Christmas Stress Spending

A recent survey by Credit Karma found that 82 percent of those who responded said holiday spending was a source of personal stress. More than half of them shop when they feel stressed, depressed or anxious. And so the term 'stress spending' was born. Find out here if you are caught in the cycle of stress spending.    

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Tis the Season for Stress Spending

13 Dec 2017

Christmas Stress Spending

Are you feeling anything but merry this Christmas season? Has your joyful noise turn into a scream for help?  

When the stress kicks in, do you turn to retail therapy? If so, you are not alone.

A new survey by Credit Karma finds a majority of respondents use their wallets to cope with stress. That impulse buying, however, tends to lead to plenty of regret and even more stress. And the cycle of stress spending begins.

Stress shopping is impulsively shopping to help deal with feelings of anxiety, depression or stress. It can happen anytime of the year, but is generally more pronounced during the holidays, said researchers for Credit Karma.

Generated by Credit Karma, Qualtrics conducted the online survey in October 2017 study from 1,055 consumers.

Those same consumers said their personal finances, jobs, family and emotional issues were stressing them out and sending them to the malls – whether in person or online. In fact, 82 percent reported that holiday spending was a source of personal stress, with 31 percent noting it was ‘very’ stressful or ‘extremely’ stressful. 

“When people feel stressed out, the survey shows that people have purchased clothes, alcohol, cars and even tattoos to help with the stress. What’s more, while people make these purchases to cope, it often leads to more stress, which in turn can lead to more spending,’’ wrote Tim Devaney in an article about the survey.     

It can become a vicious cycle. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can rein in that spending. Here’s how: 

  • Give it 24 hours. It’s no longer impulsive if you have to wait a while to do it. Buying that fourth television may sound great while you’re in the store talking to the helpful sales clerk. But once you get home, you may find that your three others will do just fine.
  • Use cash. Put away the credit cards for a while if you are tempted to stress spend. There is something more tangible about spending with cash, than charging it on your credit card.
  • Recognize your internal and external triggers. What makes you stress spend? Is it the late-night shopping channels because you’re lonely? Is it a way to reward yourself? Find out these answers and you have a better chance of turning off those triggers.
  • Create a goal. Remind yourself that you are saving for a goal. Is it a luxury cruise or your child’s college education? Whatever the big ticket goal is, think about how much closer you will be to that goal when you say no to that next purchase.
  • Stick to your budget. Don’t think of ‘budget’ as a dirty word. Your budget tells your money what to do and sets priorities for your money. Let’s face it, someone or something has got to do it.

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