Everyone has made a regrettable purchase at least once in their life, whether it is an impulse buy or deliberately buying something that we think will make us happy, only to be disappointed by reality not meeting expectations. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard of “Girl Math”, a trend on TikTok detailing the spending habits of people (especially girls, thus the name).
While some individuals have coined “Girl Math” as simply a justification of how one spends their money, others have criticised it as a glorification for overspending. Money has always been a sensitive topic, and while we need it to survive, it can also become a crutch when used as an easy way of solving problems or filling an emotional need, ultimately leading to one’s spending getting out of control.
As such, let’s explore the potential driving factors behind overspending and how it can negatively impact one’s mental health and well-being.
Financial Stressors Behind Overspending
Overspending can be driven by various financial stressors and emotional triggers. Understanding these stressors is crucial in addressing the root causes of overspending and developing healthier financial habits.
1. Peer pressure
Social pressure and the desire to keep up with friends and colleagues can lead to overspending. Whether it’s dining at expensive restaurants, buying trendy clothing, or taking lavish vacations, the need to fit in and maintain a certain image in real-life and on social media can be a significant stressor.
The fear of missing out on opportunities or experiences can also drive overspending. Individuals may feel compelled to attend events, travel, or buy products simply to avoid missing out, even if they can’t afford it.
2. Consumer culture
The culture of consumerism perpetuates the idea that buying more products and services leads to happiness and fulfillment. This constant message can create a mindset that drives people to overspend in pursuit of happiness.
3. Keeping up with lifestyle inflation
As income increases, some individuals may inflate their lifestyle by buying more expensive items and engaging in costly activities. This constant upgrading of one’s lifestyle can lead to overspending to maintain a particular standard of living.
4. Lack of financial literacy
Insufficient knowledge about personal finance can lead to poor money management. When individuals don’t understand budgeting, saving, and investing, they are more likely to make financial decisions that lead to overspending. Unfortunately, according to the S&P Global Financial Literacy Survey, only 59% of Singaporeans are considered financially literate, which is a worrying sign.
Impact of Overspending on Mental Health
Money plays a significant role in our lives. It affects not just our financial stability but also our mental health and overall well-being. Overspending, in particular, which is a pattern of excessive expenditure beyond one’s means, can lead to a cascade of adverse effects on mental health and well-being.
Overspending often results in financial stress and anxiety. Constantly worrying about bills, debt, and the ability to cover everyday expenses can take a toll on your mental health. The fear of not having enough money to meet your financial obligations can lead to persistent anxiety, which, in turn, can affect your sleep, appetite, and overall mood.
2. Reduced self-esteem
Overspending can harm your self-esteem and self-worth. The inability to control your spending and manage your finances can leave you feeling like you lack discipline and self-control, undermining your confidence and affecting your self-image and self-worth.
3. Strained relationships
Financial issues, including overspending, can place a strain on relationships, whether with a partner, family members, or friends. Arguments about money are among the most common causes of conflicts in relationships. These tensions can damage your emotional well-being and negatively impact your social life.
4. Reduced financial freedom and goals
One’s financial situation is closely tied to their overall sense of freedom. Overspending can lead to financial restrictions, making it difficult to pursue personal goals, leisure activities, or career changes. This loss of financial freedom can lead to a sense of frustration and unhappiness, and derail your financial goals and aspirations in the long run. Whether it’s saving for a house, a dream vacation, or early retirement, excessive spending can make these goals seem unattainable.
“Girl math”, or the psychology of overspending, reflects the complex interplay of emotions, societal pressures, and financial stressors that individuals, regardless of gender, may experience. The act of overspending is not merely a matter of numbers but rather a manifestation of deeper psychological factors.
Recognising and understanding these drivers is the first step toward addressing and curbing impulsive and excessive spending habits, and this is where counselling therapy may be of help. By working with a professional counsellor in Singapore, you can get the necessary help you need to navigate the complex and often emotionally charged terrain of financial challenges.
A Space Between provides the best client-matching service that simplifies finding the right therapist for your needs and preferences. Furthermore, we offer comfortable, private spaces to accommodate your future therapy sessions. To learn more about our services and private and group session therapy room, feel free to contact us at [email protected] or (65) 8233 3832 at any time.
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