Escape, entertainment and rejuvenation are the usual reason for engaging in retail therapy. And while it may prove effective for some, no, it is not for everyone. Not everyone has a hefty bank account. If you constantly go for some retail therapy every time you feel the blues, then chances are you will end up broke. Also, people with underlying problems almost always will obsess about it. When it happens, it becomes more of a problem than a therapy.
Using shopping as a coping mechanism to withstand pressure or great stress can prove problematic, since the problem itself is not being addressed, but rather buried away under a pile of bills and receipts. Avoiding the real issue through splurging is never a good move. Emotional spending just becomes an obstacle standing between the person and the solution to his problems.
For people who are better off from engaging in retail therapy, here is Lynnette Khalfani-Cox’s (The Money Coach), “8 Ways To Stop Emotional Spending”:
- Leave the credit cards at home. As a matter of practice, leave your credit cards at home more often than not. Having credit cards, charge cards and retail department store cards in your wallet or purse makes it easy to make spur-of-the-moment shopping trips.
- Use the “24-hour Rule”. When you see something expensive that you think you “must” have. For an unplanned purchase, be willing to wait for just one day, and tell yourself that if you still really want the item, you can always go back and get it the next day.
- Set a budget. It’s fruitless to simply say “Just don’t shop!” If it was that easy, no one would have a shopping problem. To combat the emergence of the problem, and keep your finances intact, give yourself permission to do some shopping – within reason. Set a realistic budget.
- Enlist the help of friends and family. Take a buddy shopping with you who will not let you go overboard. That friend should know your budget or your spending limit for that particular outing. Then it’s the friend’s job to get you out of the mall or away from the stores once you hit your limit.
- Limit shopping trips to “emotion-neutral” times. Be aware of your emotional state at all times, and make a pledge that you will not shop when your emotional state is off kilter. This means forgoing shopping trips when you feel any kind of emotional extreme – like elation, sadness or depression.
- Channel your energy. Find alternative things to do to replace your shopping trips. Channel your energy into more positive activities like exercising, reading or pursuing a different passion or hobby.
- Get to the root of the problem – and recognize your emotional spending “triggers”. You can also get a handle on your impulse shopping binges by preventing them in the first place – or learning why your spending is out of control.
- Join a support group for shopaholics. Lastly, for serious shopaholics, try joining a support group.