I am a self-proclaimed recovering shopaholic. It’s not a fun term or something that sums up the fact that I love shopping. The older (and wiser) that I have gotten, the more I have come to realize that shopping addiction is a very real thing. Tom loves spending nice days walking around the outlet mall by our house and honestly, I fear going there every. single. time. There has been more than once where I run around the store filling my arms with clothes and shoes when I had no intention of purchasing anything. Sound familiar? If so, I have 12 super simple, small steps to help you break your shopping addiction. They have worked for me and I’m confident they can help you as well.
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What is considered a shopping
According to PsychGuides.com there are 7 different types of shopping addicts. I have based my list off of theirs with a few adjustments.
Types of shopping addictions
- Therapy shopaholics – People who shop to mask uncomfortable emotions. AKA “Retail Therapy”
- Clique shoppers – Shoppers who have begun identifying themselves based on their purchases.
- Bargain shoppers – Purchase what they don’t need only because it’s on sale.
- Collectors – Need to collect everything whether it be an entire kitchen set, outfit or collectable.
- Impulsives – Buy whatever they see that makes them smile whether they have a use for it or not.
- Givers – Want to gift their family and friends things so much that they dig themselves deep into credit card debt.
Signs you might have a shopping addiction
- Owning multiple credit cards
- Spending more money than you have
- Excessive consumer debt
- Buyer’s Remorse
- Emotional shopping
- Experiencing shopping euphoria
- Planning your next purchase – even if you’re broke
Getting help for a shopping addiction
The truth is, there isn’t much help out there for people with a shopping addiction. This is largely due to the fact that in our influencer-centered society, shopping is seen as “trendy.”
One of the only resources available online is Shopping Rehab.
Shopping Rehab is a course that helps you better understand why you over-spend so that you can create balance between spending and saving.
Not only does it walk you through the mindset shifts and budget strategies, but Shopping Rehab also takes you through the process of paying off debt and improving damaged credit due to credit cards. Learn more about Shopping Rehab.
Shopping addiction is the “trendy addiction”
Shopping addiction has is like any other kind of addiction. It’s something you struggle to control that negatively impacts your life.
Shopping addictions can be a part of, or lead to, major hoarding issues or serious financial struggles.
Unfortunately, similar to alcohol being glamorized, shopping addiction is something that is marketed (especially to women) as something, fun, silly, and that everyone is doing.
What no one is really talking about is the fact that constantly struggling financially, suffering from post-purchase guilt, and mounting credit card debt are not as fun as the shopping part itself.
If you are someone who is totally exhausted from trying to find happiness through your next purchase, check out Shopping Rehab as a go-to source to help you kick the habit for good.
12 steps to breaking a shopping addiction
Just like any addiction, there are always steps you can take to fight back against shopping addiction.
Knowing that kicking your shopping addiction is going to be an uphill battle can often be paralyzing to people. Just like any other addiction, a shopping addiction can leave you with a mess you need to clean up. This could be an actual clutter mess, excessive credit card debt, or most likely, both.
So let’s talk practical steps to breaking a shopping addiction.
Other reads you’ll love:
- How to Create a Minimalist Wardrobe Year Round
- How to Be a Minimalist When You Still Like Having Stuff
- The Minimalist Diet
- Renting Equipment: The Latest Minimalist Trend and How You Can Get Started
Shopping Addiction Tip No. 1: Be honest with yourself
The first thing you have got to do is be honest with yourself about your shopping addiction.
Remember, addiction doesn’t have to mean drugs, gambling, alcohol or cigarettes but it can still do just as much damage to your finances, relationships and well-being.
Getting honest about your problem instead of making excuses as to why it’s ok is absolutely the first step you need to take in helping yourself recover.
Shopping Addiction Tip No. 2: Identify your triggers
Shopping addiction usually stems from some form of emotion.
Are you quick to go shopping after you’ve had a fight with a spouse?
Do you head to the mall as soon as you start feeling bored?
Did you just see a girl on Instagram looking adorable and now you feel the need to keep up?
