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The Difference Between Self Care and Impulse Spending

Living on a budget can be a challenging experience for many individuals, and it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Debt counselors know this fact, and so does everyone who has ever tried to make ends meet on a tight budget. Those of us with an “all or nothing” mentality can quickly swing from one extreme to another, making it hard to maintain consistency. However, making financial progress doesn’t require depriving yourself of everything you love. It’s possible to achieve a balance between self-care and impulse spending while still working towards financial stability.

Understanding the difference between self care and impulse spending helps prevent credit card debt.

Understanding the difference between self care and impulse spending helps prevent credit card debt.

Learning the difference between self-care and impulse spending is crucial to prevent regret and debt. Self-care is vital to maintaining good mental, physical, and emotional health, and this type of spending is typically budgeted for. Impulse spending, on the other hand, is unplanned, in-the-moment spending on a whim that can quickly lead to debt.

It’s critical to draw a line between self-care and impulse spending. This will ensure that you’re taking care of yourself while remaining financially responsible. Self-care includes activities such as making yourself a nice dinner, getting a bath bomb and relaxing, committing to a healthy lifestyle, planning to purchase an item you really want, using paid time off at work, and taking a “mental health day.” These activities are essential to your overall well-being and should be prioritized in your budget. One way to make sure you’re staying within your budget is to use cash for discretionary spending. Studies have shown that people tend to spend less when they’re using cash instead of credit or debit cards. You can also consider using a prepaid card for your discretionary spending, as this can help you limit your spending to a certain amount each month.

However, it’s crucial to be mindful of when your self-care activities cross over into reckless spending. Impulse spending can lead to debt, and every penny counts when you’re working to get out of it. Impulse spending is usually unplanned, in-the-moment spending on a whim that can be caused by emotional triggers, such as retail therapy or a bad day. Identifying your emotional triggers and working to avoid situations where you’re prone to overspending can help you avoid impulse buys. Waiting a few weeks before making a purchase and working it into your budget can also help you make guilt-free purchases.

In the process of managing debt, it’s essential to avoid an “all or nothing” mentality. While it’s great to work diligently to reduce debt, you shouldn’t go years without doing something nice or fun for yourself. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and it’s crucial to plan for fun events or “treat yo’ self” time in your budget. Leaving a bit of room in your budget for miscellaneous or “at the moment” purchases can also provide flexibility without throwing your budget out of whack.

The real difference between self-care and impulse spending is planning and moderation. Treating yourself occasionally or making unexpected purchases doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. It’s crucial to keep budgeting and stay on the path towards debt relief. With time and practice, you can develop habits that will help you stay on track with your finances and achieve your financial goals.

In conclusion, self-care and impulse spending are two sides of the same coin, and it’s vital to find a balance that works for you to maintain good mental, physical, and emotional health while also being financially responsible.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 



Rae Yen is a marketing coordinator at ACCC. She wants to help others optimize their financial resources and plan accordingly.

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