We have all been there. You are browsing through an online store, and you come across something that looks amazing, but you know you can’t afford it. So, what do you do? You put it in the cart anyways. Many people don’t know how to stop their online shopping addiction.
Many have been in this situation before and tried everything possible to stop buying unnecessary things. But nothing worked! You kept buying them anyway and ended up spending more money than you had planned.
If this is true for you, I have some good news. This article will help you with tips on how to stop shopping and start living more peacefully.
How Can I Stop the Shopping Habit?
It’s a dangerous habit to develop, but many of us are drawn to the temptation of online shopping. And it’s not just about the convenience — some people use shopping as a way to escape their problems. So, if you’re a compulsive shopper, it’s time to take an inventory of your shopping habits and make some changes.
Here are some tips on how to stop shopping:
Create a Budget
Creating a budget and sticking to it is a great way to avoid overspending. Go through your last few months’ of expenses and identify which areas you are spending the most money. Separate them into different categories based on needs and wants. It’s also essential to ensure you’re not spending money on things that don’t matter as much as essentials like food or lodging, as those are often more expensive than other purchases.
If you’re going to shop, figure out how much you can afford. Figure out the difference between what you want to spend on groceries, clothes, and other items and what you can afford. You may have more money left over at the end of each month than you thought. If that’s the case, try setting aside some for savings and investing.
Practice Walking Away and Re-Visiting
When shopping, make sure you take time between impulse buys to think about whether or not they need to be purchased. You can also walk away from the store and come back later if something isn’t working for you — or even look at it again without buying it right now (and then decide whether or not it’s worth buying in the future).
Typically, when I want to make an online purchase, I add the items to my cart and let it sit there for a few days. During that time, I’ll weigh the pros and cons of the purchase. Usually, after a few days, I’ll realize that I don’t actually need the product or service I originally wanted. Sometimes, I even forget I had it in my cart.
Once you’ve figured out how much money you must spend on groceries and other non-essential items, go ahead and shop! But don’t buy anything unless you’re sure it’ll fit your budget. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is — so walk away from the sale rack if necessary.
Block The Online Shopping Sites
Some people who have trouble controlling their spending are drawn to online shopping sites like Amazon or eBay because they offer free shipping and no sales tax. But these sites also tend to offer deals that aren’t available in stores nearby.
And if there’s one thing that can cause people to overspend, it’s clicking “buy” on every single item every time they visit an online retailer (like Amazon). To help curb this behavior, block some of your favorite websites from showing up in search results so they won’t tempt you.
Every Time You Buy Something, Sell or Donate Something
Start by asking yourself: “What do I buy that isn’t truly needed?” Then sell or give away something every time you make a purchase. For example, if you buy a new shirt at the store, sell an old one instead at Buffalo Exchange, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, etc.
If you get free food at work, donate food from your pantry. It can be easy if you live in an apartment building where all the other tenants have a similar system of sharing resources. Or perhaps you live in a house with other families who are also trying to live more sustainably.
Consider Shopping Online Without Buying
It may sound like a no-brainer — but if you’re anything like me, it’s easier said than done! If you’re struggling to stop buying things, try this: when you go shopping, keep track of the things that catch your eye and note why they caught your eye.
Maybe you saw something in a store window that gave you an adrenaline rush that made you want it but didn’t have enough cash on hand — now is the time to go back again after work or during your lunch break (or both). Once again, keep track of what catches your eye and why it caught your eye — once this becomes routine, it will become easier over time!
Keep Yourself Busy
When they are bored, many people check the internet to make themselves feel good. Maybe you’re in a long queue at the grocery store, waiting to pick up your kids from school, or at the doctor’s office. It often leads to idle web browsing and eventually to an e-commerce site, where it could be tempting to make a quick purchase to pass the time.
Always keep a different kind of entertainment on hand to avoid boredom while shopping and help you set boundaries. For instance, while waiting for your kids, pick up that book from your car that you’ve meant to read. Visit YouTube to gain new knowledge. Keep a journal and record some of your ideas or worries for the day. Enjoy a terrific audiobook or podcast.
Talk casually to the individual seated next to you. Additionally, avoid browsing retailer websites on your phone’s browser if it might make you feel compelled to buy things.
