that our consumerist society constantly sends the message that buying stuff leads to happiness, it's no surprise that many of us have begun to internalize that message in our daily lives, whether or not we're aware of it on a deeper level.
Which brings us back to the signs that you might be emotional spending — indications that there's more to your spending habits than just treating yourself every now and again. If they ring a little too true for you, don't panic or blame yourself; instead, consider reaching out a financial consult, a counselor, or even just a trusted friend or family member for support. Team You is there for you if you need it.