How to avoid emotional spending

And more of the week's best financial advice

Be careful what you buy!
(Image credit: iStock/sergeyryzhov)

Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial advice, gathered from around the web:

Combating emotional spending

"Retail therapy" might temporarily lift your mood, but it can sink your bank balance, said Erin El Issa at US News. Some 49 percent of Americans say they've spent more than they can afford because they were stressed, sad, or overexcited, according to NerdWallet​.com. To combat emotional spending, try making a "30-day list." Whenever you see something you want, but don't necessarily need, add it to the list. If you still want the item 30 days later and have the money to pay for it, buy it. Removing sources of temptation can also help, so unsubscribe from stores' sales emails. And try to build a buffer into your budget to allow for the occasional spur-of-the-moment buy. "If there's no flexibility in your budget for impulse purchases, you're setting yourself up for failure."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Refinancing an auto loan

"If you didn't get a great rate on your auto loan, it may be time to reassess," said Kelli Grant at CNBC. Many people don't know that it's possible to refinance a car loan, and fewer than 10 percent of car owners have done so, according to used-car marketplace Unlike refinancing a mortgage, consumers can "shop for a secure replacement auto loan in under an hour." It makes sense to refinance if your credit score has improved since the car loan was taken out. Borrowers with fair credit end up paying six times more than those with excellent credit, according to, "adding $6,403 in interest over the life of a $20,000, five-year loan." Be aware that because your car is the collateral, refinancing isn't possible if the vehicle is now worth less than the loan's outstanding balance.

Home upgrades that buyers want

"Homeowners are sometimes hesitant to upgrade when it's time to sell," said Andrea Browne Taylor at Kiplinger. After all, they won't be living in their home for long. But a few strategic renovations can make the difference between multiple bids that drive up the final sale price and no offers at all. Even the most sought-after upgrades don't have to be expensive. Some 92 percent of buyers want a separate laundry room, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Because the utility lines are already there, you can install a laundry room in a basement for as little as $1,000. Eighty-one percent of homebuyers also want added garage storage space. You can add an extra 380-square-foot space for an average of $2,000.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.