Make Yourself Wait for Food
Waiting is an excellent way to prevent overeating because it can help you have time to think about what you’re eating and how much of it is healthful for you. When you wait for food, you’ll also give your brain time to realize that the hunger pangs are over and that there is no need for immediate gratification by eating something else before the meal is ready or packed away in the fridge or freezer.
Establish Specific Shopping Times
Since most people spend more time at home, they are constantly tempted to shop online on their laptops, tablets, and phones. But does it mean you always shop if you’re never really not shopping while you’re online?
Here, there is no need for an existential crisis. The point is that you might want to think about restricting your online purchases to specific hours or days. For instance, perhaps you can check what you need for food preparation over the weekend on Wednesday nights, or maybe you treat yourself to a shopping spree on Saturday night. The intention is for you to make fewer impulse shopping each week.
Set aside specific times throughout the week for in-person shopping for groceries and other essentials you need. Also, make a shopping list of things that need getting done. It will prevent impulse buys during those times and save money by avoiding impulse buys at other times throughout the week — plus, it helps keep your home clean!
Unsubscribe From Shopping Sites
The best way to stop shopping is to unsubscribe from the websites such as Amazon Prime that send you retailer emails and text messages while browsing online. It will block all online sales ads, offers, and marketing messages in your inbox.
You can use your time more efficiently by focusing on what’s important to you instead of being distracted by advertising messages. You can also sign up for services like RescueTime or Evernote that can block out time-wasting websites so they don’t appear in your list of tabs while you’re working.
Remove Your Credit Cards from Online Retailers
If you use a checking account or credit card for all your purchases at Amazon, Apple, or any other retailer, it’s easy to get sucked into buying things you don’t need just because it’s there — especially if it’s free shipping!
The best way to stop the online shopping habits is simply by not saving your credit card information with the retailer. There have been times where I didn’t go through with a purchase simply because I did not have my credit cards close by.
Alternatively, take money out of your wallet before heading off to the store. Bring cash instead of plastic if there’s no time for food or coffee between errands (you can even use a debit card). It’ll save you money over time and won’t be as tempting if there aren’t any sales happening!
Only Buy What You Need
It’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of the hunt or the convenience of having something right there when you need it but this isn’t how most people should be spending their money. Shop intentionally by only buying what you need; remember that you can make things last longer by using them instead of replacing them with new ones.
For example, instead of buying cases of water every month, get a reusable water bottle and a Brita filter. Not only does this save you money in the long run, it’s also great for the environment!
Consider Using Only Cash
Credit card companies have convinced us that it’s okay to spend more money than we have on hand, but if we don’t have any cash on hand, then no amount of credit will help us out financially so why not just use some money?
You’ll save yourself from having to pay interest charges on your balance (which can add up), plus it’s just more practical than using plastic when it comes time for paying bills and buying things in stores.
Watch Stress Spending
The way we shop today is all about stress-buying. We buy something just because we can, not because it makes sense for us or the planet. The more impulse purchase you make, the more stressed out and anxious you get because so many options and choices are available to us at any given moment, from social media to our favorite websites or apps. All of which provide us with an endless stream of new things to buy or look at that aren’t necessarily good choices for ourselves or our planet (or both).
Adopt a Saving Habit for What Matters
An important step to curb your spending is to adopt a saving habit for what matters. What does that mean? It means you need to learn how to say no. Even if you could feel like you can’t live without the newest appliance or article of apparel, it will be challenging to acquire them if you don’t have the money to do so.
It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of consumerism. But when you’re constantly buying things you don’t need, you’re only feeding your credit card debt and wasting your money. If you want to stop shopping, start by adopting a saving habit for what matters — those things that will make a difference in your life.
Give Yourself an Allowance
Shopping is much more enjoyable when you have some money left over at the end of the month and aren’t forced to feel guilty about it. So instead of just saying no, give yourself an allowance.
If you’re going shopping this weekend and haven’t got any money left, decide how much you can spend before payday and add that amount to your bill. Then when payday comes, put whatever is left into savings. That way, you don’t have to feel like a bad person if you go out and spend some money on something frivolous, but at least you won’t feel so guilty about it!
Why Is It So Hard to Stop Shopping?
It’s normal to feel guilty about spending money, especially if you’ve been saving for something special or have just been given an unexpected windfall. But if you feel like you’re shopping more than necessary, or if you’re always looking for the next deal, then it’s time to take a step back and examine what’s going on with your finances.
