Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Career > Money

Are You Doom Spending? Here’s What It Is & How To Stop

If you’re a Gen Zer, odds are, you’ve heard of the term “doom scrolling” — aka, scrolling on your phone for an infinite amount of time to mindlessly consume media and avoid paying attention to stressors in your real life. What you may not have heard of, but what is equally concerning, is a new phenomenon called “doom spending,” when, in another effort to avoid all of the stressful or upsetting things happening in the world, you frivolously or impulsively spend money as a distraction. Doom spending can be harmful to you and your bank account, and you may be doing it without even realizing.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to feel hopeless these days; there seems to be a new global crisis every minute, it’s a U.S. election year, and many college students and recent grads are starting to feel the impacts of issues like climate change and housing crises in real time. Add in the stressors we all face in our personal lives, like paying bills, dealing with car troubles, or going through friendship and relationship issues, and it’s easy to feel like everything is terrible all of the time.

Enter: doom spending. It’s not necessarily a new phenomenon, but it is one that has only recently been given a name. 

What Is Doom Spending?

Whether it’s splurging on concert tickets, snagging the latest Apple products, or curating a new wardrobe with hours of online shopping, doom spending is becoming more common among young people. If this phenomenon describes you, you’re not alone: According to a 2023 study by Credit Karma, 43% of Millennials and 35% of Gen Zers engage in doom spending. It seems like young people are searching for that sweet hit of dopamine that hitting “Purchase” gives them, in a world where few things make them happy. Unfortunately, that feeling doesn’t last long, and it can actually lead to bigger problems in the long run.

Doom spending can put you in debt, which can have dangerous results as you begin your adult life. In a 2022 report from the Financial Health Network, 44% of women shared that debt has led them to delay major life milestones like getting married, owning a home, and having children. 34% of men responded the same way. Spending money frivolously may seem like a good way to make yourself happier in the moment, but down the line, being financially irresponsible can lead to less long-term happiness.

How To Stop Doom Spending

If you’ve recognized that you might be doom spending, the good news is, there are solutions for how to stop.

Creating a budget — and sticking to it — is one of the most beneficial ways to stop doom spending. Budgeting is a useful skill no matter your age, career, or financial situation. There are plenty of apps and online resources that can help you create a budget that works for your lifestyle. Having a set plan for spending money can make it harder to spend frivolously.

Another useful tip to stop doom spending is to set boundaries with your phone or computer. One of the reasons why doom spending rates are much higher in young people is their easy access to the internet. With the push of a button, you can have a full online shopping cart — and an empty bank account. Delete apps where you know you’ll be tempted to make unnecessary purchases, and unfollow social media accounts that make you want to spend too much money.

You can also try out different activities when you feel the urge to spend. Swapping out doom spending with helpful coping mechanisms like journaling, focusing on school, reaching out to a friend, or going for a walk can help you feel better mentally — and your credit statement will thank you, too.

Jordyn Stapleton has been a National Lifestyle Writer for Her Campus since February 2023. She covers a variety of topics in her articles, but is most passionate about writing about mental health and social justice issues. Jordyn graduated from CU Boulder in December 2022 with Bachelor’s degrees in music and psychology with a minor in gender studies and a certificate in public health. Jordyn was involved in Her Campus during college, serving as an Editorial Assistant and later Editor-in-Chief for the CU Boulder chapter. She has also worked as a freelance stringer for the Associated Press. Jordyn is currently taking a gap year and working at a local business in Boulder, with hopes of attending graduate school in fall 2024. Jordyn enjoys reading, bullet journalling, and listening to (preferably Taylor Swift) music in her free time. If she isn’t brainstorming her next article, you can usually find her exploring coffee shops or hiking trails around Boulder with her friends.