Have you ever used shopping as a way to cope with an emotionally draining day or situation? Do you find yourself bored and cruising the mall, or Target, on a Saturday just to kill time? You may not realize it right away, but you could have a shopping addiction.
In this week’s episode of the podcast, we discussed the differences between a shopping habit and a shopping addiction. While we did decide there was a line between the two, we also know how hard it can be to kick a shopping habit or shopping addiction because we’ve all suffered from one at some point or another.
If you’ve struggled with a shopping addiction, here’s how you can finally beat it!
1. Identify Your Shopping Trigger
If you are struggling with a shopping addiction, chances are that shopping isn’t really the problem. Most people with a shopping addiction are shopping to fulfill some other struggle or emotional need.
If you aren’t sure what that is, keep track of when you have the urge to shop and why you have the urge to shop, including how you feel emotionally during that time.
You may find out that your shopping addiction is triggered by boredom, guilt, anger, shame, or loneliness. It may even be triggered by positive emotions, like happiness.
2. Avoid Promotions and Sales
Once you’ve figured out your shopping triggers, you should take care to avoid shopping when you are feeling the urge to give into your shopping addiction. One way to help yourself avoid shopping is to stop your exposure to promotions, sales, and other advertisements.
It can be hard to avoid all advertisements, but you can eliminate a large portion of them by unsubscribing to email lists and mailing lists, blocking stores on your internet browser on your computer and smart phone, and deleting shopping apps on your phone.
You should also visit your favorite online stores and make sure you delete your payment information so it’s harder for you to place an online order in the future.
If you really want to shop, you’ll be able to find ways around these things, but at least they’ll slow you down and make you think the next time your shopping addiction is calling your name.
3. Freeze Your Credit Cards
Another way to beat your shopping addiction is to freeze your credit cards – literally. You can put them in a tub of water and stick it in the freezer. This will act as a deterrent when you want to go shopping because you’ll have to wait until they thaw out before you can use them for in-store purchases.
Another idea is to have a trusted friend or family member hide your credits cards for you so know don’t know where they are in your house, or you could cut them up with scissors or a shredder.
Of course, you can still shop without your credit cards, but at least you’ll be limited to the amount of money you have on you or in your checking account if you carry a debt card. This will prevent you from racking up credit card debt due to your shopping addiction.
4. Set Money Goals
One of the best ways to defeat your shopping addictions is to focus on your other financial goals. Is there something else in life you want to work towards, like debt freedom, a nice vacation, or a new car?
The money to fund those goals is going to have to come from somewhere! Any time you’re tempted to buy something, think about the goals you’ve set and ask yourself if the purchase you want to make is taking you closer or further away from those goals.
5. Replace Shopping with a New Healthy Hobby
This might not appeal to everyone, but if you discover that some of your spending triggers are emotional, then incorporating healthy habits into your life can actually help you spend less.
For example, maybe you go clothes shopping to help yourself feel more confident. But hitting the gym (or the pavement) can help you in that department, too. While you may be sweating afterward, a nice workout can still make you feel good!
Try and use exercise as a “distraction” whenever you’re bored and thinking about shopping, too. If working out isn’t your thing, pick up a book, or take up an artistic hobby. Both are still good for your brain!
6. Reward Yourself for Good Behavior
Sometimes, we just need to treat ourselves to refuel our motivation, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long as it’s in line with our values, and reasonable.
We’re not talking about letting loose and going on a $100 shopping spree. We’re talking about something a little smaller that will still act as a pick-me-up.
Have you been doing really well at avoiding your favorite stores, paying off debt, or funding those other financial goals? Set aside a small amount each month to treat yourself with. Things like a mani/pedi, a video game, a movie, a night out with friends, etc. all count as refreshers.
7. Get Help If You Need It
Our last tip is to grab an accountability buddy, or put someone close to you in charge of making sure you don’t get out of line with your purchases.
This requires a level of honesty – both with yourself, and the other person. You need to be able to open up and tell them when you’ve made a mistake, otherwise you won’t get much value out of this.
Additionally, make sure you’re surrounding yourself with supportive people. Friends and family that have similar shopping addictions are bad influences! Try and hang out with them away from those shopping triggers.
We know shopping addictions can be beat because we’ve been there. Although we still shop occasionally, we now make it a part of our budget so we can shop guilt-free, but only for the things we really want or need.
Listen to the Bloopers!
Have you ever struggled with a shopping addiction? How did you beat your shopping addiction?
-Erin and Kayla