Friday, 28 November 2014

What are your reasons for spending?

Before you head out to the shops today to see what the 'Black Friday' sales have to offer, have a think about your motives for shopping.

Why do people spend?
It's true that the holiday season is just around the corner and many of us will be looking to get gifts for loved ones, but necessity is not the only reason people spend. 

Money is often associated with power and success. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research actually saw participants salivating at the concept of money when they were first primed to feel they lacked power. 

People often believe money will make them more attractive, popular and successful to others. Conversely being in debt and not being able to spend makes people feel powerless and vulnerable. Indeed debt and mental health problems often go hand in hand.

Spending is used by many as a form of therapy - it makes us feel better about ourselves. However this type of spending can become habitual as it feeds our deep psychological needs.

The spending cycle and 'debtpression'
Those who have got into a cycle of spending and debt may struggle to cope with feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. People may feel they have failed and are ashamed to admit the situation to themselves and others. They may ignore letters and bills or even leave them unopened and may continue to spend. Over time this behaviour can lead to strong feelings of guilt and depression, which have been dubbed 'debtpression'.

If you are suffering from debtpression, it is important to seek help to address the underlying reasons for your spending and to break the vicious cycle of spending that you have got into. 

Lack of funds breeds creativity
While this is a very gloomy situation to be in, lack of funds can actually have some surprising benefits. Many businesses have started up during the recession as people have become more creative in finding ways to make money. Debt can make us think about new ways of doing things - it forces our hand. 

Taking action 
Whatever your approach when you are short of funds,  it is important to take action. Doing something about the situation will give you a sense of power over it and help to avoid debtpression. 

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