Personal Finance

How to cure shopping addiction: the steps

cure shopping addiction

If you ask yourself the following questions: Am I addicted to buying? How do you recognize a shopping addiction? How to escape the consumerism? Our guide outlines the clear signs of shopping addiction and what you can actually do when you’re concerned and want to cure shopping addiction.

Cure shopping addiction: how does it start?

A short definition: Shopping addiction is an inner compulsion to constantly buy new things. It is one of the “non-material dependencies”, it is not an independently recognized disease.

Shopping addiction is widespread in this country and can actually hit everyone — all income and education layers are equally affected. Whether one suffers from consumerism or merely pursues excessive consumption is often a fluent transition. There are clear indications that there is a consumerism or there is a risk of an emerging consumerism.

Signs that someone is threatened by a consumerism and perhaps needs to cure shopping addiction:

  • Purchases are increasing noticeably. 
    Buying behavior shows a significant dose increase.
  • It is increasingly about “having”. 
    Buying a product is more about pure ownership than about the actual benefit of the product.
  • Shopping becomes a compensator. 
    Buying will compensate for or replace frustration, boredom, worry, lack of attention, loneliness, personal and / or professional issues, conflicts and difficulties.
  • It comes to buying frenzy situations. 
    There are more and more situations in which the person succumbs to a veritable frenzy and consume significantly more than was actually necessary.
  • Shopping becomes a habit. 
    Shopping is a hobby for many people. However, if this becomes a dull habit, in which the enthusiasm dwindles, that is a sign of a threat of buying addiction.
  • First financial problems occur. 
    The account balance slips, due to excessive consumption, more and more often in the minus range. Consumption is financed with borrowed money and / or the person lives, over a longer period, over their own existing financial resources.
  • Dispute over money in the partnership. 
    In the partnership or family there are more and more disputes about consumer behavior.
  • It’s about happiness when buying. 
    When buying the short-term happiness is in the foreground. The pure purchase experience is more and more satisfying.

Cure shopping addiction: serious signs

Clear signs that there is already a consumerism that should be taken seriously are:

  • Loss of control Recognizable senseless buying impulses are increasingly and inevitably on. The feeling that you are no longer in control of purchasing behavior becomes greater.
  • Increasing consumer debt
    More and more installment loans, 0-percent financing and the like bring the finances in a serious imbalance. 
  • Guilt and shame feelings
    It comes increasingly to feelings of guilt and shame, possibly to lies against fellow human beings. Buying takes place more and more secretly (eg on the Internet, by catalog or telephone), so that others do not notice.
  • Resources Problems
    Buying behavior creates pressure of suffering and requires more and more time and space, which can be expressed, for example, in the fact that the purchased items take up a large amount of space in the living space.
  • Social contacts are neglected
    Social relationships, leisure activities and hobby suffer from the buying behavior and its consequences.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms
    Significant withdrawal symptoms occur (eg sweating, shaking, inner restlessness, depression).
  • The job suffers
    The concentration and the associated work performance suffers. There may be more complaints from colleagues or supervisors.

Nine clear rules to help cure shopping addiction

Clear rules can help to cure shopping addiction
Clear rules can help to control a buying addiction.

If you want to retrain your buying habits, it makes sense that you set clear rules. Rules give you an orientation and help you leave your old behavior behind and establish a new one. The rules could be as follows:

  1. No more spontaneous purchases. 
    You should postpone any purchase decisions in principle and never buy directly. Make a rule of sleeping for at least one night.
  2. No consumer debt. 
    In principle, do not buy consumer goods based on debt (installment purchases, 0 percent financing and the like).
  3. No “anonymous” shopping. 
    No internet, telephone, catalog orders. Especially the anonymity of the Internet has greatly increased the problem of excessive consumption.
  4. Purchases must be planned. 
    Make a clear plan before buying what you need and what you want to buy. And then, of course, stick to it.
  5. It is (if possible) always paid in cash. 
    Pay with credit cards or online providers you should avoid. Cash gives you a completely different awareness of your buying behavior.
  6. A clear YES before every purchase. 
    Make it a ritual and ask yourself the question before every purchase: Do I really need that?
  7. There is a clear limit. 
    Define a fixed budget that can be used for your consumption and then no longer spend money on consumer goods.
  8. Avoid exaggerated external stimuli. 
    Avoid temptations and avoid consumption overstimulation of advertising (TV, shopping center). And especially: Avoid situations in which you have otherwise bought uncontrolled.
  9. No special offers anymore. 
    Most offer purchases are pointless and will lead you further into an addiction.

