Follow and listen to our podcast

StashLearn
Get the app
Get the app

Join millions of investors on Stash

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5
Get the app
Life

Zombie Spending: Is Your Money Being Gobbled Up Like It’s on “The Walking Dead”?

October 05, 2018

If you’re mindlessly spending, you could be a victim of ‘zombie spending.’

2 min read

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the zombie apocalypse TV show “The Walking Dead,” it’s that mindless actions—like those taken by the shows dreaded “Walkers” who gobble up fan-favorite characters one by one—are scary. And while you probably don’t need to worry about being eaten up by the undead, you might act like a zombie from time to time.

Especially when it comes to spending.

“Zombie spending” can deplete your account balances, much like the Walkers deplete the ranks of the survivors on the Television series “The Walking Dead.”

What is “zombie spending”?

Zombie spending is something government officials often use to describe wasteful spending on projects or programs that are no longer useful.

But when it comes to personal finance, “zombie spending” is a term recently explained by author Erin Lowry in an episode of Stash’s “Teach Me How to Money” podcast.

Zombie spending refers to a tendency to spend money with little or no thought—the act of buying things as if you were a zombie, according to Lowry. Most people have bought something without putting much thought into it. Here are some examples of zombie spending:

So, the essence of zombie spending is that you’re not really aware that you’re frittering away what’s in your checking account balance by making small, sometimes impulsive purchases.

Conversely, you probably have to give some sort of thought to paying your rent, or buying a car, or doing your weekly grocery shopping—you probably go in with a shopping list. It’s premeditated. And premeditation is the financial equivalent to ramming a lead pipe through a zombie’s brain stem.

In other words, thinking out your purchases is how you defeat your zombie inclinations.

Zombie-proof your finances

To disarm the zombie spender inside you, the most effective weapon is not Daryl Dixon’s crossbow, it’s actually a budget. Of course, simply having a budget doesn’t mean your spending won’t go off the rails from time to time or that you won’t make unplanned or impulsive purchases from time to time. But a budget is a way to get, and hopefully stay, on track with your finances.

Get started: The Easiest Budget You’ll Ever Make

The key to not being a zombie spender is to be mindful of when you’re becoming one, or what outside forces may be triggering you to turn into one. If you’re stressed, for example, you may be inclined to buy something to make yourself feel better—certain types of food, perhaps, or a new item of clothing.

And if you need a last-ditch effort to kill the zombie inside you, you can always try the cash diet, which involves only using cash to make purchases. By ruling out plastic or digital cash, it will force you to physically take money out of your wallet and fork it over to a cashier, giving you a chance to think through whether you really want to make a purchase.

There is one type of zombie behavior that may actually be a positive, financially, and that’s stashing money away in a savings or investment account—you can do that automatically without thinking about it with Auto Stash.  And you can get started with Stash for only $5.

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5

Get the App

By Sam Becker
Sam Becker is Stash's financial writer.

Next for you
7 Money Tips For Broke Millennials, From a Broke Millennial

Investment Profile

Bonds Worldwide

An International Bond ETF on Stash

Learn more
Explore more articlesChoose a topic to learn more about
Technology money lessons social media pop culture market news
Disclaimers

This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, represents an assessment of the market environment as of the date of publication, is subject to change without notice, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice or opinion. Stash assumes no obligation to provide notifications of changes in any factors that could affect the information provided. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice regarding any issuer or security in particular. The strategies discussed are strictly for illustrative and educational purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell, or an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. There is no guarantee that any strategies discussed will be effective.

Furthermore, the information presented does not take into consideration commissions, tax implications, or other transactional costs, which may significantly affect the economic consequences of a given strategy or investment decision. This information is not intended as a recommendation to invest in any particular asset class or strategy or as a promise of future performance. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions or is suitable for all investors. Each investor should evaluate their ability to invest long term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Investors should not substitute these materials for professional services, and should seek advice from an independent advisor before acting on any information presented. Before investing, please carefully consider your willingness to take on risk and your financial ability to afford investment losses when deciding how much individual security exposure to have in your investment portfolio.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. There is a potential for loss as well as gain in investing. Stash does not represent in any manner that the circumstances described herein will result in any particular outcome. While the data and analysis Stash uses from third party sources is believed to be reliable, Stash does not guarantee the accuracy of such information. Nothing in this article should be considered as a solicitation or offer, or recommendation, to buy or sell any particular security or investment product or to engage in any investment strategy. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. Stash does not provide personalized financial planning to investors, such as estate, tax, or retirement planning. Investment advisory services are only provided to investors who become Stash Clients pursuant to a written Advisory Agreement. For more information please visit www.stashinvest.com/disclosures.