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How to beat shopping addiction

Maya Hayakawa

The enemy of a simple and frugal life is the impulse buy. We have all at some point, bought something out of impulse – completely out of our original budget. It can be extremely difficult to fight the urge to buy something on impulse once it is inside of us. All reasoning goes through the window when it comes to impulse buying.

The problem with impulse buying is that while you think it is just that ONE time, it gets addictive. Then thereafter, you keep buying and buying. At the end of the week, month and even a year, you get slapped with heavy bank statements, baffled at how you lost control. Here are a couple of tricks you can keep up your sleeves to help you avoid impulse shopping.


A strategy to help you slow things down is to give yourself a time rule. Stick a reminder on your refrigerator or mirror, or even your mobile phone to remind you of the item that you think you want to buy. Give yourself a window period of 30 days before actually making the purchase.

Thirty days is a good window period as it gives you time to determine whether you really want or need whatever it is you had the urge to buy. During this period, you may change your mind, and discover that you really don’t want that item all that bad.

At the end of your waiting period, if you still really have the desire to buy the item, then you can consider doing so. The 30 days also works as an opportunity for you to save for the item. That way you don’t feel the pinch as much because it is factored in your next month’s budget.9


Impulse buying often is emotionally driven. Shopping can elicit positive emotions within an individual, which explains why many shoppers tend to spend the most when unhappy. 

If you are angry, sad or stressed, avoid making any purchases in these extreme emotional states, as your judgment could be clouded. Look for other inexpensive alternatives to cheer you up, like hanging out with friends, or simply watch a movie.

Remind yourself during these times that an emotion does not stay an emotion forever. You eventually will get out of that negative space. Also, remember that spending money, which you had not previously planned for, could in the end add to your stress, which is not good for your emotional well-being.

Let your emotions settle before making a purchase. There are healthier ways to dealing with these overwhelming emotions. Consider those options as an alternative to shopping. 


Technology has certainly changed our day-to-day lives. Online shopping has without a doubt revolutionised the way we shop. Shopping has never been so easy, especially in this day and age where all we need to do to purchase an item is to click a button.

If you are a serious impulse buyer, you may want to consider blocking shopping websites, and don’t even think about downloading a shopping app on your phone. Shutting these out helps you avoid the temptation of shopping.

Out of sight, out of mind! If you really do enjoy the convenience of shopping online, give yourself a budget to stick to, and perhaps limit the number of times you allow yourself to shop online. You could even choose to give yourself a certain day each month where you allow yourself to splurge a little. This gives your spending some control and structure.


 An impulse shopper plus multiple credit cards is a recipe for disaster. If you don’t have good discipline, then you should not in the first place have any credit card. However, if you do have multiple credit cards, do avoid carrying them in your purse, especially when you plan to go to the mall.

Keeping them out of your reach will save you from spending way too much.  If you plan to go on a shopping spree, give it a bit of structure by only carrying cash to the store. Spending real cash that is tangible in your hands will remind you of all the hard work you have put in to earn that cash, and you are therefore likely to be more mindful of how you spend it.


If self control is hard enough alone, can you imagine with a group of shopping addicts? If you have impulse-shopping buddies, it can be incredibly easy for them to convince you to buy things you had not planned for.

Socialising is of course an important aspect of life, which brings meaning and joy to our lives. Limit socialising time for leisure activities, which you have set aside in your budget. This can be a very simple but quite cost effective strategy, leaving both your heart and wallet a happy bunch.

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