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Okie Life

Helping fellow Okies navigate financial life.

Detoxing from Doom Scrolling

June 1, 2024

Are you spending more than you should due to fear or uncertainty about the future? This self-soothing habit is called “doom spending.”

Falling into this spiral isn't impossible to escape, but you must take action and learn how to identify and avoid these patterns. By doing so, you can start investing in yourself and turn things around, leaving behind those feelings of doom and embracing a more hopeful financial future.

What is Doom Spending?

You stumble over your words in a meeting or literally stumble over a chair (who put it there?), so, you buy a new pair of shoes and feel a bit better. We used to call this✨retail therapy✨! Why does doom spending sound way less cute?

👵👛Not Your Parent’s Sad Spend

Doom spending is making purchases to avoid uncertainty, fear or other unwanted feelings. This mindset, mixed with online shopping, makes overspending too easy. Sometimes, we need to kick off our shoes, feel the grass under our feet, and take a fresh look at how we're spending our money.

Why Do We Doom Spend?

Multiple studies, like this one published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, show that buying stuff actually makes us feel good, at least for a little while. You aren’t a bad person, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to cheer yourself up with a little treat. The difference comes down to why we're spending in the first place.

Gif of a man wiping his tears with $100 bills.

🤗🧠Buying is a Brain Hug

To understand why we can spend against our best interests, we must separate the idea of buying stuff from the act of paying for it. Swiping that credit card for something can feel pretty great, but when it’s time to pay that card back, it’s not as fun. We end up separating the thrill of getting something new from the bummer of having to fork over the cash for it later.

😎😝Bad Influences/Influencers

Online influencers can mess with your perspective. They seem just like us but have cooler gadgets, cars, and snack budgets. You should aim for the lifestyle you want, but don't let influencers staying humble get you mixed up on how they got there. Self-made influencers will let you know they didn't just get lucky with their money.

😈😨Fear and Doom Scrolling

Doom spending is often initiated by fear for your future, which you can easily be fed by doom scrolling. Many are struggling to break away: a survey by Morning Consult highlighted that 53% of young adults admitted to doom scrolling on the regular. But if no one has told you yet, breaking free from that loop is totally possible. All you need is a solid plan to start moving towards what you really want.

Better Ways to Spend and Save

If you’ve realized some of these habits and tendencies sound familiar to you, just know you’re not alone. But how do you break these spending habits? Here are some tips and tricks to make sure you’re not getting too carried away with those card swipes.

❤️💳Buy for Value, Not Cost

If someone tells you to give budgeting a shot, you might roll your eyes. I mean, we've all been there, tried that. But, honestly, once you figure out a budget that actually fits your lifestyle and needs, it can totally change things up. Budgeting isn’t just about making things easier; it can actually make life more fun and help you live it the way you really want to!

Try these simple tricks and see how much you can save in even just a few weeks!

  • Look at your subscription services and say, “What have you done for me?”🤨
  • Lock your impulse buys down to a separate account and card.🔐
  • Keep it flexible: set a budget for🔻low,👌medium and📈high spending periods.
  • Sit down and plan one big purchase for next year.🤩

🤩🌅Get Pumped About Tomorrow

Now you might think, how would planning a big purchase this year help me avoid doom spending? You know, doom spending usually happens when we're scared about what's coming. So, what if we flip that and get pumped about the future instead? Maybe by looking forward to this exciting big purchase! It'll also give us more motivation to think twice before swiping that credit card.

🤔🤳Who To Trust in Finance?

Please don't take the advice of financial influencers on TikTok and Instagram at face value. While those people probably aren't scammers, they probably aren't invested in your success either! Trusted online resources are a great starting point and are far less likely to try to sell you Hello Fresh or Raycons.

Building Your Best Future Instead

Our worst habits grow from fear and doubt, but we can always succeed by trusting our abilities. Money doesn't grow on trees because it grows out of mindsets.

❤️💸Live, Laugh and Spend Well

Knowing what you want for tomorrow makes everything easier, even on the okay days. And on the tough days? Just keep your eye on what you’re working towards. Mess up? No biggie. Just pick yourself back up. Remember, there is no space for regrets in your plans!

Additional Resources to help you meet your money goals:

Quick Start Budget

Zero-Based Budget Example

Personal Monthly Budget Worksheet

The information and topics features are for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice. All financial situations and circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. Seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, or legal counsel to obtain guidance specific to your needs.