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Are you someone who is prone to purchasing the shiny object in the window? If so, you may have a shopping addiction. Addictions come in many shapes and forms.
When people think about addiction, they usually think about smoking, drinking, sex, and gambling. At the same time, there are other types of addiction that can be devastating as well.
One example is a shopping addiction, which can take a toll on someone's finances as well as their relationships with their family members and friends. Fortunately, there are ways to stop a shopping addiction, which we’ll cover in the following article.
But first, let’s talk about an important concept related having a shopping addition – the hedonic treadmill.
What is the Hedonic Treadmill?
One of the best ways to visualize a shopping addiction is something called the hedonic treadmill. The hedonic treadmill is the tendency of a person to remain at the same level of happiness despite the achievements of specific goals. One of the biggest reasons why people purchase shiny things when they go shopping is that they think they will make them happier.
Unfortunately, these things only make someone happier for a short amount of time before they return to the same level of happiness. Therefore, it is easy to get stuck on a treadmill, constantly chasing that permanent high that never seems to follow.
Therefore, it is important to break the cycle, get off the treadmill, and find ways to stop a shopping addiction.
And here’s how to do it…
8 Ways to Stop a Shopping Addiction
There are several ways to stop a shopping addiction. A few of the top examples include:
1. Unsubscribe from Email Lists and Unfollow Social Media Accounts
One of the first steps that you need to take is to unsubscribe from email lists and unfollow social media accounts. One of the biggest reasons why you are prone to purchasing shiny objects on you go shopping is that you have access to them at all times. If you really want to break free from your shopping addiction, you need to unsubscribe from these websites and unfollow them.
How often do you get emails about new products and services you suddenly need? Remember that you did not need them until a few minutes ago. If you can stop these notifications from dinging your phone, you may get better control over your spending habits. Even though it may take a few minutes to unsubscribe from all of these email lists, it can save you a significant amount of money. Unfollow these social media accounts, unsubscribe from the email lists, and save yourself from purchasing items you do not need. If it seems like the email accounts are still sending you emails even after you unsubscribe, consider blocking the email address entirely.
If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of emails in your inbox, then you can use a service like Unroll.me to simplify the process of unsubscribing from your email subscriptions.
2. Review Your Bank Account and Track Your Bills
Next, you need to take a closer look at your bank account. Sometimes, it is difficult to figure out exactly how much money you are spending when you decide to go shopping. Once you realize how much money you are spending, you will realize how much money you are wasting. Sure, those $5 purchases may not seem like they amount to a lot of money; however, if you are purchasing one or two of them every day, this could amount to several hundred dollars by the end of the month.
Remember that you don't necessarily purchase everything using your debit card. Therefore, you need to take a look at all payment portals you use. Get a handle on all of your bills. This will make it easier for you to figure out exactly how much money you are spending. Then, break down your purchases by what is necessary and what is not. How much money are you actually spending on unnecessary purchases? There is a good chance that it is a lot more than you think.
Once you realize how much money you are spending, you will have an easier time stopping. Figure out the scope of the problem. Then, you can develop a plan to put a stop to it.
3. Pay for Your Purchases in Cash Instead of Credit
Sometimes, you need to feel the sting when you purchase something. If you are having a hard time stopping your shopping addiction, consider paying for something using a credit card instead of cash. When you swipe your credit card, it doesn't necessarily feel like you are spending money because you don't pay for it immediately. You may not pay your credit card bill until the end of the month. If you do not pay your bill in full, you could end up paying a lot of money in interest. Therefore, you should stop spending using your credit card. You need to feel the sting when you buy something.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to force yourself to pay for items using cash instead of a credit card. It can take a lot of effort to go to the ATM, pull out cash, and put it in your wallet. That is the point. It will be harder for you to purchase something if you decide to pay for it using cash. Then, when you feel the cash leaving your wallet when you make a purchase, you will understand just how much money you are spending. Paying for something using cash is a way of punishing yourself for going shopping. This can help you put a stop to your shopping addiction.
4. Set Goals for Yourself Regarding Shopping
Next, if you want to stop your shopping addiction, you should set goals for yourself. For example, set a goal for yourself that you are not going to spend any money at all on shopping until the weekend. Or, when you leave your house, leave all of your credit and debit cards behind. Only take the cash you are going to spend. This is a good way for you to control your spending. You cannot exceed your spending limit if you do not have cards in your wallet. You can set different goals for yourself using different time frames.
