People who suffer from what’s known as a shopping addiction also suffer from what is known as ‘compulsive spending.’ The warning signs for shopping addictions often vary however usually it comes down to a couple of key points:
- Shopping due to a result of ‘emotions.’ This can be anything from feelings (angry, sad, happy etc…) or emotional distress and chaos in your life.
- Buying items on credit cards that you wouldn’t buy with cash as it feels reckless
- Lying to others about what you bought and how much you spend
- Juggling accounts to keep on top of your spending and debts.
Many shopping addicts will suffer from all or some of these symptoms at some stage and the book Mind over Money explains that;
“Overspenders…have confused and confusing relationships with money, On the one hand, they’re convinced that money and the things it can buy will make them happy; yet they’re often broke because they can’t control their spending.”
Additionally, Psychology Today explains that the psychological aspect of shopping addictions cause a wide range of issues. Often, compulsive shoppers have been shown to have significantly higher rates of;
- Substance abuse
- Binge eating
- Impulse control disorders
With this in mind, we’re here to help give you the tools in order to develop habits that will help you do the right thing, even when the right thing is difficult when it comes to a shopping addiction.
Top 8 tips to get over a shopping addiction
- Unsubscribe and Unfollow
One of the best ways to keep yourself from spending is to avoid situations that tempt you to spend in the first place. A lot of us, spend hours a day on digital devices and therefore are subscribed to many store emails offering us deals and discounts. So, if your weakness is online shopping, the first step would be to start unsubscribing from these emails and blocking these sites on BlockSite – which you can then sync across all your devices.
By unsubscribing from all retailer emails, you’ll avoid the urge to impulse spend and temptation will become a thing of the past. Additionally, if you like social media, especially Instagram – you may want to think about unfollowing ‘influencers’ that push you to spend through what they promote.
2. Track Your Money
Are you sure you’re aware of how much you’re actually spending? Most people don’t keep track on a day to day basis of their spending and often lose track of how much they’re buying, spending and whether or not they actually need it. As an idea, you may want to start tracking every single dollar you spend. You’ll be able to notice your spending habits and patterns and where you fall short, what you’re spending most of your money on and how you can save. When you are able to visualize your spending patterns, you can act on them.
Try Wally to help you with this. Wally is an integrated expense tracker app that provides insights into your spending habits using artificial intelligence and other trendy technologies. Wally has a big focus on expenses and presents feedback and useful information on your spending, but it also has a social feature for shared expenses. Perfect!
3. Cash Not Credit
As we mentioned, more often than not, we often don’t realise how much we’re spending because we’re using credit cards. Credit cards often fuel our ‘addiction’ as it seems unrealistic and we make excuses that we’ll work out a way to pay for our goods and make it work ‘until the end of the month…’ If you’re a shopping addict, you’ll be better off without the credit cards, well at least until you’ve learned better spending habits.
Once you’ve cut up your cards and totally got rid of them, start carrying cash only. It’s inconvenient and that’s the point. If you’re addicted to shopping, the goal is to break the habit and to do this, you need to make sacrifices. Using cash only and spending cash, is a great way to constantly remind yourself that you’re spending real money. Additionally, you could also withdraw a certain amount each week and spend only that amount to make sure you are aware of how much you’re spending and when.
4. Set Goals
You could also try setting yourself some financial goals. It can be anything from ‘save $1,000 for emergency fund’ to ‘save for a luxury vacation.’ By setting goals, cutting back on spending money will seem easier as you will have a reason to save. The goal here is to create a clear path between saving money and getting to do the things you love as well. Implementing this habit will also keep you focused on something other than your addiction, naturally helping to lessen the urge to buy things. Win, win.
5. Change Your Environment
Our environment plays a huge role in our lives. Whether it’s our friends, co-workers, workplace or where we live – environment can influence our behavior.
And even though we can’t always choose our ideal environment, we do have the power to control some aspects of our surroundings. For example, if you have a shopping addiction, it doesn’t make sense for you to browse the mall or browse fashion sites online if you’re trying to kick the habit so you need to make sure you don’t put yourself in places that make it difficult.
Once you start understanding the root cause of your shopping habits and what drives you to shop – which could also be related to your time management, you’ll start learning how to overcome your addiction. For example, a lot of people find certain environments such as the workplace stressful, which in turn drives them to buy things online in order to calm down. Our environment plays a huge role in our behavior and we must use it to our advantage by knowing where we should be and where we shouldn’t go for addiction’s sake.
6. Invest in YOU
As with any addiction, you need to find a healthier alternative to filling the need. The goal here is not to swap an addiction for something else that can become addictive but rather to trade in a negative and destructive addiction for one that is positive and healthy, or at the very least neutral. In this case, figure out what’s more important to you than shopping. What do you value most in life? Your family? Your friends? Whatever it is, you must link how continuing to shop will destroy what you value most. If you value the love from your family and friends, it’s easy to see how that you will ruin these relationships if you keep borrowing and spending.
7. Get Help
Sometimes, we can’t deal with our issues alone and there really is no shame in asking for help if you’re finding it hard to curb your addiction. Talk to a friend or family member about your problem and get their advice.
If that’s not enough, you may want to seek professional help – just make sure you’re ready to hear the whole truth and that you’re ready to start learning better habits and dealing with your problems.
8. Block the sites
Online shopping makes overcoming a shopping addiction so much harder as everything is just a few clicks away, and while visiting a shopping website may give you a few minutes to unwind after work, you’ll end up buying something you don’t really need or can’t really afford.
There’s plenty of other things you can do to pass the time and unwind and while you’re doing those things – you can block the websites that make you spend the most with BlockSite – no willpower required!
BlockSite enables you to block websites – on desktop and mobile that waste your time, or in this case – fuel your addiction. Once they’re blocked if you try and visit them, you’ll be stopped. Couldn’t be easier to start overcoming that addiction after all eh?
Stop your online shopping addiction
With just a few initial steps you’ll be on your way to controlling and stopping your online shopping addiction. Never be afraid to ask for help from family and friends – it often helps to have someone keep you in check who wants the best for you. Additionally, there’s plenty of self help books and apps like BlockSite that can help curb the addiction. Just remember – these things take time and to be patient with yourself. It’s never easy but it’s always worth it. Good luck!