5 Steps to Help Shoppers Get Out of Debt

August 07, 2011 By: Janna Chin Category: Mind Body Spirit

Do you use shop therapy to feel better when you’re depressed? When you see something you want, do feel the need to buy it as if driven by an unseen force? Are you over your head in debt but keep on shopping anyway? Is your spending affecting your relationships and personal life? Do you find yourself feeling depressed and guilty after a big shopping spree?

If you have all or a few of the signs above, you may be a compulsive spender or “shopaholic”.

Psychologists have defined the compulsive spender as a person who occupies so much time shopping or thinking about shopping that it affects their life in an adverse way. This can lead to broken relationships, low self esteem, depression and guilt. Psychologists have also said that guilty feelings actually make the problem worse, turning it into a vicious cycle. Compulsive shoppers try and soothe the guilt and depression by going out and shopping….again.

Luckily, if you are a compulsive shopper, you are not alone. There are groups and meetings that can help support you in your endeavor to stop compulsive spending. I’ve also put together some tips to help you get your shopping under control.

The Root Cause

Most compulsive spenders aren’t shopping because they actually really want what they’re buying, but to cover up deeper emotions. So instead of channeling those emotional issues into shopping, find another way to cope. Talk to a friend or get some professional help.

Cash or Credit?

One of the easiest ways to overspend is just to swipe your card and charge it. When you aren’t actually handing over the cash, your brain doesn’t immediately process it as spending money. So instead of using your card, try to pay with cash as much as you can. You’ll be less likely to overspend when you can actually see how much you’re spending, right there at the register.

Track and Budget

Keeping track of your spending habits can really open your eyes as to how much you are actually spending. Seeing it down on paper and adding up the total makes you more conscious and more likely to make an effort to change your spending habits.

Sleep on It

Next time you want to buy something, wait 20 minutes before you check out (don’t worry, you don’t actually need to sleep on it!) Window shop or walk around the store while your brain gets over the initial excitement. After 20 minutes, you’ll be surprised to find out you probably don’t really want it anymore.

Expand Your Social Circle

Shopping is often the center of the shopaholic’s social life. If you channel your socializing into other activities, like nature, exercise and other hobbies, you’ll have less opportunity to overspend. Plus you’ll discover new activities that you may enjoy!

You may enjoy shopping as much as the next gal, but you can’t let it take over your life. So stick to these easy tips and you’ll find your debt go down while your bank account and circle of friends grow!

Janna Chin, M.A. is a Holistic Coach, ready to take you to the next level. Fill Your Cup Up, Inc.




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2 Comments to “5 Steps to Help Shoppers Get Out of Debt”

  1. Most people don’t shop because they actually require the physical item, but rather what it represents. For example, we buy more clothes because we want to feel glamorous or beautiful; we buy fancy cars because we want to be viewed as daring or young; we buy name brand furniture because we want to appear sophisticated. The minute we recognize this fact, the sooner we can find ways to validate our existence that do not include spending money. This is one easy way to stop compulsive shopping.

  2. Halina,

    You’re right =). There is an underlying emotional need that material things can not satisfy, yet it’s hard to stop shopping. We live in a very materialistic society that teaches us that success means having many things. The more you have, the more “successful” you are.

    The old saying, “Money can’t buy happiness” is true. When we search for happiness, the only thing that really brings us true happiness comes from within. We need to find our answers from within- with introspection and with a spiritual practice that cultivates love and compassion. When we feel love from within, there will no longer be a need for external validation or to shop for happiness.


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