If you can’t leave a store without a bag in hand, it’s time to
cut off your cash flow.
Have you ever bought nonessential items, even
when you knew you didn’t have the money to cover the credit
Have you ever talked yourself into an expensive purchase,
even when you knew you’d be letting others down by doing
Have you ever bought a bunch of items at once, not even
realizing how much you spent until later on?
If you’ve said “yes” to all the above, you might be suffering
from a shopping addiction. A shopping addiction is when you
compulsively buy things even when you’re aware that doing so is
a financial mistake. You’re quite willing to go into debt and
even damage your relationships in order to keep buying more and
more and more things.
A shopping addiction can be an incredibly painful
challenge to overcome. After all, we do need to shop at
least a little to maintain our home and keep food on the table.
What exactly can a person do in order to take on a shopping
addiction? Here are five strategies:
Cut off your cash flow. When you head into a situation
where you might be spending money, make an active choice before
to cut off or restrict the amount of money you’ll have on hand.
Leave your credit cards at home or in the car, and only take in
a small amount of cash – or no cash at all. The goal of this
step is to ensure you don’t have the resources to make
purchases you might later regret.
Avoid shopping situations. Another useful strategy is to
avoid shopping situations entirely – or at least as much as you
can. Reduce your time spent inside of stores to the absolute
minimum, and avoid shops unless you have true necessities. By
coming up with a very clear blanket rule like this and sticking
to it, it becomes clear what financial choices you should be
Rely on others. If you still end up buying unnecessary
things, ask your friends and family for help. For example, you
can ask your friends to help you
avoid unnecessary purchases by talking you out of them in
social shopping situations. You might also want to consider
asking friends and family to help you with your shopping so
that your spending opportunities are limited. This can be a
difficult conversation to have, but when you genuinely ask your
friends and family for help, they’re usually going to be there
for you to help you through your challenges.
Replay your shopping mistakes, and look for triggers.
When you find that you’ve made a shopping mistake, spend some
time thinking back on that mistake. Ask yourself:
Why did it happen?
What made you switch your mindset to allow yourself to make
this luxury purchase?
triggered by a feeling within yourself?
Was it triggered by something outside of you, like a friend
or a particular type of store?
Was it triggered by a website that inflates your wants?
If you can figure out exactly what things trigger your shopping
impulses, you can focus directly on eliminating those triggers.
For example, if you’re often triggered by a particular online
store, you know you should delete that website from your
bookmarks and unsubscribe from emails notifying you of sales.
Delete your credit card numbers. Many people – myself
included – will make poor buying decisions online because it’s
just so easy. On websites like Amazon, you can often
move from simply looking at an item to having that item shipped
to you in just a click or two, which is dangerous for a
shopping addict. Often, placing a simple roadblock in the way
can give you enough time to rethink your decision, and you can
insert that roadblock yourself by simply deleting your credit
card numbers from that website. Go into your account
information, and clear all your payment information stored
there. Suddenly, shopping on the site becomes a lot less
convenient if you have to get up to hunt for your wallet. And
during that time, you might realize you’re making a shopping
One final tip: If you’re still struggling to overcome a
shopping addiction after applying these strategies,
seek out a financial therapist or money coach. There
are many techniques and strategies that can be approached with
the aid of a professional. If you find that you keep going back
to your old shopping mistakes no matter what you do, it may be
time to seek extra help.
Conquering your shopping mistakes is a vital element of getting
your finances in better shape. Once you can break free of a
constant routine of overspending, it’s easy for your
finances to fall into place.