How to Overcome a Shopping Addiction
Updated: Feb 20
Just about everyone likes to buy new things and in some cases it can be therapeutic. Even sometimes spending on unnecessary things can be okay. After all, we are all humans. But it is when you succumb to the temptation of impulse shopping and then continue to do so, things can spiral out of control. This behavior often leads to compulsive shopping disorder or simply put, a shopping addiction.
A shopping addiction not only makes it difficult to control your impulse spending but it is also expensive and time-consuming. It is a preoccupation that breaks your bank, robs you of your precious time yet leaves you unsated. In fact, most shopping addicts feel much worse than how they felt before shopping.
And while the obvious challenge of impulsive spending is probably storing all the things you purchased, a more serious issue is that it can pile up your debt in no time.
Here is a handy guide on how to control your impulse spending and have better control over your finances!
Impulsive Vs. Compulsive Shopping
Impulsive spending is not always a shopping addiction, which is also referred as compulsive shopping disorder. So, before you try to overcome either it is a good idea to identify what you are dealing with. Both the terms are often confused and many people use them alternately. But despite looking similar, both vary in cause, frequency, and outcome.
Impulsive shopping is the sudden urge to make an unplanned purchase, which could be anything from your favorite burger on discount to an expensive new car. These purchases are entirely unplanned and you succumb to the urge in the moment.
Compulsive shopping, on the other hand, is planning to shop in order to find relieve from stress, anxiety, or other negative feelings. Think of this as a shopping spree or splurge that is repeated despite its adverse outcomes. Compulsive shoppers are excessive preoccupied with shopping and have a hard time to control impulse spending.
How to Overcome a Shopping Addiction
A shopping addiction is not difficult to identify. Compulsive shopping is usually like missing your shopping fix and the high that comes as a result. If you notice that your day feels strange or out of sorts on days when you don’t shop, it’s time to do something about it. Here are some things you can do to overcome a shopping addiction:
Use Cash Rather Than Credit Cards
Anyone with a fixed income knows how difficult it is to make room for splurges without breaking your budget. A shopping addict, therefore, naturally turns to credit cards as they can be convenient. However, this also means that you are headed toward more debt. So, the best way to avoid credit card debt as a result of impulsive shopping is to use cash for all your purchases. As your cash will be limited each month, so will be your splurges.
Unsubscribe and Block
If pop ups and email marketing is what triggering you to buy impulsively, probably it’s time to unsubscribe and block such sites. Make sure to unsubscribing from all retailer emails and blocking all those online shopping sites that keep giving you pop ups to avoid the urge to spend mindlessly. Similarly, if shopping apps on your phone are a culprit, delete them right away.
Invest in Yourself
The best way to deal with any addiction is to find a healthier alternative. The idea is not to swap one addiction for another, but rather switching from a negative and destructive addiction to a positive and healthy option, or something that is at least of neutral nature.
For this strategy, you first need to determine what you value the most in life. If there is some activity that you can derive pleasure from, it is a good idea to indulge in it instead. This could be anything from hiking, reading to spending time with friends and family.
Delay the Impulse to Spend
Often people with a fixed income to spend wait for the paycheck to satisfy their shopping addiction. This also often leave them with an empty wallet even before the month ends. A good way to turn this into an effective strategy to control your impulse spending is to delay the purchase.
What you need to do is shop with an empty wallet and look around to find exactly what you need. You can then ask the seller to hold the item for a week or until the time of your paycheck. Now take this time as an opportunity to ponder if you really need this item and if you can afford to buy it. Chances are in a week, you will realize that the item is not worth spending so much amount.
Keep Track of Your Money
Have you ever thought about how much you spend on splurges every month? Most shopping addicts have a hard time keeping track of their spending. Therefore, they also tend to lose track of how much they are buying impulsively.
So, a good way to overcome your shopping addition is to start keeping track of every single dollar you spend. This strategy will give you a clear picture of your spending habits and patterns and how you can keep them in check. Doctor Money is also a great tool to help you overcoming your overspending.
When it comes to overcoming a shopping addiction, often it is easier said than done. In fact, for some people it is hard to deal with this problem alone. Therefore, it is important to realize that there is no shame in asking for help if you are struggling to curb your shopping addiction. Talk to a friend, family member, or even a professional about your problem and get their advice.
A shopping addiction is perhaps the only kind of addiction that is socially acceptable. In fact, it is also encouraged a great deal. Over-spenders usually have a confused money blueprint that makes impulse spending give them a misplaced feeling of joy and accomplishment. Consequently, they usually find themselves broke as they are unable to overcome their shopping addiction.
Luckily, with a few simple steps you can slowly and steadily control your impulse spending and shopping addiction. It also goes without saying that you should never hesitate to ask for help from family or friends. Having someone for accountability and to keep you on track can go a long way in overcoming a shopping addiction.
If you are planning to overcome shopping addiction on your own, a smart tool, like the Doctor Money app could be of great help. Download the app to have a better control over your spending and expenses and to boost your recovery!