How to Stop Shopping Your Way to Happiness

We provide comprehensive and compassionate mental health and wellness services to children, adolescents and young adults in California, Oregon and Alaska.

Request a consultation
How to Stop Shopping Your Way to Happiness
How to Stop Shopping Your Way to Happiness
Jul 25, 2022

How to Stop Shopping Your Way to Happiness

Retail therapy can be a great way to destress or reward yourself for some sort of success. However, if you're not careful, your shopping habits can quickly get out of control. You may find yourself constantly finding an excuse to buy something or never being able to pass up sales, discounts, or any coupons you may receive. Today, due to the internet, shopping is easier than ever. You can do it in a matter of clicks while sitting at home in your pajamas. 

Some people enjoy the act of shopping so much that they experience a rush of endorphins in their brain when they buy something. This experience, which can be compared to a sudden rush of happiness or excitement similar to drug use, is often short-lived and may later be replaced by guilt or regret. Because many individuals continue to seek that rush, they may find themselves engaging in frivolous spending or buying things they won't actually use and don't need. This can lead to debt and financial struggle. Luckily, this habit can be overcome. 

Consider Your Shopping Habits  

To determine if you have an unhealthy relationship with shopping, consider when you most often find yourself shopping. Do you do it when you're feeling lonely, depressed, or anxious? Do you feel as if you use shopping to fill a certain void in your life? If this is the case, you should look into alternative coping mechanisms that will not only be more effective but will also not lead you into financial hardship.

One of the best coping mechanisms to look into is practicing self-care. Self-care involves doing healthy activities to take care of your mental, emotional and physical well-being. Some examples include: 

  • Practicing yoga 
  • Sharing a cup of coffee with a friend
  • Taking a break from social media 
  • Spending some time out in nature 
  • Taking a relaxing bubble bath 
  • Reading a chapter of a book
  • Listening to soothing music 
  • Taking a walk or going on a bike ride 

To determine what sort of relationship you have with shopping, you'll also want to consider what you purchase when you do spend money. Are the purchases you are making necessary? Do they bring you joy or a sense of fulfillment? Are they useful? Do you think you'll continue using them after a week? What about a month? Is the item unique and you don't already have something similar? If the answer is no to any of these questions, you might need to re-evaluate your shopping habits. 

Keeping Track of Your Spending 

If you feel you have an unhealthy relationship with shopping, one of the best things you can do to manage your habits is to keep track of your spending. Go over your bank statements and see how much you spent on unnecessary items or impulse buys so you have an idea of how much excess money you're spending.

Once you've evaluated your purchases, made a budget for yourself. Consider how much you'll need to spend during a month on the necessities like your mortgage or rent, gas, student loans, groceries, and utility bills. After that, subtract these items from your salary or usual wages. Then, look at what's leftover and determine how much of that amount you want to save and how much you can set aside as “fun money,” or money you can spend on things you don't necessarily need. Do your best to make sure that you stay within that spending limit every month. 

To help hold yourself accountable, use a budgeting app or work with a financial advisor who can help you develop smarter spending habits. 

Additional Spending Tips 

Some additional spending tips to ensure you have a healthy relationship with shopping include: 

Unplug

Unsubscribe from promotional emails or app notifications. You don't need to be constantly in the know about every sale or discount that is going on. When you're not constantly being bombarded with these types of notifications, you'll be less likely to take part in these sales. 

Don't Buy on Impulse

Take the time to research and learn about the product before you get it. Look into reviews and see what other people are saying about it. Consider how much you'll use it and if it is really worth the price. You could even take a picture, wait a week, and see if you still want or need it then.

Do the Math

Consider how much of your paycheck will be put toward this product and put things into perspective. For example, if you work hourly and it's going to take a full day's worth of pay to cover the cost of this item, it may no longer be worth it to you. 

Shopping can be a fun way to unwind or to treat yourself from time to time. However, if you're not careful you may find your shopping habits getting out of control. You may be engaging in frivolous spending or buying things you don't really need. This can lead to problems like debt and financial strain. If you often shop when you're feeling stressed or sad, look into healthier ways to find relief. This could be by practicing self-care or reaching out to a therapist. At SokyaHealth, we want to help you achieve better mental health starting. Our licensed therapists can coach you using our secure and convenient online platform to say goodbye to unhealthy spending habits and hello to healthy coping mechanisms for when your mental health is suffering. Call (877) 840-6956 today to learn more about how Sokya can help.