We have holidays. Nevertheless, yesterday I was wondering, what my habits are regarding the entire shopping phenomenon. I have noticed a certain cycle. Once upon a time, when I was in school, it was correct. After some time, when I started earning my first money, I spent monay in a way, that was far from a model, thoughtful pattern. Just like that. In time when I didn’t have enough money, I spent it correctly. The moment I started earning my first money, I lost or rather slowly lost this skill. At that time, I acquired a lot of negative habits about spending money. For example, I was somewhat addicted to shopping. I lacked the willpower to control impulses and impulsive purchases. I did not pay attention to the bank account balance. It was best, when I didn’t watch it. In addition, various stressful situations, that appeared additionally reinforced such behavior. It was an addiction to shopping.
Although I was not going to bankruptcy, my behavior was far from correct model. At least, of course, I regained my original approach to spending money, but it took me some time. Currently, I have most of my expenses under control. I force myself to consciously decide what to buy. Conscious spending is one of the keys to overcoming emotional expenses. Of course, I am aware, that if I lost vigilant, there is a high probability that I will return to old habits. In conclusion, I was a shopaholic in some form.
What is shopping addiction?
People who are addicted to shopping suffer from so-called “compulsive spending”. Definition:
“Compulsive purchases and expenses are identified as inappropriate, excessive, and out of control, as is the case for activities with other addictions”
We already have an obvious definition. The question remains what characterizes shopaholics. There are the following number of red flags of people addicted to purchases. They can appear together and the following syndromes can be obvious:
- Purchases of spending money as a result of disappointment, anger or fear.
- Shopping habits that result from emotional stress or chaos in life.
- Feeling lost when don’t have credit cards.
- A situation where spending money causes both euphoria and anxiety.
- Feeling guilty, embarrassed, confused after shopping or spending money.
- A situation where many items or services purchased are never used.
- Lying to other people about, what was bought or how much money was spent (understating that fact).
- Over-thinking about money.
- Spend a lot of time juggling accounts and bills to match your spending.
What is typical for non-addicted people who have never been addicted to shopping? Usually they can not understand the problem and you may have trouble explaining it, if necessary. They don’t know what it’s like to see something and feel the need to buy it, and then experience the hangover phenomenon that occurs after you buy it.
Addiction to shopping is dangerous for your personal finances. As with other chemical and behavioral addictions, victims feel at a loss and notice that their lives are getting out of control. Personally, I have no problem with shopaholism right now. I’ve learned ways to deal with emotional expenses.
How to fight shopping addiction
Several techniques, strategies can be proposed that you can use to combat addiction to compulsive shopping.
- Destroy your credit cards. Don’t make excuses. Don’t write down card numbers somewhere “just in case”. If credit cards fuel your emotional expenses, give them up. You can always get new cards as you get better habits.
- Have only cash. Don’t use debit cards. It’s not very convenient, but that’s the point. Remember that your goal is to quit the compulsive buying process. Spending cash is a way of realizing that you are spending real money. The plastic money makes this feeling blurry.
- Start budgeting. You may not even know how much money you are spending. Thanks to the budget, a clear diagram will appear and you will be able to react to emerging expenses.
- Avoid temptation. The easiest way to stop yourself from spending money is to avoid situations that tempt you to spend money. Stop going to places where you can buy what you like, especially if you feel stressed about it.
- Remind yourself of the bigger goals. Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” The same question can be asked when you are about to make an impulse purchase. Will your new toy bring you closer to your goals or will it move you away from them?
There is one more strategy that has proved very effective for me. When I feel like buying something, I force myself to pause for a while and ask myself serious questions.
What are the “discouraging” questions to buy
Before you buy anything, consider the following:
- When will I use it? Could it be something I’ll never use? Look around the house, maybe you already have it? Do you have unopened purchases, unread books, boxes of games? Or maybe you have clothes that still have tags on. Before you buy something new, ask yourself when you will actually use it. You have to be honest with yourself. In the past, for example, I used to buy books for learning languages and programming. Of course I didn’t read them.
- If i buy something, can I pay in cash? Would I pay for it in cash? Credit card is dangerous here. I thought I could buy everything and then pay for it later. All my cash was used to pay my credit card bills. It wasn’t wise.
- Can I buy a good quality used version for less? This is another question.
- Can I borrow it instead of buying something, especially if I am going to use it once?
- Can I possibly wait to buy something? This is one of the best things I have done to fight my shopping addiction. I learned to act in such a way, that I waited a few days and asked myself again about the purchase. Why do I want to buy it? And why do I want to buy it today?
- What will my partner say if I impulsively buy this thing. It is a strong demotivator.
I’ve been using all of these questions, to learn to control my shopping addiction. I didn’t ask myself all these questions every time, I shopped. Each of them was useful only in certain situations. And those questions didn’t stop all my purchases. But I’ve found that, if I give myself honest answers, they can prevent a lot of money from being spent.
I will be very happy, if this post is useful for you or inspired you to take positive action. I have a request to like my Facebook page.
If you like this post I am sure that you will be interested to read article about home budget.