A few years ago I used to be what you would call a shopaholic and its no lie I used to shop ALOT! Now that I look back I remember buying so many things that I didn’t really need at all! I was 19 years old when I maxed out my very first $1000 limit credit card. At the time I was only making around $9.50 per hour so even thought the limit of the card was $1000 I was constantly worried sick trying to figure out ways to pay off my debt. I was being reckless with my shopaholic habits. Even though I lived with my sister at the time,- I still had to pitch in and pay my part when it came to rent, internet, groceries etc. Clearly I was in no shape to be senselessly spending and going into debt for shoes, clothes and makeup!
Now that I am at a good place in my life I can look back and see where I went wrong. At the time I was dealing with so much in my personal life and I used my shopping as a temporary cover up.
Signs You Are a Shopaholic
1. Your bank account record shows waaaaaaay too many outgoing purchases.
2. You have UNWORN clothing and accessories (with tags still attached) handing in your closet or lurking in your dresser drawers!
3. You feel the need to buy the same item in different colors because why not have one of each!
4. Most (if not all) of the tabs that are open on your computer every day are for online shopping websites.
5. There’s a strong urge to spend money for no reason (that you can think of)!
6. There’s a sudden rush of excitement anytime you find something new to buy.
7. The rush you get from your many shopping trips or online purchases is short lived.
8. Your bills are not getting paid on time (because most of your money is spent shopping)!
9. You CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH CLOTHES, SHOES or BAGS! Not. Even. Possible.
Not all hope is lost though so don’t worry if you checked off more than one of the above bad habits. If you are a shopaholic there are ways that you can finally stop this destructive habit before it’s too late.
How to kick your shopaholic habit once and for all :
Think about your money as time. When I was at the height of my shopaholic habit I made ZERO connection between the hours I needed to work and the money I was spending on stuff I didn’t really need. I find that it really helps to think about your money in terms of how many hours you had to work in order to pay for the things you buy.
Whether you work an hourly or salaried job, you can easily make this connection.
Calculate how much you get paid per hour i.e If you make $30/hr and you buy sneakers for $480 then that means you had to work 16 hours to be able to buy those name brand sneakers!!! Crazy right?!
Start a budget worksheet. Keep track of your where your money is going. There’s a saying that goes: ‘You either tell your money where to go, or you won’t have any (or something along these lines)’. Track your outgoings each month and you will soon come to find where to stop the leak.
Know your weaknesses. Do you shop when happy, sad, bored? Take a look at yourself and how you tend to feel before you buy something that you don’t need. I tended to shop the most when I was upset or when something was bothering me so that was my trigger. What’s yours? Make a note of your emotional state and find healthier ways to deal with your trigger points.
Do not save your credit card information online. Remove all your credit cards from online shopping websites. I find that whenever I saved my credit card information to online retail sites I always overspent because all you have to do is push a button and ta-da! I bought something I wasn’t 100% sure I needed!
These days entering my credit card information online has caused me to double back and think to myself: Hmmmm do I really need this or is this yet another thing I just want to have that will end up collecting dust?
Avoid the mall. I don’t really go to the mall as much as I used to in my early 20′. Nowadays if I have to go to the mall I usually take a limited amount of cash and I also only go to the mall with a purpose and a list of what it is that I am looking for. Making a list has helped me to avoid impulsively buying things that I don’t need.
Try window shopping. If online shopping is your weakness then you can try online window shopping! What I do these days is I still surf through my favorite online stores and I put items in the cart then I close the browser. Usually I am able to sleep on it for a few days and whenever I come back to the same store I find that I no longer need to buy the items or that my shopping cart has been cleared! Problem solved!
Spend your money elsewhere. All those shoes, handbags, clothes etc. that I used to overspend on never made my life any better. Sure I looked great but I was also struggling at a $9.50/hr job and in credit card debt up to my neck! These days I would rather spend my money investing in my future. This is why I invest in select blogging online courses. I am investing in learning things that are going to better my financial future.
I want to grow and evolve instead of stay stagnant and just look good for the sake of looking good!
Ask for help. There is no shame in speaking to someone about your need to buy things. A shopping habit can be an indicator of issues that you haven’t dealt with. Search in your area for a registered psychologist, clinical counselor or support group if that’s what you need then do it! No shame in getting some help if you need it.
I hope this helps you out! There is nothing wrong with owning nice things. It’s okay to drive a nice car, wear quality clothing, designer sneakers etc. But it’s only good if you can afford to buy these things without going into debt and having to deal with all the stress that goes along with debt!
Having a shopping habit can affect your life in more ways than you know. Excessive shopping can prevent you from having a good financial future. -After all, shopping requires you to spend your money and you need your money so that you can save and invest in a better future.
Delayed gratification can really pay off in the long run. So in the words of Dave Ramsey I would rather ‘live like nobody else is living so that I can later on live like nobody else’.