4 ways to get your shopping addiction under control

How do you manage to tame your desire to buy and to defeat the buying addiction step by step? Of course, to answer that, one has to distinguish between different reasons and situations from which one can slip into a shopping addiction. Now there are four ways for different situations that can help you to leave your shopping addiction behind:

1. Find alternatives to shopping

One reason for the emergence of unnecessary consumption (or buying addiction) is boredom . Shopping is now recognized as a hobby, does not make the shopping addiction problem easier. Hobbies are something you often and happily do. And every hobby can be addictive in some way.

That’s why you should first pay attention to what shopping is for you. Of course, shopping may be fun, but it must not just degenerate. The satisfaction you should ultimately not pull out of the purchase, but from the action (regardless of the purchase).

New hobbies are a sensible alternative to boredom shopping.
New hobbies are a sensible alternative to boredom shopping.

Secondly , it is important to establish other leisure activities in your life. Otherwise, staying bored only shopping and spending money. It’s all about having alternatives. To find satisfaction in other activities. New hobbies will help you come to other thoughts.

2. Focus on bigger financial goals

Another reason for slipping into a shopping addiction is indifference (or lack of drive). Anyone who has a big goal in mind is much more willing to give up short-term gratification. Exactly this is missing people with shopping addiction in the rule.

Therefore, it is important to find a new focus, to set new goals. And big goals that promote your own drive. This means not only financial goals, but also life goals.

If you are aiming for a big goal, you are much more willing to forego many, smaller expenses. The long-term enthusiasm is greater than the short-term satisfaction. In addition, by setting goals you get to know your own priorities better. As a result, it’s always easier to decide not to throw your money out the window, and instead keep it for a bigger purpose.

Without such a goal, your relationship with money will be rather indifferent. Then it is not worth the money to be kept. Then, by the way, a phenomenon that is called the “law of waste” …

3. Learn how to handle money

Lack of financial education is a real social problem. The handling of money is nowhere really shown. This can lead to a certain resignation or frustration … frustration because you feel ripped off because “there’s nothing left over anyway” and frustration because the topic of finance seems to run past you.

It is then easily consumed according to the motto: “If the money is always gone in the end anyway, then you can spend it again immediately (for things you would like to have or believe you want to have)”.

The topic of finance is annoying for many and is no fun at all. Consumption is then a possible compensation. The solution: Financial education, learning how to handle money and taking care of your own finances.

What does it mean to have your finances under control:

  • To be aware of where your money is flowing (to track expenses and to see how much you are spending).
  • To have clear budgets. (A budget of this may then also be provided for consumption.)
  • To have structure in the finances (to keep track of everything).
  • Having planned reserves and asset accumulation. So also for your own protection.

4. Recognize your true value

A very common reason that a consumerism arises is the desire for recognition. In our world, unfortunately, we get a lot of affirmation about external things. We live in a material world. If others have something, then it is normal for us to want the same. People want to belong to it.

But when we define ourselves, we lose our self-esteem and become even more prone to a craving for buying. That is why it is very important not to take your personal value out of material things.

Find people who will do you good and accept you for what you are and not what you own. Overall, you can learn to love yourself more. Answer the question: What’s great about you? What makes you adorable as a person?

It is often helpful to help other people (for example, in social projects) to better perceive their own value (excluding consumer goods).

What you can do if you need help

Getting help can be very valuable in a buying addiction.
Getting help can be very valuable in a buying addiction.

If you realize you can not break the switch alone then it makes sense to get professional help, for example from a specialist psychologist. The following options you can choose to not stand alone with your problem:

  • Trust someone. 
    Find people in your environment whom you can trust. Ask them to help you, to help you find and follow rules. People who talk to you and are there for you when you need help.
  • Find a support group. 
    Shopping addiction is an extremely common dependency. According to estimates, about every 20th person in Germany is at risk. A good support for those affected are self-help groups.
  • Therapeutic support. 
    If you can not make it on your own, then it is advisable to get help from the psychotherapist as part of a behavioral therapy.

Conclusion on how to escape the shopaholic trap

If you find that your consumption behavior is unhealthy, then you should not ignore it! You need to take steps to cure shopping addiction before it gets even worse and undermines your financial situation completely.

Whether you spend too much money or buy things you do not need, this behavior can become an addiction that can have existential consequences.

The most important tips:

  • Be honest with yourself and admit that you should change something.
  • Go open with the topic to get help if necessary.
  • Analyze your consumption behavior, be aware of how, when and where you spend your money.
  • Plan for a long-term, learn a new way to deal with money and set new goals. Goals that are worth changing your consumption behavior.
  • Should you notice that you do not come out of the addiction on your own, get help.

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