Whatever the case, identifying the triggers that cause you to head to the mall (in person or virtually) is a great way to begin to find the root cause of your shopping addiction.
Once you have started to recognize your triggers, you’ll be able to help create new patterns and habits for yourself that are more beneficial to you than giving in to your addiction.
Shopping Addiction Tip No. 3: Find new coping mechanisms
When you have identified your triggers, you can begin to create new, healthy habits to cope.
For example, if you realize you feel the urge to shop after a really hard day at work, come up with a game plan for how to handle those tough days without shopping.
Ideas for healthy coping
- Working out
- Playing with your dog
Avoid replacing your addiction with other bad habits like eating,
Depending on your trigger, coping mechanisms will look different for everyone. No matter what, work to keep money out of the situation since that is most likely already an area of stress.
Shopping Addiction Tip No. 4: Remember there is always a sale
If you are someone who loves bargain shopping, a good nugget of wisdom to keep in the back of your mind is the fact that there is always a sale. When those big red and yellow signs are out stating things like: BOGO, BOGO 50%, 70% OFF!! It’s so easy to get all hyped up and carried away.
The reality is, if you really pay attention, you are never getting in on anything special because stores are always running sales and discounts. Instead of giving into impulse buys, use this as a reminder to:
- Plan your purchases
- Save the money required
- Wait for a sale so you can actually save money on a pre-planned purchase.
Get more guidance on creating a shopping budget in Shopping Rehab
Shopping Addiction Tip No. 5: Stop using credit cards
If you want to quit a shopping addiction, one of the smartest things you can do is attempt to cut yourself off at the source. If you struggle with credit card debt, this might mean cutting up credit cards and removing credit card information from your computer.
Do whatever you can to break the habits of credit card debt even if that means learning to no longer use credit cards.
Cutting up credit cards is of course not an instant cure to a shopping addiction but it only stands to benefit you. If you aren’t quite ready to cut them up, you could also try freezing your credit cards in a literal block of ice. Yeah, it’s really a thing!
Shopping Addiction Tip No. 6: Avoid malls and online shopping
Just like cutting up credit cards, make a habit of not going to places of major temptation like the mall, Target or even Amazon.
More than ever stores have found sneaky ways to make impulse buying even easier. With the creation of things like Apple pay, and saved online credit card information, making an impulse buy is nothing more than 2 taps away!
Beyond simplifying the process of shopping in person, with the internet, having a shopping addiction is easier than ever. No matter how hard we might try, we are constantly bombarded with tempting ads and emails that are directly targeted at us.
While you can’t avoid things like…the internet…altogether you can do things like removing your stored credit card information so that you give yourself a few more seconds to think before you buy.
Shopping Addiction Tip No. 7: Shop with a purpose
Whenever you do make your way to the mall, store, or online shopping, make sure you are doing it with a purpose. Have a planned item in mind that you know you want to buy.
This is a better habit to get into than just shopping out of boredom.
One of the best ways to do this is to get good at understanding your own unique style. When you know what your personal style is, you can easily filter out the items you know you will never wear.
Rather than seeing this as a way of delaying gratification, in Shopping Rehab this type of shopping is referred to as high maintenance shopping. It’s heading to the store refusing to settle for anything less than exactly what you want and within the price range that you’ve planned on.
Getting good at shopping this way not only helps prevent you from making financial decisions you’ll regret, but can also slow the role when it comes to clutter pile ups happening in your house!
Shopping Addiction Tip No. 8: Leave the tags on
After going on a shopping spree, even a planned one, making sure to leave the price tags on can be a really smart move.
Let’s face it, sometimes stuff just looked way better in the dressing room or on the show floor and in the light of day we might realize an item we purchased isn’t something we really want to keep.
If and when you feel that sting of buyer’s remorse set in, you can swallow your pride and return the items that you’ve decided don’t line up with your high maintenance shopping standards.
