“I Overcame a Shopping Addiction” + the 6 Tricks I Used to Get Better

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It's no secret that back in college I once had a shopping addiction so large, I ended up with $10,000 in credit card debt by age 21.  Even though I was young, how did I do it? How was I able to classify a bad behavior from a simple tendency to overspend? 

It was a one-two punch of working with a therapist to discover the root of my issue and identifying my spending triggers. Once my work with her was complete, then I had the tough task of actually sticking to my training and what I learned. Below are anecdotes from my own battle with a shopping addiction and how I'm able to live my life now, some ten years later with relatively few online purchases. 

 

The Beginnings of A Shopping Addiction

 

I know that for me my little “habit” started out with shopping before and after my shifts at my mall job and spending close to $200 a week on clothes. This was an average. I took some breaks, but I remember a large part of the leisure time of my youth and even into my college years being spent shopping at the mall. 

Depending on your income, you may not blink an eye at that number. But if you add the numbers up when I was nineteen years old I spent close to $800 a MONTH on clothes, or $9,600 a year. Ridiculous. I don't spend that now as a working adult; all told I spend around $1800 annually on clothes and dry cleaning, which is around 2% of my ~75k salary. (If you're interested, you can read more details on how I spend my income in a Redbook Magazine article about me here.)

But I think the shift from fun, happy-go-lucky shopping trips to the “this behavior may be a problem” thoughts occurred when I was out shopping same-as-always, but I realized I was returning a large portion of my items days or weeks later.  

 

When I Knew I Had a Problem

 

The first two years of college I worked in a retail clothing store (remember those?), so it didn't seem too out of the ordinary that I was shopping a lot. Working at the mall, I was constantly surrounded by beautiful clothes.

After I transferred schools in 2007 and started working at a Doctor's office, I spent considerably less time in the mall, but by 2007, online shopping became “the thing” and I spent countless hours of my downtime scouring websites for the next great deal.

By the end of 2007 I'd (nearly) maxed out my cards and had terrible credit. (Check yours for free, here.)  I remember one week I had $30 dollars left to last until my next payday and instead of buying groceries (Which I desperately needed) I bought the UGLIEST purse while out shopping with a friend because I felt like I absolutely had to buy something before I left the store. Said ugly purse came home with me because I convinced myself I loved it, and it never left the back of my closet after that day.

 

I call this burn-and-return behavior shopping bulimia. 

And maybe that's crass, but it's what it reminds me of. Indulging, then purging. Feeling the high then bringing it back in line. 

Those purchases weren't bringing the same joy as they used to, and I knew this..but I just couldn't stop shopping. It felt too good.

In the coming weeks, I'd look at that purse and go, “Why did I do that?” and feel, a bit of shame. This is when I knew I had a problem with compulsively shopping.  

 

What's so wrong with shopping then returning?

 

Some argue that shopping bulimia isn't really all that bad. After all, you're getting your money back, right? (That is, IF You end up returning the items and they give you cash back instead of store credit or something.)

 

But the fact of the matter is that even if you return the items, the desire to purchase impulsively and overspend is still alive and well in your heart. And one day that urge will meet its favorite kissing cousin, low willpower.

 

You'll be out shopping after a bad day, or you'll be tired or bored (or both), or mulling over something someone said that upset you and suddenly you are taking home a bunch of stuff you don't need and USING IT, even though you never wanted it in the first place.

And even if you return the bulk of the items and keep only the ones you love… those little purchases add up over time, and suddenly you are swimming in a sea of credit card debt.

 

 

Other Signs of a Shopping Addiction

 

Consistently Spending More than you Can Afford 

 

If you can't pay your bills and still continue to go to the mall or make online purchases, this is probably the biggest clue that a) you have a shopping problem, b) you can't afford your lifestyle and c) aren't living your best life. 

Shopping addiction = buying and then returning items more than once a week 

I could give two flying squirrels if you bought it on sale or “got a really good deal.”

 

We all love a good deal. But shopping isn't truly satisfying unless you're bringing items home, using them, and mindfully enjoying how you spend the money.

