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When to Call Security On Your Shopping Habits

women shoppingMany people love to shop — the hunt for a bargain, the boost of energy they feel when they’ve made a good purchase, and the boost of self-esteem when they see how great a product makes them feel. It’s a reward to shop at times.

People who indulge in “retail therapy” too often, to boost their emotional levels (from feeling sad, anxious, angry, or otherwise upset) can soon find that they’re out of control and making less-than-ideal choices.

Spotting Unhealthy Habits

When things get out of hand, shopping can become an “addiction” of sorts. In order to determine if this has happened to a person, a short, simple questionnaire can help:

  1. Does the urge to shop come when the person is experiencing negative emotions?
  2. Does the person find it difficult to resist indulging in “retail therapy?”
  3. Does the behavior interfere with the person’s quality of life (e.g., feelings of shopper’s remorse, getting into financial debt from shopping, arguments with partner at home over spending, etc.)?

A person who can answer “yes” to any of these questions may have a shopping behavior problem.

Shopping Addiction Solutions that May Help

Discovering these unhealthy behaviors is a step toward self-improvement. Once the pattern of shopping “addiction” has been discovered, there are five steps a person can take to stopping it.

  • Step one: List the negative effects of shopping to feel better, and keep it in a visible location.
  • Step two: Make an inventory of the negative moods that set off a shopping spree. Seek help for these issues if they are not able to be resolved through self-help. Then, choose alternative courses of action for when those negative moods strike. Enjoy a walk, play a game, read a book, or call a friend instead of shopping.
  • Step three: Repeat step two, but replace environmental factors that trigger shopping sprees instead of emotions (e.g., being yelled at, fighting, or a disappointing change of plans). Plan out what to do in those situations instead of shopping.
  • Step four: Set reminders of long-term financial goals, and decide if shopping is more important than those goals. Make a clear statement on how shopping is costing delays in future plans, and how much it costs per month to engage in the behavior.
  • Step five: Finally, don’t procrastinate in stopping bad shopping behavior. Make a specific plan, follow the plan, and don’t wait.
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