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The Evils of Emotional Spending

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I am gracious that Lazy Man (and yes he is indeed lazy!) clued me into his blogging world and has allowed me to post about some experiences I have with saving for retirement. Basically, I have none. My parents did not teach my sister and I anything regarding saving (my mom actually cleaned my sister's and mine bank accounts when we were kids to pay her lawyer) and we always strapped for cash. Looking back, I know why.

While I was in college, my grandmother pulled me aside and told me she gave my parents $1,000 when I was born to start a nest egg for me. They spent it - all they ever did was spend. All I remember is them fighting over money. They made many mistakes regarding making ends meet. I think the root of it all was this phenomenon I call "emotional spending" - buying something and not thinking of the consequences. They were using your emotions to buy everything. My parents did this all the time. My dad bought a boat and actually has had three that I know of so far. He has to hide it from my mom because part of their divorce agreement was he would sell it. My Mom just spends her money on unnecessary nicknacks and it adds up. She buys a slew of gifts for all these people, their kids, and their pets. She actually borrowed $6,000 from her retirement so 50 of her friends can attend my wedding. She is always trying to keep up with the Joneses. If these Joneses were real friends, they would not care. My mom is always buying gifts for her nieces. I tried to tell her to not give them anymore gifts unless it was Christmas, Easter, or their birthday. Would they die if they didn't get a gift on a random Tuesday?

So to wrap up my first blog post, does anyone have anything to share about emotional spending?

Posted on December 12, 2006.

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7 Responses to “The Evils of Emotional Spending”

  1. Andy says:

    Lazy Man,

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. In order to make the most of our money, we’ve got to remove as much emotion as possible from every decision.

    It’s a shame that people make irrational financial decisions, especially when those people are our loved ones.

    Great post!

  2. I wish I could take credit for the post. This was Energi Gal’s first post about something that’s been on her mind a lot recently.

  3. […] Lazy Man and Money presents The Evils of Emotional Spending posted at Lazy Man and Money. […]

  4. mapgirl says:

    Hi EnergiGal!

    A lot of people use their heart instead of their head to spend money. Read Suze Orman’s 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, and you’ll clue into how much people’s psychological makeup effects their spending. I’m so sorry your folks spent your nest egg, but I trust you won’t do the same to your future kids.

    I despise grandparents who are always buying things for their grandchildren. It’s a horrible thing to do. Random presents occaisionally for people is ok, but usually you can hold that gift till a gift giving holiday and everyone will still be happy. I know I like buying random gifts sometimes, but buying them out of nowhere for no reason will put a strain on a budget pretty fast.

  5. therapydoc says:

    Yeah. Don’t be so hard on your parents. Most of us do the best we can, and when it comes to money, there’s rarely enough. For all you know, it will all come back to you in spades one day (I hope so). But as a parent, and a person who basically realizes what it’s like for the hopelessly middle class, I empathize.

    The other thing is that we in the psych biz aren’t so big on control. You THINK you know what to do to avoid the mistakes of your parents, but it doesn’t always work out the way even you, planned. Good luck.

  6. Mollysbrother says:

    Great new design! Unfortunately, it looks like the right comlumn has dropped to the bottom of the page.

    Other than that I love the new design!

  7. Looks good.

    I used to spend money when I was feeling blue. Now I don’t. Actually, spending money started to make me feel blue.

    Now when I feel blue, I think of ways I can save money. I guess you can say that I have an emotional saving problem.

    Is that weird?

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