Did you know that shopping can become an actual addiction? There are support groups that have been created to help assist people in overcoming shopping addictions. People who have addictions to shopping (aka shopaholics) give up many things for their addiction to shopping. They lose out on money, opportunities, relationships, etc, all because of their addiction to shopping. Many of them get themselves into extreme amounts of debt because of their shopping addiction.
Whether you are a full-blown shopaholic, or you just feel you need to curb your spending a bit, here are a few tricks that can help you overcome a shopping addiction:
1. Give yourself a budget.
Many people overspend just because they haven’t given themselves limits. If you feel that you have or are developing an addiction to shopping, then put yourself on a strict shopping budget. Set an amount that you are allowed to spend on shopping each week or month, and never go over.
This will help you not only to limit the amount of money you are spending on shopping (no going in debt here!), but it will also help you to only purchase items that you truly love or need. You will know that with each item purchased, your budget is depleting, and you run the risk of not having the funds to purchase something later that you will like more. This will also help you to limit the amount of time you spend shopping.
Set a shopping budget for yourself, and never allow yourself to go over. Teach yourself self control and restraint. If needed, give yourself cash for your shopping budget. Once the cash is gone, so is the shopping for that month.
2. Go on a shopping fast.
Sometimes you just need to take a break! With any addiction, sometimes you need to abstain from that activity to be able to overcome it. Once you’ve had a break from the activity and you are stronger, then you can return to the activity with more strength and self control. So, if you have an addiction to shopping, take a shopping fast. Set an amount of time for yourself, maybe a month, where you are not allowed to shop whatsoever (except for necessities like groceries).
If you feel like you’ve developed an addiction to shopping, just stay away for a while! Don’t go to the mall or other tempting places. Find other activities that you like to do instead. This will give you time to get the shopping addiction out of your system. This will also help you to find value in the items that you already own.
3. Find a hobby.
For many shopping addicts, shopping has become their hobby. It has become their way to spend time, to relieve stress, to feel good about themselves, etc. So, if your shopping has gotten out of hand, find a different activity that can help to bring you this same fulfillment. Find a more productive and actually fulfilling way to spend your time. Take a cooking class. Learn to create. Join a recreational sports group. Start a book club. Get a pet.
Think of the things that you usually purchase when you shop. If it is clothes, learn to sew. If it is electronics, take up a hobby that has to do with those items: photography, music, etc. Find ways to fulfill that same need without going shopping.
Find a more fulfilling (and less expensive) hobby than your shopping habit. Use this new hobby(s) to fill your time. Use this new hobby to ease your boredom. Use this new hobby to help you feel fulfilled. When you have a shopping habit, it may keep you occupied or help you feel fulfilled for a short amount of time, but it is usually accompanied with feelings of guilt and remorse. Find a hobby that will fulfill you, but that won’t leave you feeling bad about yourself.
4. Set goals.
Take some time to reflect on the things you are missing out on because of your shopping addiction. Set financial goals for yourself. Think of something that you would like to save up for. Then, any time you have the impulse to shop, instead take that money and put it towards saving up for that item or activity. Write down the things that shopping is keeping you from doing. These things can be financial, social, physical, emotional, etc.
Think of things that you want more in your life than shopping. Set goals for yourself, and don’t let your shopping addiction get in the way of you reaching those goals.
5. Find the root.
Just like with most addictions, an addiction to shopping can have many different root causes. Figure out what yours is. Spend some time in self reflection and work to realize what lead you to develop your shopping addiction. If it is a need to gain control, find that control by overcoming your shopping addiction. If it is low self esteem, work to improve yourself as a person to help with your self esteem. Strengthen your relationships with friends and family members that love you and build you up. If it is boredom, find a hobby.
If your issues are very deep rooted, seek help if needed. Talk to friends and family around you about your problem and desire to change. Discuss with them your goals, and ask them to follow up with you and help you stay accountable. There are support groups dedicated to helping those with shopping addictions. Utilize those if you need to.
Nicole is a guest author for Gulf Coast Rehab. They work to help people get off and stay off of drugs. Click here for more info.