For example, you can set goals for the amount of money you want to spend a single day. Then, you can set another goal for the amount of money you will spend in a week. After this, you can set another goal for the amount of money you will spend on shopping in a given month. Once you realize you can go without these purchases, these goals won't seem like they are that difficult.
Of course, there will be some purchases that are absolutely necessary. You need to budget for them accordingly. At the same time, if you go over budget in one area, you cannot spend as much money when you go shopping. Keep this in mind as you set goals for yourself. This is one of the best ways for you to take control of your spending habits.
5. Make Changes in Your Daily Routine
If you want to break free from your addiction, you need to make changes in your daily routine.
Why do you think you go shopping in the first place? Is there a certain frame of mind you take when you go to the store? Do you find that you only go shopping when you are stressed? Do you find yourself suddenly at the store when you are going through a difficult time? If so, you need to make changes in your daily routine.
Start by writing down all the times you go to the store. Then, figure out why you go to the store at that time. If you want to stop yourself from going to the store, you should change the order of your daily routine. That way, you won't find yourself at the store every day. The only way you were going to make changes in your shopping habits is if you address the reasons why you go shopping in the first place. One of the easiest ways to do exactly that is to make changes in your daily routine. If you need help changing your routine, consider talking to your family members and friends. If you spend more time with them, you may spend less time at the store.
6. Develop New Hobbies (that Are Less Expensive)
Some people go shopping because they are bored. Even if you feel like you aren't bored, you may end up going shopping more often than you realize. If you want to stop yourself from spending so much money at the store, you should try to develop new hobbies. Of course, you need to make sure these hobbies are not that expensive.
For example, you might be interested in picking up a new sport. Or, you might be interested in learning a musical instrument. You may simply be interested in spending more time with family members and friends. These are all great hobbies that can pull you away from the store.
You may have an easier time developing hobbies if you get other people to try them with you. Talk to your family members and friends. See if they have any hobbies you might be interested in trying. Even if they sound like they are not exactly your thing, it's going to be a great way to deepen your relationships while also stopping yourself from spending so much money. It can be a challenge to control your spending habits. Therefore, consider developing new hobbies that are less expensive. That way, you can stop yourself from spending so much money at the store.
7. Block Certain Websites on Your Internet
Next, you may also need to consider putting a filter on your internet router. That way, you can block your shopping website. There are a lot of people who have problems with impulse control. Therefore, this is nothing to be ashamed of. One of the ways you can control your shopping impulses to block certain websites on the internet. Usually, website filters come with categories. If you simply click the category labeled “shopping,” you should be able to stop yourself from visiting these websites.
It might be situations where you feel like you would still not be able to control yourself. Even if you have to go through the filter, all you need to do is enter the password. If you really want to block yourself from visiting these websites, you should consider asking someone else to set the password. That way, you will not know what it is. This is the only way you can truly block yourself from visiting these websites. If you completely surrender control, you can stop yourself from spending so much money on the internet.
8. Ask for Help from Trained Professionals
Finally, if you are still having trouble getting control over your addiction, you need to reach out to professionals for help. There are trained mental health professionals who specialize in substance abuse and addiction. Even though shopping is not necessarily the same as using drugs, the foundation has the same. It can be very difficult for you to break free from a shopping addiction. Therefore, you may need to reach out to someone who specializes in this area.
There are plenty of mental health professionals available. You need to figure out who the right person is to help you with your shopping addiction. Of course, you need to take a look at the areas in which that person specializes. One person may have more experience treating shopping addiction than other people. As a result, do not hesitate to ask mental health professionals if they have experience treating shopping addictions.
Remember that it is going to take some time for you to break free from your addiction. Your mental health professional is going to tell you about strategies you can use to control your impulses. He or she may also have recommendations for changes you can make in your lifestyle. Even if you do not see immediate results, keep going back for future sessions. If you dedicate yourself to your treatment sessions, you should be able to get control over your shopping. There is nothing wrong with shopping from time to time; however, you cannot allow it to take over your bank account and your life.
And if you feel like you need extra help, then reach out to recovery programs like Shopaholics Anonymous or Debtors Anonymous.
Final Thoughts on a Shopping Addiction
Ultimately, there are a lot of factors that play a role in a shopping addiction. Similar to other addictions, there are usually multiple causes. Therefore, it is important to take a well-rounded approach to stop a shopping addiction. Get a few of these strategies a try, and see if they can help you out.
Now, if you want to focus your mental energy on things that don’t cost money, then be sure to check out our article on the 17 valuable things that money can’t buy.
Finally, if you want to increase your happiness and life satisfaction, then watch this free video that details the 7-minute habit for planning your day to focus on what's important.