Spending Hangover: What it Is and How to Powerfully Bounce Back
Do you want to know what’s worse than an actual hangover (okay, maybe that can be debated) – a spending hangover. We’ve all done it before – gone a little overboard with spending. Maybe we were in a mood or it was too good of a deal to pass up. It often happens around the Holidays – the feeling where you know you’ve spent too much and kind of get sick thinking about it. Don’t fret – we can fix this! Let’s go through how to acknowledge a spending hangover and how you can bounce back from it better than ever!
Related Post: Crushing Your Debt: Why Sooner is Better than Later
What is a Spending Hangover
A spending hangover is exactly what it sounds like. Replace alcohol with spending and you have – ta da! – a spending hangover. It’s when we spend way too much – whether it’s on a legitimate night out, accumulated over a short period of time or a quick and dirty purchase that leaves us starstruck, drained and with an empty wallet.
Much like a real hangover, a spending hangover can leave us fatigued, drained and full of regret (cue the nausea if you’re like me and get super stressed super quickly). It’s essentially the feeling that sets in after we’ve spent a bit too much when we know we shouldn’t have.
Why Does it Happen?
Sometimes, it depends on the time of year – the Holidays can do quite a number on us from all angles. We don’t plan accordingly or we find the perfect git that is always just a little bit more than we planned to spend. The hype of the Holidays coupled with the plethora of deals, flashy sales, and increased advertisement can cause us to literally be surrounded by the feeling of needing to spend.
Sometimes, it’s simply a lapse in judgement or triggered by emotions. There are several studies conducted that show a clear correlation between sadness and spending – we spend because we want to feel better (and it works, in the moment).
Regardless of why it happens, it doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of managing money, good at managing money, or any less equipped to get your finances in order.
How to Bounce Back from a Spending Hangover
Now that we’re on the same page of what a spending hangover is and why it happens (sorry for taking you on a trip down memory lane), I’m going to show you how to bounce back. Having overspent doesn’t mean you can’t come back from it or it will completely ruin your financial goals! Normalize slipping up, and getting back on track!
1. Acknowledge it Happened
Denial is no place to live in if you want to move forward in life. Acknowledging that you hit a little snag in the plan is key! Be neutral, acknowledge you overspent, and dedicate your energy and mindset towards moving on from the setback!
2. Look at Your Finances
Like ripping off a band-aid, unfortunately. You have to take a look at your finances (your bills, your accounts, the savings you pulled from) and see where the damage is. While this part is not the most fun, it allows you to see how much you spent, where you spent it from and where ther repairs need to be made. Finding these areas allows you to see the holes/weak spots in the budget, and how you need to adjust those areas in the future.
REMINDER: It’s important to adjust your budget monthly. Not every month is going to look the same (different seasons call for different needs). Whether it has to do with fluctuating income or seasonal interests, it’s likely your spending categories will fluctuate. Pay attention to these self trends and use them to your advantage when planning ahead (ex. I eat out way more during patio season, therefore I need to make adjustments to my budget categories during patio season!)
3. Let it Go
It’s easy to beat yourself up, but it won’t do you any good in the long run. Acknowledge that it happened and let yourself off the hook. It happens to the best of us and you’re showing up to make sure it doesn’t happen again (and that counts for a lot more than you think).
4. Adjust the Budget
This month’s budget will likely be a little tighter, as you’ll need to make up for the overspending that just occurred. Look at the areas you can trim down for the time being to allow you to allocate that extra cash elsewhere. It’s likely you’ll have to cut back on entertainment type things – ie. eating out, spending money for clothes and fun items. Remind yourself it’s only temporary and that you’ll feel better about spending in these categories again when you’re financially situated to do so.
TIP: don’t create a budget so strict it allows for zero fun – you’re more likely to lapse back into overspending again. Trim as much as you can without making your life completely devoid of fun, with the focus on being paying back what you overspent.
Good Read: How to Make a Budget in 6 Easy Steps
5. Identify What Caused it
Understanding what caused the overspending can be the key to preventing it again. When you understand why you overspent, you can either make adjustments to your budget where needed, or recognize that you like to spend when you’re upset and find a way to stop that from happening! Read: Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Splurge
6. Double Up
When you trim the budget, try to double up on your debt repayment/putting back the money you took from your savings. Allowing yourself to double up where you can will help you tackle the loss that much faster, and get you back to your regular financial goals in no time!
7. Stick to the Budget
This is so important – now that you’ve created your new budget it’s important to stick to it. A plan is great, but it doesn’t make any difference if you don’t decide to implement it!
Using the information and insights you gathered by doing number 2 and 5, you’ll be able to see the weak areas of the budget/plan. When you troubleshoot, you’re going to making adjustments to those areas to prevent it from happening again!
Bump up your savings and emergency fund! Giving yourself a thicker cushion to land on if you fall is one of the best ways you can prevent a spending hangover from occurring again – because you’ll be prepared! Bonus if you can start setting aside a little bit more in the months coming up before the Holidays so that you’re extra prepared.
A spending hangover is the feeling of fatigue, regret and being drained after a long spending bender or a string of impulse buying. Similar to a real hangover, it can leave us feeling defeated and down. Sometimes they occur because of the holidays, and sometimes simply because we’re upset or can’t turn down a sale. When bouncing back from a spending hangover, it’s important to acknowledge that it happened, but go easy on yourself. Hunkering down on the budget, doing double time on payments and adjusting your spending categories is key to preventing it from happening again!