Spending Triggers that Hurt Your Bank Account

We’ve all been there – you’re at the store looking for a few things and before you know it you’ve spent way more than you planned on. Occasional splurges happen to us all, but when overspending has become the new norm, your bank account can suffer. Constant overspending can lead to sky-high debt, a dwindled savings account, and being late on bills. The CGS Team is sharing a few common spending triggers that can lead you to overspend and hurt your bank account in the process.  Being able to fix these spending triggers is much more doable when you know what those triggers are!

Trigger #1: Stress

According to Cullen Hardy, founder of The Hardy Group, “human beings hate feeling stressed and love quick relief,” he said. “Spending can give that feeling of quick relief.” Stress can lead us to overspend to help get control of our emotions and feel like we’re in charge. Your best bet? Find a productive avenue for relieving stress. Check out the article 4 Ways to Reduce Stress for some ideas.

Trigger #2: Social Norms

In this day and age, it’s so easy for people to access the inside look at celebrities, millionaires, and people with a lot of “things”.  Not only does this access spur envy, it can influence people to spend outside of their means.  Ask yourself if the item you’re buying is for you, or simply to impress others.

Trigger #3: A Bad Break-up

Most women can relate to this one. A bad break-up or a huge fight with a close friend can send women to the mall, to the salon, or to the ice cream aisle.  Similar to stress, the emotion one feels after a break-up or emotional event can cause them to spend money they weren’t intending to.  Take control of your emotions and check out the blog share How Can I Curb Emotional Shopping.

Trigger #4: Available Credit

There’s a certain sense of false security that comes with having available credit limits on your credit cards. In fact, a study by two MIT professors found that customers are willing to pay more for the same item when using credit rather than cash. The reason is likely because they don’t feel the pain of parting with cash, according to MSN Money. The same feeling can happen with your debit card (although not on such a large scale). Do yourself a favor and give yourself cash for any non-necessary spending. Cash serves as your visual limit, and makes you think twice about a purchase.

Trigger #5: Retailer Tactics

Have you been keeping your spending in check, only to open your email to a message from your favorite retailer saying there’s a major sale happening? You fight the urge to look, but give in. The prices are so enticing and before you know it, you’ve spent a month’s worth of saving. Retailers know exactly what they’re doing. Read 5 Ways Stores Encourage You to Overspend if you don’t believe us! Email headlines are designed to catch your attention!

In addition to email hacks, retailers have a few other tricks up their sleeves. They use bright colors and loud images to catch your attention, and they use words like “expires soon” or “sale ends tonight” to make you act fast and not think through your spending.  Create a folder in your inbox and create a rule to send those retailer temptation messages there. Out of sight, out of mind!


Understanding what causes you to spend more money that you intend to can help you avoid those situations all together, or find alternatives to dealing with those emotions! Have you identified a few of your spending triggers? How do you fight the urge to stay strong and keep your credit card away? We want to know what works for you, so post a reply comment below to share!

-The CGS Team



3 thoughts on “Spending Triggers that Hurt Your Bank Account”

  1. My biggest spending trigger is being in the bookstore, or seeing a new release come out from an author I love. I’ve gotten much better at adding books to my wish list and letting them sit instead of impulse-buying them as soon as I see them (although that means my wish list now has like 300 books on it – yikes).

    I have definitely found that I am tempted to spend money on things that I *want* to have time for (like reading more) as a stand-in for actually *making* the time for them. By telling myself I can’t buy any books until I’ve read at least 3 that I already have, and going to the library for new books instead of buying them immediately, I’m able to get through more of my reading and do a lot less damage to my wallet!

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