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Spending Triggers

Hello Everyone!

COVID and quarantining at home has definitely brought some challenges.   Specifically, I am hearing from clients about the dreaded COVID – 15!!! 

Oh no, what’s that – a new virus?  Not exactly – it’s the

*15 pounds gained during quarantine!, OR the

* 15 hours a day binging TV shows, OR the

* 15 times a parent loses their minds while helping “Johnny” with “common core” math, OR the 

* 15 daily/weekly (online) shopping trips –  OH, the lure of a few clicks and direct delivery!


What are we supposed to do?

Well, habits – both good and bad (unfortunately) – are created largely because we are “triggered”. 

What is a trigger? A trigger is a thought, feeling or reaction (happy, sad, lonely, guilty, upset, anxious) that prompts a behavior.

Let me bring this around to money.   Specifically, a spending trigger is the thought, feeling or reaction that prompts spending money!   For example:

  • I need it – I feel / look good in this item so I need it
  • I can afford it – I just got a raise so now I can afford this – both one time & reoccurring purchases
  • It makes me feel better – I had a tough day, so I bought this item to make me feel better
  • It’s on SALE – I got an email from my favorite shopping site, it was on SALE
  • I deserve it – I bought this new car because I just got a promotion / graduation and I deserve it

Triggers are usually non-planned, non-focused and reoccurring which makes our behavior repeatable!  Now, I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds here so if you need help in this area, call me and let’s talk.  But in the meantime, here are some simple ways to address your spending triggers.


Addressing Spending Triggers

  • Reduce your access to spending – if emails announcing sales are a trigger – delete one email a day/week/month
  • Stop and consider why you want the item – do you need it?
  • Give yourself a 24 hour calming period before hitting “buy”
  • Identify the underlying reasons for spending – are you buying to feel better / release stress?



  • Spending will never heal your feelings
  • Shopping in distress affects your budget, which affects your mood, which can cause more spending – it’s a cycle!
  • If you want to save money consider a savings account – instead of a store receipt
  • There are good habits that you can create to replace the shopping “high”


If you want help with financial spending triggers or anything else with your finances, please give me a call.  I’m happy to help!


Great Basin Financial Services


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