Shopping is something that excites all of us. However, retail therapy can instantly lift your mood in worse situations, whether you buy that new pair of shoes, a new dress, or the watch you had on your wish list for so long. The problem arises when the habit of buying something shifts from impulsive to compulsive. According to Statista, over 80 per cent of the population in the UK makes e-commerce purchases.
If you buy something you don’t need or don’t make you happy, especially when stressed, you may suffer from a shopping addiction. With this kind of addiction, you are no longer a regular shopper but a shopaholic suffering from a compulsive need to buy things or spend money. While shopping addiction is not restricted to any gender, nationality, or sex, it is a growing universal problem.
Shopping addiction has dangerous consequences, which include emotional and financial distress. For example, a person with a shopping addiction becomes so addicted to buying that they jeopardise everything from their relationships, work, and economic status, to emotional stability. In addition, some compulsive shoppers have been shown to have significantly higher rates of depression, binge eating, substance abuse, anxiety, and impulse control disorders.
With this in mind, we are here with the top eight tips that can help you overcome shopping addiction:
Most people don’t realise that they spend too much on unnecessary things and often lose track of their money. Start tracking every single dollar that you pay. It will not only help you identify the shopping triggers but also enable you to notice where you fall short. By keeping track of the money, you can control your expenditure, and can know where you are spending most of the money and how you can save. In addition, visualising these spending patterns allows you to act on them.
If you are one of those who easily get tempted by discount offers or seeing the sales emails that pop in your inbox, it is time to “unsubscribe”. One of the best ways to eliminate shopping addiction is to cut the source. Most brands often promise heavy discounts or one-time offers that entice shoppers to purchase more goods, and they use promotional emails to do that. Because many of us spend hours on digital devices, we are more prone to fall for online deals and discounts. So, if you find online shopping your weakness, start removing yourself from the mailing list and unsubscribing or blocking the sites that frequently send shopping emails. Doing this will limit your exposure to special offers and help you save money.
Another way to overcome shopping addiction is to set your financial goals. Having a reason to save will remind you how crucial it is not to be spending. Whether it is for visiting your favourite city, donating money to charity, having a luxury vacation, or keeping aside money for a new car, it will become easier for you to save money. Also, implementing this saving habit will keep you focused on something other than addiction, naturally limiting your urges to buy things.
Your surroundings play an important role in influencing your addiction. Whether it is your family, friends, co-workers, or workplace, everything in your environment affects your behaviours. And while we cannot always choose our environment, we can control some aspects. For example, limit your visits to shopping centres, stores, and places that tempt you to shop to avoid triggering situations. Other things like newspapers, magazines, social media, and television shows may tempt you to spend money or shop. Hence, eliminating these triggers from your environment is significant to recovery.
Credit cards give rise to unrealistic expectations. Because credit cards allow you to buy things without actually paying the money, they often become the source of debt, stress, and temptation for those with a shopping addiction. Credit cards fuel your addiction, as a result of which you make excuses to pay for your goods by the end of the month.
If you are struggling with a shopping addiction, you will be better off without credit cards. Cut your credit cards and start keeping cash only. While keeping cash may be inconvenient, it is a constant reminder that you are spending real money. In addition, you can withdraw a certain amount of money every week or every 15 days and spend only that money to ensure you are aware of your expenditure.
Like any other addiction, you need to find a healthier alternative or a new hobby to fill the gap. The goal is to swap the destructive habit with a new, positive one. Finding more engaging, fun, and healthy activities that inspire you for good and stop you from sliding back to the older habits is significant. Find something that you have left behind or pursue things that value most to you than shopping. It will help you get distracted whenever you feel an impulse to shop.
Delete certain shopping apps from your phone or other devices that often tempt you to splurge. Removing these apps will help you limit the impulse to shop and save a lot of money, unknowingly. One more step to avoid the temptation is to block the sites or install a blocking app on your phone or computer. In addition, you can set the screen time limit so that you can’t access the shopping apps during your trigger times.
Opening up and asking for help is really no shame if you find it hard to curb your shopping addiction. First, talk to your family, friends, or co-workers about your struggles and follow their advice. Then, of course, you can always ask for professional shopping addiction help if it doesn’t work out.
To get started, you must ensure that you have accepted your addiction problem and are ready to hear the whole truth. Also, professional shopping addiction treatment techniques will help you learn better habits and make recovery more manageable.
Start by taking responsible steps, and you’ll be on your way to recovering from a shopping addiction. While the tips mentioned above will help you in an early stage, if you find yourself surrounded by the severity of the substance, never refrain from asking for help from your loved ones. Additionally, various self-help books are available online to help with a shopping addiction. Remember, addiction recovery takes time, and you need to be patient through the process. It is never easy, but it is worth it.