Shopping addiction is an impulse control disorder characterized by uncontrollable and excessive shopping. Shopping addiction affects people of all ages, genders, and incomes, and is often triggered by specific emotions. People with a shopping addiction may not understand their behavior and how it affects their lives, leading to potential severe financial issues and vastly diminished self-esteem.
However, the great news is that shopping addiction is a treatable condition. Here are some tips for how to escape a shopping addiction so you can get back to living a life free of excessive shopping.
1. Be Honest About Your Addiction
The first step to escaping your shopping addiction is to recognize that you have a problem. Uncontrolled buying is often driven by compulsive behavior, so confessing to yourself and to other people that you are struggling with shopping addiction can be a great first step on the road to recovery.
2. Get Professional Help
While admitting that you have an addiction is an important part of recovery, it may not be enough if your shopping addiction is significantly affecting your life. There are courses, therapists, and other professionals who are experienced with helping people with shopping addiction. They can provide support, education, and help structure a plan to increase self-control when it comes to shopping.
3. Find Fun and Healthy Alternatives
Many people turn to shopping to distract themselves from difficult thoughts and feelings and to seek an emotional high. Replacing shopping with other, healthier activities can be an important and effective tool for combating a shopping addiction. Exercise such as running or bike rides can boost serotonin and other feel-good chemicals in the brain and has been shown to be an effective way of dealing with difficult emotions. Other activities such as reading, cooking, watch movies, listening to music, or taking classes can also help to replace the pleasure from shopping.
4. Track Your Spending
Knowing what you spend your money on can be incredibly helpful for managing an urge to shop. Whether you use a budgeting app or an old-fashioned spreadsheet, tracking your spending can give you an objective view of how much money you are spending on unnecessary purchases. By looking at tangible data, it may become clear to you that your money can be used to pay bills rather than buying trinkets.
5. Etablished Financial Goals
Having financial goals can be an effective way of staying away from retail therapy. Figure out a long-term financial goal (such as saving for a retirement or down payment on a house) and use that to make decisions about your spending. If a purchase pushes you further away from achieving your goal, it may be a good time to pause and ask yourself whether the purchase is a good idea.
6. Create Consequences
If you’re unable to resist the urge to shop, create consequences for yourself for your actions. For example, you could agree that for every unnecessary purchase you make, you will donate some money to a charity of your choice. If you’re still unable to resist the urge, ask a trusted friend to help by withholding your credit cards until you can prove to them that you are in control of your shopping habits.
7. Practice Self-Control
Finally, practice self-control in all aspects of life. Self-control isn’t easy, and it takes practice to master. You can start by challenging yourself to avoid purchases that are unnecessary or indulgent, and then reward yourself if you reach the goal of staying within your budget.
Shopping addiction can be crippling, but with the right tools and the right attitude, you can break free from it. From tracking your spending and creating financial goals to seeking professional help and practicing self-control, there are many ways you can take control and begin to escape your shopping addiction.