Are You Addicted To Shopping?
First, lets talk about whether or not you really are addicted to shopping. Just what does it mean to have a shopping addiction? Here are some signs.
- You Hide Your Spending
If shopping is a problem, deep down inside, you realize it. This can cause you to lie about what you buy and how much money you are spending. If you can not be honest with others, you know you spend too much.
- You Have Unopened Purchases
When you are addicted to shopping, you will make purchases on impulse. Often, you get the item home or it gets shipped to you and you immediately lose interest. Do you have hundreds of dollars in unopened merchandise? You might be a shopping addict.
- You Shop When Stressed
Those addicted to shopping often turn to it when they feel stresses. It is a way to feel better, even though it often leads to more stress and guilt. It is a never ending cycle where depression leads to shopping which often leads to more depression.
How Do You Stop Your Addiction?
Now that you have identified the fact that you have a problem, let’s figure out some ways to stop it.
1) Have A 24 Hour Cool Down Policy
Set a price limit and have a mandatory cooling off period if you want to spend above it. The amount you choose will vary depending on your lifestyle and income, but an example might be 100 dollars. If you want to spend above that amount, you will have to wait. When you implement this policy, you will likely find that once the cooling down period expires, you no longer want to make the purchase.
2) Shop With An Intent
How many times do you head out just to look around or without a clear shopping goal in mind? When you do this, you are just asking your shopping addiction to take over. Only go shopping with a clear goal in mind. Do your research ahead of time and get in and get out.
3) Stop Thinking Of Shopping As Entertainment
If you have a shopping addiction, you need to stop treating shopping as a fun activity to kill time. Instead, shopping is just a means to an end. You need something and you go get it, end of story. Do not make a day out of it, plan lunch around shopping or meet up with friends to roam around the outlet mall. There are just too many potential triggers.
4) Understand You Have Triggers
Speaking of shopping triggers, know yours. Do you shop when you are bored or depressed? Is couch time often online shopping time? Identify the times that you are most likely to spend money and find another way to kill the time.
5) Remove Your Credit Card Information
One click purchases are only a convenience for online shopping websites. It takes away chances for you to change your mind. Remove your credit card information from these websites and manually enter your information every time you make a purchase. This might seem trivial, but an extra minute to think can make a world of difference.
6) Replace Your Addiction
If you have been a longtime shopaholic, stopping now will leave a huge void in your life. Fill it with another hobby that is not as destructive. Get into physical fitness, start crafting or take up bird watching. It could really be anything as long as it peaks your curiosity and keeps you away from shopping.
What To Do With The Money Saved?
Motivation will be a key part of losing your shopping addiction, so make sure that you do something good with the money you saved. Here are some constructive ideas.
Pay Down Credit Card Debt
Over the years you have probably racked up thousands of dollars in credit card debt. That is what a shopping addiction will do. Now you can take the extra money you have from kicking your habit and pay down this debt. This might seem like a huge task, but just have a plan. Pick your lowest balance card and start paying as much as you can on it. Then, when this card is paid off, switch to the next lowest balance card. Paying down your debt in this fashion will help you stay motivated by giving you more small victories.
Start A Savings Account
Saving money can be as addicting as shopping. As your savings account balance grows, you will want to keep adding to it. Take the money saved from not shopping and invest it into an online savings account. Use your budget to make sure that you keep contributing to this savings and don’t let the money saved get wasted.
Invest In Yourself
Could your career benefit from a certificate, a new language learned or even a new degree? Without your shopping addiction, you may now have enough money to get it accomplished. This could make you more valuable and increase your earning potential.