How to avoid stress spending

Do you automatically reach for your debit card at the first sign of stress? Maybe you’ve had a hectic day at work and on the way home end up splurging. Or you’re dealing with some family drama and find yourself buying things you don’t need.

Whatever triggers your stress levels, research shows that we all succumb to emotional spending when we’re feeling fraught. But instead of buying things you don't need in order to feel better, find other ways to deal with emotional spending instead – and save £££s while you do it!

Stick to your budget

We know it sounds boring but sticking to a budget really will make you feel less stressed. And it certainly doesn’t mean avoiding treats, like a tasty takeaway once a month, as long as it’s part of your budget. It’s all about changing your thinking. Rather than saying to yourself “I deserve this” or “this will make me happy” when you see something you want, try and find other activities that make you feel good, such as socialising with friends or spending time outdoors.

Toil and bubble

Taking a long, hot bath is well known to soothe aching muscles, calm your mind and create an atmosphere of relaxation and happiness. Use aromatherapy bath products to help you chill to the max, and make sure you give yourself at least 20 minutes for a proper soak. A bath before bedtime will also raise your body temperature, which helps you to fall asleep more quickly. Add relaxing essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile to promote a feeling of calm and wellbeing, however stressful your day has been.

Phone a friend

It’s better than texting. Actually speaking on the phone or meeting up with close friends will chill you out like nothing else. As well as giving you much-needed emotional support, close friends can help provide healthy distractions from our own concerns, making us laugh and giving good advice.

Relax (don’t do it)

Even if you’re not feeling stressed, taking time out each week to properly relax is essential if you want to stay calm and happy in the long-term. You’re also more likely to take less time off work. According to The Government, in 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work-related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health. So spend time with yourself, whether it’s sitting in the garden reading a favourite book or having a night in watching a film that you’ve wanted to see for ages.

If you find it hard to relax and are always trying to keep busy then doing some exercise first can help. Go for a quick jog or even just a brisk walk and then settle down on the sofa for some much-deserved chill out time.