Hold Your Horses! Retraining Your Compulsive Shopper Brain

Many people struggle with compulsive shopping, which could basically be defined as an addiction to shopping and buying items.

People who struggle with this issue will experience a rush or “high” when they buy something new. Unfortunately, they’ll often do anything to get this rush, which can cause them financial problems and other issues. Many compulsive shoppers have to refinance loans, file for bankruptcy, and take other major steps to get back on track.
Whether you’re at that point or not, it’s important to learn to curb your compulsive shopping. A great start is to seek professional help from a qualified therapist, preferably one who has experience with compulsive shopping. Beyond that, however, there are some helpful tips you can try on your own.

Hide Your Credit Cards

Many compulsive shoppers will charge the items they purchase. However, if you don’t have your credit card with you, you can’t do that. In this case, you can only buy what you can afford to pay for in cash. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t carry a lot of cash with you.

For this reason, hiding your credit cards from yourself can be a step in the right direction. You can put them somewhere in your home and not take them out with you. Or, if you don’t have good self control, leave them with a trusted friend or family member or get rid of them altogether.

Hiding those cards and removing their buying power from your life might be difficult at first. However, it’s an easy way to curtail spending that’s just starting to get out of control. This method isn’t foolproof, but if you can commit to getting rid of the cards and carrying only a small, reasonable amount of cash with you each day, it can really help.

Think it Over

Whether you ditch the credit cards or not, it’s a good idea to think carefully about each and every purchase you make.

Most compulsive shoppers are impulsive shoppers. This means that they don’t just go into a store and buy what they planned to buy. Instead, they suddenly find items that they feel they just have to have and buy them there, spontaneously.

These impulsive purchases really add up over time, but, if you can take the “impulse” out of it, you can save yourself a lot of grief. Commit to waiting a set amount of time- try thirty minutes to start- before buying an item. This will give you time to think over whether you really need and/or want the item and can sometimes curb bad shopping decisions.

Determine the Underlying Cause

Finally, keep in mind that compulsive shopping habits are really just a symptom of a larger, more significant problem. Thus, if you’re going to stop compulsive shopping for good, you have to get to the root of the issue.

Working with a counselor will help a lot. Aside from that, though, always ask yourself why you’re shopping. Do you feel sad or depressed? Perhaps your relationships are unsatisfying or you are coping with a lot of stress? Whatever the case may be, when you get to the root, it’s easier to really target the problem and put an end to it for good.

Compulsive shopping is a very serious addiction that many people struggle with. However, by following these tips and working with a professional, you can slowly but surely tackle this issue.


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