There’s nothing wrong with treating ourselves every now and then. In fact, when practised intermittently and in moderation, retail therapy can actually do us some good.
If you find yourself buying something you don’t need to make yourself happy, spending more money when you’re stressed, then it might be a sign that your love for shopping may have developed into an addiction.
As part of a recent report carried out by Private Rehab Clinic Delamere, the specialists have shared their tips on how you can spot the signs and reduce compulsive buying behaviour.
1. Avoid temptation
If you’ve found that certain online shopping apps are increasing the temptation to splurge, delete them from your phone, or other devices. When you remove the opportunity for one-click buying, you can limit the impulse to shop, all while saving money.
Online shopping may feel like a fun way to unwind in the evening or on your lunch break, so it’s important to cut out all temptation. You can do this by installing a blocker app on your computer or phone so that you can’t gain access to certain websites.
Or you can set a screentime limit on your phone so that you can’t access certain apps during your ‘trigger times’.
2. Set limits of your credit and debit cards
Used responsibly, credit cards have a whole host of benefits, including earning users rewards, helping them build a credit history and for security. But when used recklessly, they can become a source of debt, stress, and temptation for those with a shopping addiction.
Cancelling credit cards will help you gain control over your shopping habits and limit any compulsive spending. Start by paying off any outstanding debt on your credit card. For some people cancelling credit cards is not an option, so alternatively, put a spending limit on them.
3. Unsubscribe from emails
If you find that you are more tempted to spend money when you see sales emails pop up in your inbox, then it’s time to click ‘unsubscribe’. Brands will often promise one-time offers enticing you to purchase more goods. Remove yourself from the mailing list, this will limit your exposure to ‘special offers’ and cut back on your spending.
4. Replace shopping with a new hobby
Once you remove shopping from your day-to-day life, boredom might set in if you don’t have things to fill your time. It’s important to find healthy and fun activities to help stop you from slipping back into old habits and to have a distraction when you have the impulse to shop.
Baking, walking, painting, learning a new language or sport are just a few of the different ways you can try out a new hobby without breaking the bank.
5. Keep on track of your money
You may not be completely aware of how much money you’re actually spending and what is triggering your compulsive buying behaviour. By keeping track of your outgoings you can find patterns in your spending. Identifying where these shopping triggers come from can help you to avoid certain situations where you would be motivated to shop.
You can download apps like Yolt or Plum to help you keep on track of your spending.
6. Set saving goals
Identify realistic goals you would like to achieve. Whether that’s taking a trip to your favourite city, donating more money to charity or setting aside money for a new car, if you have a goal you want to accomplish, this will remind you how important it is to not be spending. Whenever you feel the urge to buy something, take a moment to think about your life goal.
7. Change your environment
Our environment plays a huge role in our behaviour. If you want to curb your shopping addiction, pay attention to your current surroundings and see how they could be influencing your spending. While we don’t have full control over our environment, we do have some control over certain aspects of our lives, for example, the places that we visit.
Start by creating ‘no visiting zones’ for places you want to avoid, such as shopping centres, stores and other settings that tempt you to shop. You might also find temptation in reading magazines, newspapers, watching television shows or scrolling on social media, so eliminating these from your environment is important to recovery.
8. Seek professional help
Opening up and asking for support from loved ones and professionals may feel challenging or unsafe due to the shame and social stigma associated with addiction. But having a strong support system around you can make the recovery process easier.
Professional support will help you identify the root cause of your problems, identify any potential triggers and help you develop coping mechanisms to help you or your family.