How to check if you are an emotional spender

Ever wondered why you're always scraping the last of your pennies together a week before payday? For some people, it could be a warning sign that their emotions are playing a big part in controlling their spending habits.
Emotions are playing a big part in controlling our spending habits. Picture: PAEmotions are playing a big part in controlling our spending habits. Picture: PA
Emotions are playing a big part in controlling our spending habits. Picture: PA teamed up with consumer behaviour experts MindLab to delve into the spending attitudes of 2,500 people and map the spending choices they made to their state of mind.

The study suggested that some of us are particularly prone to emotional spending, with some people showing mild traits and others more severe ones, depending on whether we’re feeling bored, stressed or unhappy.

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Pip Heywood, brand director at MoneySuperMarket, says: “Everyone has their reasons for buying that handbag, or booking that weekend away in the country, but they probably don’t realise that a situation three hours earlier, unrelated to the purchase, prompted them to buy it.”

Dr David Lewis, a chartered psychologist at Mindlab, adds that being aware of the triggers that could be setting particular spending habits off is the first step towards taking control. The research found four distinct groups of emotional spender – see if you identify with any of them...

1. Celebrationist spender

Are you more likely to open your wallet when life is on a high? If so, you could be a “celebrationist spender” – one of the people who overspends when they’re feeling good.

You may be likely to go shopping, or spend your hard-earned cash, to reward yourself on a good day. Celebrationist spenders are particularly likely to splash the cash at restaurants and treat themselves to a tipple or two.

2. Stressed splurger

Do you find yourself parting with money after a particularly demanding day at work, or when you’re feeling frazzled? You could be a “stressed splurger” – spending impulsively when you’re in a heightened state of stress. When in this mood, you’re much more likely to overspend on food treats to lift your spirits.

Female stressed splurgers are likely to splash out on beauty products, while men will book an impulsive trip away. Stress was found to have a big impact on bank balances - with stressed shoppers often spending as much as 15 per cent more than those who are happy.

3. Sad spender

Are you someone who turns to the plastic when you’re unhappy? Then you could be a “sad spender” – turning to impulse buys and overspending when you’re feeling blue.

These people are likely to splash the cash on “treat food” to cheer themselves up, or clothes and beauty products to lift their mood. Sad spenders may also be more impulsive when buying day-to-day items.

4. Bored buyer

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Are you tempted to browse online or hit the high street when you’re at a loose end? If you find yourself doing this regularly, you could be a “bored buyer”.

You’re maybe a little bit reckless when spending your hard-earned cash, showing much more impulsive traits than other types of spender and making snap decisions about what to put in your basket. As well as clothes and food treats, bored buyers turn to books and expensive tech items in a bid to entertain themselves.