The 3 Emotions Americans Blame Most for Their Overspending

Photo by Kaspars Grinvalds / Shutterstock.com

Try not to let this news stress you out, lest you rack up credit card debt.

Sixty-four percent of Americans have credit card debt or had it in the past, and about half of Americans — 49 percent — say their emotions have caused them to spend more than they can reasonably afford, according to a new NerdWallet survey of more than 2,000 adults.

This is more likely to be true of younger Americans. The survey, conducted by Harris Poll, found that 67 percent of millennials say emotions have caused them to overspend, compared with 29 percent of people age 65 and older.

So which emotions are most to blame? According to the folks who say emotions cause them to overspend, the following are most likely to prompt overspending:

  1. Stress (cited by 29 percent)
  2. Excitement (22 percent)
  3. Sadness (13 percent)

Women are more likely than men to blame stress, however, while men are more likely to blame excitement.

NerdWallet’s survey also explored another emotion tied to debt: embarrassment.

It found that while most Americans (86 percent) say there are acceptable reasons for credit card debt, just as many (87 percent) would be embarrassed to go into debt.

By far the most embarrassing reasons for racking up credit card debt are:

  1. Unnecessary purchases you can’t afford (cited by 69 percent of survey respondents)
  2. Nonemergency travel expenses (43 percent)
  3. Cash advances (41 percent)

Sean McQuay, NerdWallet’s credit and banking expert, notes that you can use emotions to your advantage, however:

“Money spent on interest payments is money not saved and money not spent where you wanted. Channel any shame you feel about your debt into paying it off as quickly [and] as reasonably possible.”

For help paying off debt, be sure to check out:

If you need professional help getting out of debt, also check out “Ask Stacy: Where Can I Find Help With Credit Card Debt?

Would you say emotions have caused you to overspend? Let us know which emotion would blame most in a comment below or over on our Facebook page.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
The 3 Biggest Regrets of Retirees — and How to Avoid Them
The 3 Biggest Regrets of Retirees — and How to Avoid Them

Rescuing a retirement from regret starts with these steps well before it’s time to quit working.

30 Purchases That Will Start Saving You Money Immediately
30 Purchases That Will Start Saving You Money Immediately

Sometimes, you’ve got to spend to save. These canny deals are a good bet for savings.

10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself
10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself

Making any of these key foods yourself will improve meals — and your budget.

9 Affordable Products That Could Save Your Life
9 Affordable Products That Could Save Your Life

Some of these products you may already own. Others you’ll want to order from Amazon ASAP.

14 Uses for WD-40 That Save Money, Time or Headaches
14 Uses for WD-40 That Save Money, Time or Headaches

WD-40 is handy in a lot more situations than you likely realize.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?

Two factors determine how much money is coming to you.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on these familiar purchases. Yes, even pregnancy tests.

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

These vaccines may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40%.

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

8 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
8 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

41 Things You Should Never Buy
41 Things You Should Never Buy

Some purchases are just plain dumb. Give yourself — and your budget — a break. Don’t spend money on this stuff.

Is a Second Stimulus Check Still Coming?
Is a Second Stimulus Check Still Coming?

The status of another round of direct payments to taxpayers is a mix of good and bad news.

9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price
9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price

If you’re willing to pay a little more for these products, you may never have to shop for another again.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill
8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill

No matter what price you are paying for internet service, taking these simple steps can lower it.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.