Money Matters: Five Ways to Curb Your Shopping Addiction


“Whoever said that money cannot buy happiness, simply did not know where to go shopping.” –Bo Derek

Addiction might seem like such a strong word for something that is associated with shopping. But, do not let that distract you as a shopping addiction presents a very real problem. A shopping addiction in the very real sense means you exercise no leverage over your purchasing whims and impulses. It means looking at bags upon bags of shopping items you have accumulated and hoarded and seeing no problem with it. It means having more items with you more than you have any storage. Lastly, it means going looking for all necessary means just to indulge and satisfy your purchasing whims—such as abusing your credit card, taking loans and borrowing money.

Sounds familiar, right? If you look at it from that perspective, it seems to be no different than a drug or alcohol addiction. To some, it might not sound as dire but much like gambling addiction; a shopping addiction can spell your pecuniary ruin. Furthermore, it makes you seem like an individual with a blatant disregard for finances—a spendthrift if you may. If you feel yourself relating to all of these, you might need an intervention—before financial dilemmas start piling in. So, before you start stepping into that any Ayala malls the 30th, you might want to reevaluate the way you formulate your shopping decisions and reassess your purchasing whims. In any case, here are the various ways to curb your shopping addiction:

1. Understand the phenomenon :

Know yourself better and try to find out where the impulses come from. Identify what these are and you might want to channel that energy into something else that does not involve you spending money. Extreme compulsive spenders tend to conceal or lie about their purchases. They max out credit cards and then worry obsessively about money. Seems like a paradox, is it not? However, having an awareness of what triggers this sort of activity from you would enable you to identify the red flags and look for alternative ways to channel that energy.

2. Know why you love to shop :

If you have this compulsive obsession to shop, ask yourself why. Why do you like to shop? Is there a thrill to it? Will finding great sales make you feel like a winner? Are you satisfying your proclivity for needless and wanton purchasing? Answering these questions would help you determine whether you really have a problem or not. Moreover, it allows you to closely examine what is happening during your impulse purchasing spree.

3. Think about the time involved :

Sometimes all you need to do is think about the total amount of time you spend in specific kinds of stores. In fact, this might just be the wakeup call you need. Observe how much time you spend at a certain shop looking for deals or just basically studying the various catalogs. Gauge how much time you have actually spent in the shop and think of the other things you could be accomplishing instead.

 4. Take control of the situation :

If you are starting to worry about how your purchasing habits might potentially affect your life (and credit rating), it might be wise to make lifestyle changes. They do not have to be drastic, you can simply start by paying for everything with cash, checks or debit cards. In this way, your purchases will seem more real instead of a faraway obligation you only have to worry about when the bills come. Cut all of your credit cards save for one you can store to use ONLY for emergencies. Never carry this credit card with you.

5. Write things down :

One way to have a better assessment of your situation is to note everything down. Keep a daily log of all the things you spend every single day and in addition to that, write the feelings you experience associated with the purchases you made. Moreover, it would not hurt to plan out your financial goals while you are at it.

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