As someone who struggled for years with impulse spending and shopping addiction, I can tell you, I never would have believed you if you told me shopping was actually taking things away from me. For years I lived by this belief that I was getting more the more I shopped. I mean, yeah, I guess in some sense I was. The reality of it is that the more I focused on what I could buy at the store, and what I could get from shopping, the more I was creating a mentality around lack. In other words, the more I shopped, the more money I spent, the more I felt like I needed more. No matter how much I attempted to fill the void, it seemed like there was always one more thing I needed to make me happy. Now that I’m on the other side of shopping addiction, I want to walk you through why this is and what you can do to come out on the other side.
Reasons we shop
I want you to stop and consider why you shop for a second.
There could be a million different reasons for shopping.
Maybe you like shopping as a way to spend time with a family member or friends. Maybe you shop when you’re bored.
One of the least common reasons for someone to go shopping is often because they actually need something. (Beyond the basics like groceries, of course.)
I am a big believer in the fact that we often go shopping in order to fill up our lives because they feel empty. We hope that our next purchase will fill the void, but in reality, what we are truly seeking cannot be filled with things.
On top of it all, the reasons we tend to officially make a purchase are usually tied to that mindset of lack that always leaves us feeling like we don’t have enough. Read: How to Become a High Maintenance Shopper
“It was on sale!”
A big marketing tactic that stores, both online and in person, will use is false sale pricing. I’m no stranger to that rush of excitement that can course through our veins when we see a yellow or red sales sticker on something.
The sight of recent markdowns was enough to get me to turn my cart down the aisle at Target and not leave until I found something I could shove into my cart.
Why would I go out of my way to insist on buying something that was on sale?
Because ultimately I wanted to believe I was getting a bargain, that I was saving money.
Why do I want to feel like I’m saving money on an item I didn’t really need in the first place?
Because somewhere deep in my subconscious I believed I needed to scrounge and save, and cut back.
I spent years combing clearance sections with this deep seated belief that I wasn’t worth a full price sticker. Of course now I know I was fooling myself the entire time because it’s actually impossible to save money when you are spending money, especially if it’s on an item you don’t need and won’t get the full use out of.
“I got unexpected money!”
Another way to know if you have a major scarcity mindset going on is if you get your hands on some unexpected cash and then immediately feel the need to spend it.
This was something I was in the habit of for years.
Having extra money in my pocket almost made me feel anxious. I couldn’t comfortably just let money sit. Now I understand that this mindset was deeply tied to my belief that I didn’t trust myself with money.
For all of us who spend money as fast as we can, it can be a way of literally pushing money and wealth away energetically even though you may not want to accept that that is in fact what you are doing.
“They were almost out!”
Another very common reason we spend is because we are lead to believe that there in a shortage, or a limited supply of something.
Back when I was a kid it was things like Furbies, beanie babies, and Tickle Me Elmos. In recent years it’s been things like…I don’t know…toilet paper!
Whether we think we’re being reasonable or we let our emotions totally take over, the urge to purchase items because we believe there is a limited supply can be tied all the way back to our caveman days where we felt the need to stock pile our food before winter hit and crops were scarce.
Scarcity shopping will leave you in scarcity
All of these common reasons that we impulse purchase are tied to a feeling of lack and scarcity and the more we leave these feelings unchecked, the more damage they can do to us financially.
One of the first things I teach in my course, Shopping Rehab is how to combat these feelings of scarcity and how you can shift your mindset into a state of abundance.
More stuff doesn’t equal more happy
One of the common misbeliefs that we all live by — at least for a small portion of time in our lives — is that if we just had a little more then we would finally be content. If we just made more money…then we would be happy.
If we could just upgrade our house…then we’d be satisfied.
When we get the job…
When we get the spouse…
After we have the family…
If we could just get one more thing for our living room…
One more piece of kitchen equipment…
A car upgrade…
The right outfit…
There is no end to the things we can convince ourselves will finally be the last piece of our puzzle of contentment.
But, I’ve got news for you, in order to find contentment you have to choose it first. Right now. With whatever it is you currently have and whatever it is you feel like you are currently lacking.
Shift your mindset, then apply the tools
Something that frustrated me for years, even though I couldn’t put my finger on it was this realization that I was being given all the tools to success, and reading all the right books, and yet, I wasn’t able to repeat the success of the people who had been teaching me.
I applied the steps to pay off debt, and yet accumulated more debt afterward.
I read the hacks and tips for being frugal and saving money and still lived with this skin-crawling discomfort around spending.
At the end of the day, we all know the basic concepts around spending less and saving more, right? You just spend less and save more.
It sounds so simple and yet it’s not that simple or everyone and their shopaholic mom would do it, right?
Well, after nearly a decade of intentionally working to improve my life and financial situation, I have come to the realization that the mindset shifts need to happen first. Otherwise, applying all of the steps, all of the how to’s will not work. Read: How to Slow Shopping Impulses and Pay Off Debt with ADHD
This is why the very first thing I teach in Shopping Rehab is mindset and how to understand your deepest feelings of scarcity, where they come from and how to kick them to the curb.
Shifting to abundance
If you are ready to make the shift from living in a state of scarcity and lack to a state of abundance, and kick your shopping addiction for good, check out my eBook and course, Shopping Rehab that is designed to walk you through the process of shifting your mindset and offering practical tools for change.