Americans spend a lot of time shopping. For some, shopping is a one-in-a-while splurge for a piece of jewelry, a new outfit or a great pair of shoes. For others, the splurges are non-stop, creating cycles of euphoric highs followed by feelings of guilt. Perhaps you’re a shopping addict and you’re looking for help. If so, it’s time to impose tough restrictions on yourself in order to work through your addictive behaviors. Here are four tips to stop shopping addiction.
Close Credit Card Accounts
While some people may not recommend closing down credit card accounts for fear of negative credit ratings, overextending yourself financially – sometimes to the point of financial ruin – can be much more damaging. By closing the accounts, you will still be required to pay off your debt, but at least you can’t accrue more. Leave one card with a trusted friend or family member in case of dire need such as a medical emergency or car repair.
Use Cash or Checks
Use cash or checks when you shop for groceries and other necessities. Cash provides an advantage of actually seeing your money disappear as you spend it. Checks are an acceptable alternative because, as long as you use the ledger, you’re conscious of the money that’s leaving your account.
Never Shop Alone
It’s so easy to hide your purchases from family and friends when you shop alone. You blissfully pull items off the racks and shelves and pay for them, yet you often go home and hide the items due to feelings of shame or fear of confrontation. You can avoid this vicious cycle by taking a friend along on your shopping trip. Make sure it’s a financially responsible friend who can rein you in when you try to indulge in items that you shouldn’t have.
For some people, the temptations are too strong to handle alone. If you need help working through your shopping addiction, there are a number of 30 day rehab programs available. Some people may require medications such as antidepressants to manage depression or other mental disorders. Therapy may also be required to learn new coping techniques. Get the help you need without hesitation. There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it.
With these tips and the support of your family and friends, you can overcome your shopping addiction. Take care not to fall into old habits like shopping alone which may undo all your hard work. Your finances will begin to improve, as will your relationships that have been strained by your addictive behaviors.