If you’ve shopped for anything lately, you’ve likely noticed your paycheck doesn’t go as far as it used to. You’re not imagining things. Items are getting more expensive.

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.4 percent in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last year, the CPI rose 3.5 percent, up from 3.2 percent for the 12 months ended in February.

Shoppers are feeling the pinch. A 2023 Bankrate survey found that 52 percent of U.S. adults say money has caused financial stress. Despite struggling to make ends meet, some consumers are making surprising choices with their money.

One response to rising prices includes what some refer to as “hate spending.” Here’s a look at what that means and how you can protect your hard-earned cash.

What is hate spending?

Hate spending involves spending money out of frustration despite rising prices. Instead of making lifestyle adjustments or looking for ways to spend less, some consumers spend money as if the prices of goods and services haven’t changed. The situation, however, causes anger or a hatred toward having to spend more on items that used to cost less.

This behavior shouldn’t be confused with doom spending, which involves purchasing luxury items in an attempt to cope with economic uncertainty. It’s an expensive way to soothe the pain.

Hate spending, on the other hand, is less retail therapy and more defiance or frustration (sometimes both). For example, if you notice your favorite box of cookies are now $9 when they used to be $6, you might be tempted to buy it anyway instead of hunting the supermarket aisles for something less expensive. You might reason that you deserve it because you work hard.

Business Insider journalist Emily Stewart, who coined the phrase “hate spending,” notes that consumers continue to spend as usual but they’re angry about having to shell out more cash.

Why shoppers are hate spending

Consumers aren’t happy about spending more, but many continue with the purchase anyway. For some, it’s an act of rebellion; for others, it stems from feelings of helplessness.

“Consumers overspend for a few reasons. First, many people don’t track their purchases,” says consumer finance expert Andrea Woroch. “Because many purchases are spread across different credit cards or are set up with buy-now-pay-later services, people end up deep in debt before realizing how much they’ve spent.”

Woroch says shoppers are also feeling stifled. They want their freedom.

“Second, consumers don’t want to feel restricted, especially when they’re working hard to make a paycheck. However, with the cost of everything up, those dollars aren’t going as far. At the same time, people don’t want to give up the purchases they enjoy.”

Vermont resident Alysia Straw is one shopper who doesn’t want to give up her regular purchases. Brand loyalty drives her buying decisions, and she’s not willing to switch to a brand she’s not completely satisfied with.

“I’m loyal to Pepsi Zero and refuse to drink any other brand,” says Straw. “Normally, I purchase a case of 24 cans for $11, which lasts me about a week and a half.”

During a recent supermarket visit Straw was shocked to see the price increase by almost $6. Although she was unhappy with the price hike, she decided to make the $17 purchase anyway.

“I managed to control my temper and refrain from throwing my Visa card across the deli counter,” joked Straw. “Unfortunately, I don’t expect the situation to improve. I anticipate shrinkflation, where the price remains the same, but the product quantity decreases. It’s just a matter of time. This is incredibly frustrating,” she added.

Managing financial grief

Spending more than expected often leads shoppers to enter a state of financial grief. Julie Beckham, associate vice president/financial education development and strategy officer for Rockland Trust, says many consumers are struggling to adapt to changing economic realities.

“We’ve just emerged from a pandemic, and the stages of financial grief are lengthy and varied,” Beckham tells Bankrate. “Some people are in the anger stage. This is the reality now; this is how much things cost. They’re not willing to get to the acceptance stage because they’re still angry. The world is chaotic, and there’s world strife, but we want what we want,” she says.

How to resist the urge to hate spend

It’s tempting to choose the easy route when it comes to financial matters. If you see that your favorite items are more expensive, don’t resign yourself to paying more. Take time to research better prices so you can get the most bang for your buck. Here are some other ways to protect your wealth:

Set and follow a budget

A budget will help you stay on track by showing where your money is going. You’ll keep more cash in your bank account once you develop a spending plan.

“This allows you to figure out just how much you can save or put toward your debt to set more realistic goals that you are more likely to reach,” says Woroch. “This is an important step to paying off debt, building savings and becoming rich.”

Get a handle on impulse purchases

Be mindful of your buying habits. Take note of situations that trigger your tendency to make impulse buys.

“If you can’t resist a sale, turn off push notifications in deal apps and unsubscribe from store newsletters,” adds Woroch. “Instead, look for discounts for items you actually need and use a browser tool like Sidekick from CouponCabin that automatically applies coupons and even cash back to your cart.”

Automate payments

Setting up autopay will make it easier to stay on top of payments and manage feelings of anger.

“If you’ve racked up credit card debt, for example, automating payments might help,” says Beckham. “Paying little chunks every week will assist you with paying it off without thinking about it. Because the more you see the debt the more you’re going to get angry. You might as well set it and forget it and do it in little chunks.”