Sure, maybe you bought something and then at home don't like the way it looks or realized you don't have anything in your closet to wear it with, that's okay.

It's a consistent pattern of this behavior for which we're on the lookout!

 

A closet full of clothes (or closet full of tech gadgets…pick your poison) still unused with the tags on.

This sign is indicative that you're not even using what you buy and that you'll end up giving away a lot of stuff you don't need. 

 

A tendency to “shop your feelings.”

 

 I'm sure we're all guilty of buying ourselves a little “pick me up” or “treat for working hard.” Everyone deserves a break or something special every now and again, (#TREATYOSELF) but my point here is that if you find yourself exclusively shopping or making significant purchases when you've had a bad day or are upset about something, it's probably worth it to pay attention to that behavior and figure out other ways to heal yourself emotionally. 

 

Lots of credit card debt and you don't know how you got there.

 

There is a difference between having a real emergency, not having an emergency fund, and having to put those expenses on a credit card. But if you wake up one morning and find yourself in thousands of dollars of debt and genuinely can't recall how you got there..it's probably time to acknowledge your shopping addiction. 

You can take a look in your closet at all your beautiful things, but I promise that once you're in a big debt hole, it will not feel like you got your money's worth.

 

 

6 Ways to Get Over Shopping Addiction

 

  • I sought out the help of a therapist and together we began to explore my range of feelings, from everything that was really bothering me to passing annoyances.
  • One of my assignments was to keep a journal of those feelings and what I did in the moments after those feelings came over me.
  • Armed with this knowledge, we then began to craft a certain set of spending triggers and behaviors that I live by even still and find them very useful for others with spending/shopping issues.

 

 

Figure out what kind of shopper you are

 

 

Gretchen Rubin covers this theory in her book, The Happiness Project, (one of my most restorative reads this year.) In the chapter on money, she writes that people usually fall into one of two camps: the underbuyers and the overbuyers. Essentially, people fall into two camps when buying the basics: they buy too much so they never run out, or they don't buy enough. 

For example: I’ll splurge in cash on a last-minute vacation somewhere, but I barely have enough socks. And my bras…well, let’s just say they’re past the expiration date.

  • Me: No bras and socks (Under-buyer)
  • My husband, Rich: Always with five backup tubes of toothpaste (Textbook Over-buyer)

 

While over-buyers can run the risk of overspending on unnecessary items, underbuying items that you technically “need” is actually pretty unhealthy too. No matter how much it saves you. 

 

In the book, Rubin posits that because I have all of my basic needs met (read: bras and socks) I’ll feel less likely to splurge on something impulsive. Like a great top I know I’ll wear, but already have 20 sitting dust.

 

And let's face it: only owning five pair of socks can make you feel poor. Especially if they all have holes.

But 15 brand new pair of socks (purchased for a scant $7.99 for the pack at Walmart, thank-you-very-much) is a way to feel incredibly wealthy because you’re providing for yourself. Self care! It feels good!

I've had great success in flipping my shopping addiction on its head using this theory. Instead of buying what I want, I go in search of making sure I have all my needs met first. So, before I buy an exquisite new summer dress, I make sure I have replacement yoga pants first. And you know what, I feel like a freaking adult when I do this, so hopefully, it can work for you too. 

 

 

Don't Hang Out In Stores

 

Alcoholics don't hang out in bars. Those with shopping problems shouldn't hang out in stores or malls, “just to kill time,” or “pass an afternoon.” I may indulge in a little “mindless” shopping every now and again, mostly on vacation, but I rarely go to any store without having thought about what I need to buy first. I go in, I get out, and get on with my life.

 

Avoid Flash Sale Ads

 

These are my kryptonite (J.Crew anyone?) I use a great service called Unroll.me to roll up all of the emails in my inbox. They go into a digest that I do skim once a day, but without the flashy subject lines nagging me from the top of my Gmail folder, I haven't indulged in a flash sale in years. Here's a great article from Psychology Today on the “why” behind Flash Sales that may help you make sense of the urge if you find this is something you struggle with.