Several factors can contribute to this problem:
You Aren’t Comfortable with Who You Are
You might feel like a failure because of your financial situation or feel embarrassed about your lack of income or savings. The truth is that everyone has something they need to work through before they can indeed be happy with themselves. So, focus on finding things that make you happy instead of worrying about money (and remember: if there’s no money involved, there’s no pressure).
You Get a Sense of Belonging
Shopping is a social activity. You can feel connected to other people by going out with friends or family and having fun together. However, when you don’t shop, all that goes away, and there’s no one else to share life with. That loneliness can leave you feeling hopeless about finding happiness in life otherwise.
It’s Not Just About the Online Shopping Habit
It’s about the way we shop and what we buy. We want to be like other people, which means we want to be able to do things that they can do. And if they can shop, so can we.
It’s a Great Way to Escape from Problems
If you’re having trouble at work, you go shopping (or go on Facebook). If your relationships aren’t going well, you might go shopping instead of talking to the people who matter most in your life (or maybe even speak to them!). In many ways, shopping is like a drug: it makes us forget our problems temporarily while giving us something new and exciting to focus on.
You Love the Anticipation of Shopping
It’s especially true if something is on sale or there are salespeople around! The excitement of knowing what will happen next can make you forget how much money is being spent on things that aren’t needed (or even wanted).
You’re Trying to Escape from Something
When you cannot stop shopping, you likely want to get away from something. Maybe you are stressed out and don’t feel like doing anything. Or perhaps you want to take a break from your responsibilities and do something fun. When we can’t stop shopping, we need a break from our current situation.
Why Can I Not Stop Buying Things?
It’s a question that has plagued many of us at some point or another. Like most people, you might have been guilty of this at least once in your life.
The answer is simple: human behavior is predictable and sometimes even self-defeating. The problem isn’t that we’re inherently bad people; our brains are wired to do the opposite of what we want them to do.
Brain research has shown us that humans are naturally motivated by rewards and punishments, not by logic and reason alone. We’re especially susceptible to these motivators when we’re feeling stressed or anxious; this is why many people turn to shop to escape their problems.
But no matter how hard you try to resist; the urge will always win over your good judgment. You can’t stop yourself from buying something because that would require a change in who you are as a person—and before long, you’ll find yourself back where you started: feeling like a failure for not being able to control your impulses.
What Should I Do Instead?
The perfect solution to avoid this problem is by taking control of your spending habits. Also, consider allowing those biological urges and the root cause that affect you, which lead you to spend money on things that provide you momentary pleasure but cause you grief in other parts of your life (like spending money on food).
What Happens When You Stop Shopping?
A lot of great things will happen when you stop the excessive shopping habits as listed below:
You’ll Witness Better Relationships in Your Life
When you stop shopping, you’ll have more time for the people that matter to you. You won’t be so stressed about buying things for them or worrying about whether or not they like the gift you chose. You’ll also be able to set aside more money for them without feeling guilty about it.
You Save Money
When you stop shopping, you begin saving money that would have been spent at a retailer. This extra cash can be used for other things down the line, like home improvements or even paying off debt.
You’ll Have More Money to Invest
Look at it this way: when was the last time you bought something on impulse? It probably wasn’t very long ago. If you stopped shopping and invested that extra money instead (or if the sales were good enough), it could turn into a windfall!
You Become More Appreciative
You will learn to appreciate things that don’t cost money when you quit buying unneeded items. Material possessions do not determine happiness. In life, countless lovely things are free.
You’ll Feel Better About Yourself
You’ll feel better about yourself once you stop purchasing pointless items. You’ll have an entirely new perspective on life and yourself. You won’t be held captive by the temptation of wasteful spending any longer.
The Bottom Line Tame the Spending Habit!
As you can see, there are several ways to stop the bad habit of unnecessary purchases and save money. The first thing to do is to commit to yourself that you will not shop until you have saved up the money. If you want something and can’t afford it, don’t buy it. It’s better than buying something you don’t need or don’t like.
Also, if you are having trouble keeping track of your spending, try keeping a diary of all your purchases for a week or two. This will help you see how much money is being spent and where it is going. You may want to put this information on a spreadsheet to see how much money is being spent each month. Also, consider professional financial advice as it will significantly help you tame the urge to impulse purchases.