Heads up: Returning items to the store can bring up a lot of shame and guilt if you struggle with a shopping addiction. This is something we cover in Shopping Rehab because it’s important to know that you’re not alone.
Shopping Addiction Tip No. 9: Create a dream board
How in the world could a dream board help with a shopping addiction?
The biggest struggle with a shopping addiction is that people are acting on impulse. There is a total disregard for future consequences.
Hanging a dream board somewhere you see it every day forces you to remember what your bigger goals are. Even if you are a repeat offender when it comes to bargain shopping, there’s a good chance that if you’re being honest with yourself, buying stuff simply for a lower price tag isn’t in your top 10 dreams come true.
Take the time to look at your dream board each day (you can create a virtual one in Shopping Rehab) and remind yourself of what you want for real in order to stop yourself from purchasing what you want right now.
Shopping Addiction Tip No. 10: Start a shopping budget
I know, I know, the word budget is a pretty loaded word. Hearing the word shopping budget send shivers down the spine of any veteran shopaholic. However, what most people don’t realize is that having a shopping budget is literally you planning to shop!
Setting a shopping budget can be as easy as designating $20 every paycheck to go into a separate checking account just for fun spending. It could be making a pact with yourself that 50% of your tip money is a fun spending only zone!
Having a shopping budget is giving yourself planned ahead spending money so you can hopefully start to avoid the stressful financial fallouts that often come with unplanned purchases. PS If you find yourself tempted into an impulse buy, try taking a picture instead!
Shopping Addiction Tip No. 11: Practice gratitude
The word gratitude has probably been a little overused in the last few years, but that’s simply because if it’s done right it can be a highly effective tool to help you feel more content with your life. Feeling more content with your life can reduce anxiety and depression, help you focus on your goals, and, of course, slow your role when it comes to your shopping addiction.
A byproduct of practicing gratitude every day is that we slowly being to lose that desire to obtain more and find ourselves being more thankful for the things we currently have.
Take a look around, in your closet, in your room, throughout your house…what items do you see that you are truly so thankful to have? It’s easy to wake up every day and practice empty gratitude like, “I’m thankful for a roof over my head and food in my belly.” Of course you are thankful for these things, but try activating some emotion and work to be thankful for the tiny things that you might not otherwise appreciate. Things like being thankful for your tooth brush so you can get rid of that grainy tooth feeling and nasty morning breath.
Work to practice obnoxious, but heart-felt gratitude in your life and see what kind of magic unfolds!
Shopping Addiction Tip No. 12: Save up
Breaking a shopping addiction does not mean that you never get to go shopping again. You just have to be smarter about it.
If you love going on big shopping sprees, that’s great. There’s nothing wrong with it unless it ends up leaving you feeling financially strapped for cash and filled with buyer’s remorse.
In order to enjoy your spending splurges more, just save up for them. Instead of putting random purchases on a credit card and racking up interest, save up ahead of time so that you can spend freely and leave your credit card at home.
Who is most likely to suffer from shopping addiction?
More than anything shopping addiction stems from emotions. People purchase an item to celebrate or when they are nervous, mad or stressed.
Personally, I feel like my shopping addiction was a nice way of distracting myself from actually taking a look at the problems in my life.
It was a great way to avoid deeper emotional things that were going on.
Compulsive shoppers use shopping as a way of escaping negative feelings, such as depression, anxiety, boredom, and anger, as well as self-critical thoughts. Unfortunately, the escape is short-lived. The purchases are often simply hoarded unused, and compulsive shoppers then begin to plan the next spending spree.Verywellmind.com
Read the full article here.
Basically, anyone can suffer from a shopping addiction although women are more likely to than men.
Getting help with a shopping addiction
If you think you are struggling with a shopping addiction, or just need some additional support learning how to slow your impulse spending habits, I created a program that is designed to teach you how to:
- Slow your spending
- Shop with less stress
- Avoid and pay off credit card debt
- Build a savings without sacrifice
The program is called Shopping Rehab and it has all the best, practical advice I can give you as someone who has recovered from a shopping addiction myself.