often spend money emotionally, rather than rationally. For instance, you may spend when you’re depressed, anxious, bored, from fear of missing out or to please others. “If you can figure out what your emotional triggers are for spending, you’ll be able to better recognize it when it happens,” says Guy Birken. Start a journal and describe the circumstances whenever you spend money on something that isn’t essential or after you’ve made a purchase you regret. “By capturing your emotions and thoughts on paper, you’ll start to recognize a pattern,” says Guy Birken. This heightened self-awareness could help you avoid triggering situations and come up with non-financial coping strategies. Go on a Spending Fast Commit not to spending on anything except essentials for a set period of time. For starters, try a 21-day financial fast. That’s right, put a halt on spending. Make a pact to buy only buy what’s crucial to survival, such as food. No restaurants, no gifts, no clothing or shoe purchases. As you might imagine, a financial fast is tough. Many of us are used to spending freely. A spending fast helps you make a true distinction between needs and wants. You’ll break c3areless spending patterns and learn to make conscious choices with the money you’ve got. Do it for three weeks. That’s the amount of time it takes for new behaviors to sink in and become habits. Put Your Emergency Fund Out of Reach.