Bored? Sad? Happy? Stressed?

Have your emotions ever left you reaching for the plastic?

Work out your own Buying Mood Index to see if,
when and why you're likely to overspend

Does your mood affect the way you spend? A scientific study by MoneySuperMarket and MindLab reveals you’re not alone, with stress, sadness and boredom triggering spending splurges to varying degrees.

MoneySuperMarket has launched its Buying Mood Index to help work out just what kind of spender you are.

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What type of spender are you?

Celebrationist Spender

Are you more likely to open your wallet when you’re cheerful than in another mood? If so you’re a ‘celebrationist spender’ – one of the people who overspend when they’re in high spirits

  • You’re likely to go shopping, or spend your hard-earned cash, to reward yourself on a good day
  • Celebrationist Spenders are most likely to spend on going to a restaurant – a sure sign of celebrationist spending – or by treating yourself to a glass of wine

Stressed Splurger

Do you find yourself parting with money after a particularly demanding day at work, or when you’re feeling frazzled? It’s likely you’re a Stressed Splurger – spending impulsively when you’re in a heightened state of stress

  • When in this mood, you’re much more likely to overspend on food treats to lift your spirits
  • Female Stressed Splurgers are likely to splash out on beauty products, while men will book an impulsive trip away

Sad Spender

Are you someone who turns to the plastic when you’re down in the dumps? Then you’re a sad spender – turning to impulse buys and overspending when you’re feeling blue

  • You’re likely to splash your cash on ‘treat food’ to cheer yourself up, also turning to clothes – and beauty products for women – as a mood-lifter
  • When in low spirits you’re also more impulsive when buying day-to-day items such as insurance, or booking trips away

Bored Buyer

Tempted to browse online or hit the high-street when you’re bored? If you find yourself doing this regularly, you’re a classic Bored Buyer

  • You’re maybe a little bit reckless when spending your hard-earned cash, showing much more impulsive traits than other types of spender and making snap decisions about what to put in your basket
  • As well as clothes and food treats, as a Bored Buyer you turn to books and expensive tech items in a bid to entertain yourself

The link between stress and physical health is well documented, but what hasn't been appreciated until now is the connection between emotional wellbeing and consumer behaviour – and the role this plays in our lives.

To look into this further, MoneySuperMarket partnered with consumer behavior experts MindLab to explore the psychology of spending. The month-long study combined state-of-the-art "choice architecture" techniques with interviews and quantitative data to assess the spending attitudes of 2,500 Britons, producing the first ever Buying Mood Index which mapped patterns of behavior to an individual’s state of mind

By looking at the spending habits of hundreds of Brits, we found that stress was the most  expensive emotion, revealing that stressed shoppers routinely spend up to 15 per cent more than those who are happy. The most popular items for stressed spenders to splurge on were snack food, new clothing and takeaways.

The experiment found that some people are inherently more prone to emotional overspending than others. Participants in the trial were scored between 18.5 – 40 depending on their level of overspending. Participants who scored between between 18.5 - 24.9 fell into a ‘healthy range’, meaning their shopping habits aren’t affected by their mood.

Those scoring 25 - 29.9 were defined as ‘mild emotional spenders’, meaning their mood sometimes affects their spending, with those in the 30 - 39.9 range likely to spend more when feeling emotional. Anyone scoring over 40 was considered a ‘severe emotional spender’ and prone to serial buying behaviour when in a heightened state of emotion