Despite our budgets and best intentions, the emotions we experience, people we come across, situations we face and marketing messages we intake inadvertently contribute to our tendency to spend more than we often intend to.

It’s easy to act on our spending triggers and get caught up in perpetual overspending. Before you know it you’ve spent $100’s on hair and make up “must-haves” pushed by beauty guru’s. You breeze right over the warning signs and tuck your budget away into your back pocket.

Here are a few of the most common spending trigger laced lies we tell ourselves and reminders to help you pump your brakes before it’s too late:

Trigger: “I deserve it”

You may feel the need to be valued or appreciated if you often put others before yourself, had a long day at work or you’ve had to deal with a stressful situation.

Response: Unfortunately, Temporary purchases won't give you a permanent solution or solve the underlying issue. Click To Tweet

When you find yourself justifying purchases with the ol’ “I deserve it”, ask yourself honestly “Why do I need this?” Once you’ve identified what you hope to get from shopping, find another activity that reaps the same benefits.

Trigger: “Everyone else has one”

Most people call it “Keeping up with the Joneses” but with social media at our disposal  it can feel like we’re trying to keep up with the Joneses, Smiths, and everyone else that comes across our feed.

Response: At any given moment you can hop on the internet and see others living a lifestyle that differs from yours but the reality is, you’re only viewing a highlight reel of what they choose to put out in the world.

Use the images you see on the internet as inspiration, not an indicator of what’s really going on; the people you follow may be in more debt than they’re perceived to be.

Trigger: “I’ve reached my goals; let’s celebrate!”

It’s essential to recognize your achievements and celebrate them when you’ve reached a milestone or accomplished a goal, but it’s not ok to deter the ultimate win of financial freedom just because you want to reward yourself for all the hard work and effort you’ve put forth.

Response: When you accomplish a goal keep in mind that there will be more wins along the way and celebrating doesn’t have to be over the top or excessive. Wait a week after the win to celebrate, that way you can really celebrate what’s important: the next step in your life.

Trigger: “It’s on sale!”

Clever advertising and marketing messages play on our emotions by implicating that we’ll miss out on a great deal if we pass it up but it’s just that…a way to stir up emotions and convince you that you need their products. It’s not a sale if you can’t afford it.

Response: Cancel subscriptions to deal sites or turn off the notifications you receive so you’re less prone to react to new offers.

And remember:

There are always ways to indulge for less. No one says you have to give up the things you love; be willing and open to finding a way that works for you and your core desires.

Don’t fall victim to marketing messages. You were getting along just fine and you can live without it!

Take a deep breath, go for a 20-minute walk, listen to your favorite music, log-on to your accountability group or call a supportive friend before jumping to react with a shopping spree; it’s a lot cheaper and more effective.

Most importantly,

Acknowledge the factors that trigger spending and how they appear in your life. Click To Tweet


 Commit to change and take a proactive approach to changing your financial behavior.

Tonya and I are so passionate about this topic that we are going to host a conversation about this next week for the very first Talk Money with Tonya Live.


If you have questions, leave them in the comments section below and we’ll be sure to address them on next week’s call.

We look forward to talking to you!




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Created by nationally recognized millennial money expert Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance is a leading financial education and lifestyle blog for millennials who want to become financially free and do more of what they love.