Photo courtesy Mohamed Hassan on Pixabay.
Everyone loves shopping and looking around for great deals appears very exciting. There is nothing wrong with getting goods and items at a discount. Pursuing a great deal makes people appear smart and they love to pick items that have value at a good price.
Bargaining provides joy to many people and they can’t imagine shopping without wrangling a deep discount though they may be quite well off. There exists a market for products that the shopkeepers and dealers could not sell and often these items are sold at a discount.
Everyone would have heard of a famous saying by inventor Benjamin Franklin “A penny saved is a penny earned.” The money saved in these deals can be utilized elsewhere is the refrain. But with frequent shopping and hunting for discounts, people often end up with more than they need. They don’t buy for their immediate requirements but often buy when they find the price compelling. In this way, people have their houses filled with clothes, crockery, electronics items, and other things that anyone can imagine, without any immediate use.
Over a period of time, bargain hunting becomes addictive. Now looking for the next great deal becomes an addiction. The call for practicality is given a goodbye even when people find it difficult to keep the newly purchased items. When a person enters a shop they are bombarded with information and displays that make them think that they are paying less for than what they are getting. When a person becomes addicted to discounts it doesn’t matter what they are purchasing since the most important thing is the discount they are getting. When something carries a discount of 30% the person thinks that they have saved 30%, but what they don’t realize is that by not buying the item that is not needed, they can save 100%.
So what begins as hunting for discounts now turns into a shopping addiction which is not a new problem and has been recognized almost a century back. There are many forms of addiction and shopping addiction is one of them. It is connected with the emotional difficulties and pains of life. The people who develop this form of addiction spend more time shopping than they should and often get into financial difficulties. People often shop to cope with their stress even when it affects them financially and this results in relationships getting spoilt. Compulsive shoppers visit shops and malls to escape negative feelings like boredom, anxiety, or anger, and much of their time is spent thinking about shopping, planning for shopping, and going shopping itself.
There are different types of people who get addicted to shopping; the ones who do shopping during stress, there are others who try to seek attention by buying new flashy things, then there are the bargain hunters who do shopping even when the things are not needed and there are the collective shoppers who try to have complete sets of things like one shirt or sari in each color.
How to cope with compulsive shopping?
- Never shop when you are upset and only go when you are in a good mood.
- Before making a purchase stop and think for a minute or two if the item you are going to purchase is really needed.
- Don’t go shopping with peers who are into a habit of frequent shopping and only shop with friends and relatives who are not compulsive shoppers as this will curb your spending habits.
- Unsubscribe from the email lists and social media accounts where you get updates on the new products in the market. This will help you in getting on top of your spending habits. Remember that there are others in this world too who survive without the help of these emails and social media accounts that promote new items.
- You may have many credit cards for online purchases. Keep the cards to a minimum or better still keep a small amount of cash with you for emergency purposes so that you don’t shop frequently.
- Prepare a budget and track all the bills. When you prepare a budget you will know how much you can shop around for necessary items. Cut down on the list of items you don’t need. Preparing a budget and keeping up with the bills will surely take time but it would save you from heartburn at the end of the month and prevent spoiling your relationship due to overspending.
- Try to pay for items in cash. This will involve you going to the ATM to collect the cash as against the credit card which is much more convenient to pay from the comfort of your house. When you physically count the cash it would make you aware of how much you are spending; rather than the cards which make it effortless and you will have to pay for it at the end of the month. If you don’t pay the full credit card bill you may end up paying a lot of interest. Paying in cash will make you more aware and may help in reducing shopping addiction.
- Develop hobbies that don’t cost money. Talk to family members and share common interests that will prevent the urge to go shopping. Keep yourself engaged with your hobby and you will find that you have less time for shopping.
- You may find it useful to take financial counseling if you have run into debts. Take the help of a financial advisor, make plans to pay off the debts, and keep money in less accessible accounts so that you are not able to splurge at will.
Purchasing goods and items at a bargain is a good idea but falling into the habit of compulsive shopping is not. If you think that you have become a compulsive shopper take the help of your family and come out of the problem. This would make your future secure when you manage your finances in a planned way.