How spending habits can mirror emotional eating habits
If you follow my Instagram account, you’ll no doubt have heard me talking about how our relationship with money can often be looked at (and analysed) in a similar way to our relationship with food. If you’ve never had a bumpy relationship with food, then skip over this article, but if you’re one of the millions of women who haven’t found it all smooth sailing when it comes to food, this might just help you identify your issues with money.
The diet industry is problematic as it promotes an unhealthy relationship with food. And there's a financial community who promote a similar, negative approach when it comes to spending money.
The approach that I'm referring to is the idea that you should severely restrict (insert type of food, spending money or other) for a certain amount of time to achieve a specific goal (insert target weight / amount of savings or debt repaid).
These messages are problematic in many ways, but primarily for one reason: they aren't promoting sustainable, long term behaviours. They're looking for quick fixes.
What usually happens after a period of restriction? We go wild. If you’ve ever done Dry January, you’ll probably remember the waning enthusiasm towards the end of the month and the meticulous planning of your blow out session as soon as you get back on the drinks, where you most likely drank far more than you’d ever usually drink on a night out.
The same thing happens when most people try to stop spending money altogether (which is precisely why I don’t advocate for ‘no spend’). Of course, there are extremely frugal people who love the challenge of spending as little as possible, but if you’re reading this page then that probably isn’t you. Spending no money isn’t sustainable, it doesn’t encourage you to develop good financial habits and frankly, it's quite miserable.
You weren’t put on earth to spend as little money as possible.
The goal when tackling both emotional eating and spending is the same: finding a place where you can strike a balance for the long term. Ultimately, the best way to achieve your financial goals and your health goals is consistency and sustainability. Living life on a rollercoaster of splurge and save might get you one step forward, but the reality is that if you don’t tackle your mindset when it comes to spending, you’ll struggle to escape the cycle and build healthy, long term habits.