What are YOUR Overspending Triggers?

Overspending can happen quickly when you least expect it. There may be some concealed triggers that are pulling you this way and that, with the end result that your behaviour jumps the fence to overspending.

Resisting the pull of these triggers can be simple and is often accomplished with a few smart strategies. But first and foremost, you need to identify your own personal overspending triggers.

Get to know yours!

Your Possible Overspending Trigger #1 – Emotions

Everyone can get carried away by their emotions, and, as social stereotypes may tell us, especially to women. Emotions such as feeling blue, being angry, bored or frustrated are those that may specifically trigger overspending.

The amygdala part of the brain is the emotional control centre that overrides the prefrontal cortex (the sector that deals with logic and reality) when you’re shopping. In addition, it’s a natural human tendency to try to compensate for experiencing feelings that a person knows she doesn’t deserve to feel.

To prevent emotional overspending, take some concrete measures to ensure that you don’t indulge in anything lavish. Circumvent your perception of happiness that’s derived from materialism to start thinking about your happiness derived from spending time with loved ones. Focus on them and discuss your problems or, in fact, any of your feelings with them.

If you can’t get your mind off online shopping, divert your attention to recreational activities and favourite hobbies like yoga, painting and other things. All of your triggering emotions can easily be brought under control with music and relaxation.

Listen to your favourite types of songs or indulge in a warm relaxing bath accompanied by scented candles.

Your Possible Overspending Trigger #2 – Influential People

The influence of those you spend the most time with can trigger overspending. This is because people often fall victim to peer pressure (even when it’s not intentional pressure). If one hangs out with a rich, spoilt friend who haplessly throws money around, it’s a natural reaction that one might do the same thing just to fit in.

At some point, one may even feel a strong constant urge to replicate that friend’s life. To avoid succumbing to this trigger, keep your distance from this kind of people. If you have to socialise with them, remember who you truly are.

Set up a budget beforehand so that you won’t overspend in the heat of the moment just to save yourself from being embarrassed.

Here’s a proven technique you can fall back on if you’re worried about embarrassing yourself. If you’re out at a restaurant, tell your friends that you’re saving up for a new house, so you’ve decided to just stick to an inexpensive meal from the menu.

Another potentially problematic situation is when loved ones in financial strife seek one’s financial help. In such a case, it would be impossible to say no.

Do help that loved one out, but make sure that you’re not being taken advantage of. If you’re allowing that person to depend on you fully, you’re not helpful, are you? Be a helper, not a crutch!

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Your Possible Overspending Trigger #3 – Special Situations

A change of location, situation or atmosphere can trigger overspending. Birthdays, weddings and other joyous festivities can cause people to get overenthusiastic when buying presents.

This might sound mean, but the harsh truth is that one must think about being fair towards oneself before being generous. A reasonable suggestion is to spend the amount of money on a gift that you know would be spent on you by that individual in a reciprocal situation.

Alternatively, you can call on your creativity to recreate or refurbish something meaningful yet inexpensive. For example, you may want to refinish your best friend’s grandma’s antique rocking chair.

When you go on holiday to a new exotic location, it’s very natural to feel a strong urge to indulge all sorts of your extravagant desires. Darkening the situation, even more, is the presence of high-priced gift shops.

Similarly, after buying a new house, one feels pulled to decorate it with luxurious new items. Of course, nothing tops the excuse of wanting to appear at one’s very best for a job interview.

Other triggers might be winning a huge sum of money (for example, in a  lottery), obtaining an employment bonus/grant, getting a tax refund or inheriting a sum of money. All these triggers can be successfully tackled by determining a budget that allocates a certain extra amount of money to be spent on splurges.

These extras can be adjusted at any time to be included in a later month’s budget. This can be the perfect way to enjoy spending a little extra money without overspending.

Your Possible Overspending Trigger #4 – Persuasive Media

A persuasive media environment can trigger overspending quite effectively, thanks to creative television commercials, huge seasonal sales, contests and enticing deals. In these cases, you would be a fool not to take advantage of these perks.

However, you must indulge only in products that will be beneficial to you regarding price and value. There’s no point purchasing something at a good deal which will only gather dust at the back of your closet.

Therefore, you must ask yourself before you buy whether you can do without this product if it were being sold at its original price. Once again, you are allowed to indulge a little when it comes to shopping deals, but you must abide by a sensible budget.

Don’t end up spending excessively on something that will quickly become worthless to you.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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