“When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it’s not and I need to do it again.” – Sophie Kinsella, “Confessions of a Shopaholic.”

Are you a Shopping Addict?

Shop … spend money … bring bagfuls of purchases home … feel great. It’s normal, up to a point. Take a look at your recent excursions. Maybe you decided spontaneously to go shopping when you were feeling down, and those lovely purchases cheered you up. Maybe you shopped for one gorgeous party dress and ended up bringing home four.  Maybe your husband was irritated that you overspent not only your shopping budget but also his! We’ve all experienced such scenarios. So why are we talking about a shopping addiction? Fact: A typical outcome of most addictions is the achievement of a (temporary) emotional balance. This is no different from a shopping addiction. Based on research findings from the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, shopping addicts exhibit some or many notable, unusual characteristics. Let’s take a look at some of them. – Your uncontrollable shopping habits are destroying your relationships with others and bringing misery and disorder into their lives – You feel lost without your cheques and debit/credit cards – You feel like you’re drowning in a pool of debts and an immense financial crisis – You feel remorse and embarrassment after spending more than your share – You rely on renewed shopping to feel better again If all these characteristics or bad habits describe you, you are likely a shopping addict and should seek assistance promptly.

  • How to Curb Bad Impulse, Kick The Shopping Addiction and Curtail Spending using Psychological Tactics

You will need to exercise some willpower to quit your overspending habits. You can gradually become more financially wise. Remain determined to adhere to these tactics, and you will recover in no time at all. Get A Grip To Kick The Shopping Addiction First, adopt effective ways to get a grip on your overspending compulsion. Grab a notepad and start by calculating how much cash you’ll need to have with you for your weekly expenditures. Make sure your budget is realistic so that you don’t run out of money before the week ends. Separate out and use only your calculated amount of cash during the whole week. Keep track of all your transactions. If you deplete your cash before the week’s over, go back to your notepad and see where you may have wasted your money. Identify the excess expenditure and do not repeat the same mistake. If the extra spending was warranted, readjust your weekly budget. Hide Your Credit Cards & Avoid Temptation For more drastic cases, destroy or hide your debit/credit card. When you use only your cash in hand, you see exactly how much money you are spending. This will prevent overspending. Without actually seeing money being taken away in person, you would find it easier to spend money with cards or cheques, agreed? Learn to avoid the temptation to splurge by staying away from the seduction – make a detour around music stores, comic book stores, fashion outlets, big department stores or any other retail that you may succumb to. Divert your attention from these places by focussing on a hobby, exercising or doing some volunteer work. Tax Your Own Expenditures If you still feel the urge to overspend, trick your mind with some clever tactics. One recommended gimmick is to tax yourself on what you spend. Yes, tax your expenditures by compelling yourself to put aside a percentage of what you spent and keep it as savings. Delay the Gratification When you feel an uncontrollable urge to buy something, go to an online store and add the item to your wish list. Once a year, purchase an item from that wish list to keep yourself motivated and happy. Ask your family, a friend or anyone close to you for help and support in staying committed. Have them monitor your spending habits and advise you on your financial mistakes. When you feel like you simply do not own enough, go through your closets, kitchen cabinets, and refrigerators for any items you may have purchased but forgot about.  If you’re a shopping addict, you would probably have countless such items. You may be pleasantly surprised to find these things, so enjoy using them. If you find clothes that you no longer want, sell them online or in pop-up sales, or exchange them at swap parties.

  • How to Curb Spending on Entertainment and Leisure Activities

Take a careful look at your expenses. We tend to spend more than what is needed for entertainment and leisure activities. Switch to an inexpensive Freeview box after cancelling the satellite television channels that you don’t end up watching. Subscribe to magazines instead of buying them as single issues. Subscriptions cost less and usually come with monthly rewards. Instead of hanging out at expensive restaurants and new cafes, host meals or snacks at home, go camping or have picnics.

  • How to Kick The Shopping Addiction & Spending on Beauty and Health

You can save on beauty expenditures with a few strategies. For example, buy inexpensive and lesser-known perfumes and nail polishes instead of designer ones. They work just as well. In the shower, use a buff puff or sponge to lather up a larger surface area of the body. This reduces the amount of shower gel that you use.

  • How to Curtail Household Expenses

Keep a watchful eye on your domestic expenses to help you decrease your expenditures. Keep records of upcoming bills and payments on your calendar, and you will avoid forking out penalty payments for overdue balances. Grow your own vegetables. It is much cheaper than buying them from departmental stores. Support your flourishing garden by starting a compost heap, using food scraps to add nutrition to the soil. A variety of cleaning products can be replaced with cheaper white vinegar and soda water.

  • How to Cut Spending on Energy

Take a look at the amount of energy you waste. It follows that you are spending more money than you should. Saving energy can lower your monthly expenditures and contribute to the well-being of the environment. Begin saving energy by developing good habits, for example, turning off appliances or switches that eat up electricity even when you’re not using them. Make sure that your windows are closed when you have the air conditioner, or heater switched on. Clean your freezer every fortnight to rid it of ice that often forms around the edges of the door.

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).