 

Actually…Just Avoid Sales in General

 

I realize this may be anathema to others in the personal finance community who pride themselves on getting good bargains, and for some who are in control of their spending urges this can be a great way to save a dollar or two. I'm not knocking it. But the psychology behind sales is to get customers in the door to spend more money than they would in the first place. For this purpose, I practice mindful spending, look for a deal when I'm going to buy, and ONLY buy that item. You're not fooling me with that $25.00 free shipping minimum!

 

Channel any Negative Feelings Into Something Besides Your  Shopping Addiction

 

At my therapist's suggestion, I decided to give theater another go, and I ended up getting cast in a show that spring. Suddenly, between class, work, and rehearsal, I had very little free time to shop. Funny how that works! Now I do yoga, run this blog, and tackle DIY projects around the house in my spare time.

Feel like the urge to splurge is going to kill you? Here are five other ways to spend your time that will actually nurture your finances rather than hurt them:

 

Try Not to “Shop Your Emotions”

 

Through my work with a therapist, I realized I spent the most when I was feeling sad or a little blue, because having something shiny and new was a great way to dispel those feelings. Nowadays, I avoid computers, stores, etc. like the plague when I'm feeling sad. When I've had a bad day, I try to stay offline as much so I avoid “shopping my emotions” in order to comfort myself.

 

I remember when I was younger feeling that I didn't have much to be proud of, which is why I started shopping– to make myself feel better.

 

I had a lot of self-esteem issues as a young woman and shopping (for better and for worse) feels really good. This is why you have to be careful. It took a lot of (expensive) therapy and debt repayment, but I'm glad I have a handle on both my money and my shopping triggers now.

 

Make a list.

 

Every season when I am in the process of replenishing my closet, I go through and make a list of the things I am missing and truly need (tights this season, and a new pair of black pumps because I wore out my old ones, etc.) Keeping this list on hand (I use the Trello app) ensures I only go to the store when I have to (as opposed to one Saturday afternoon when I am looking to kill time) and that I only spend my money where I need it most.

It also helps ensure I don't leave the store with the fifteenth rain jacket or  19th pair of yoga pants. (YOU HAVE ENOUGH YOGA PANTS LAUREN!)

Try Minimalism.

 I keep a “one in, one out” rule for my home. I did a purge over the summer and got rid of a TON of stuff (226 items, in fact) around the house that had crept up in the corners and crevices of my home. You don't need a lot of “stuff.” I've never met anyone who tried living with less and was like, “you know what? this just isn't for me.” Focusing on minimalism a) helps you save money for important things like financial goals and retirement and b) focuses your spending on quality over quantity.

 

Wear out the floor.

 

This works better in clothing stores but on the rare occasion I am shopping, in an actual store, “for fun” (it happens once every two years, much like the Atlanta Snowpocalypse) I do several, and I do mean SEVERAL laps around a store with my items in tow before I make it up to the register. Eventually, I get tired and/or hungry and leave the store without waiting in the checkout line. Or if I do make it to the register, it means I really, really wanted it.

 

Sleep on it.

 

When it comes to online purchases, I usually put it in my cart and then walk away without buying. Then I'll sleep on it. If the item is just so perfect I can't stop thinking about it after a day or two, I know it will be a good use of my money in the long run.

If I quickly forget the item, then it wasn't worth the time or the money.

 

 

But the good news is that you CAN curb your shopping addiction. It just takes some dedicated effort.

 

I won't lie to you, at least for me the urge never really goes away, particularly during times of change or extreme stress. Instead, I've had to learn my “triggers” and how to manage them in order to stay out of debt. I did this through work with a licensed therapist. If you suspect you really, truly have a deep-rooted problem, you should seek help with a professional. 

 

The tips above can help, but nothing beats talking with a professional to diagnose your shopping addiction. But is the cost keeping you away? BetterHelp offers a variety of membership plans to meet your needs between $40-$70 each week. One month of unlimited is typically less than one traditional therapy visit and you can do it online and on your schedule. This could be especially great for those who are paying off debt and extra concerned with saving money. Don't go it alone! Get matched with a therapist online with BetterHelp.

 

 

*this post was originally published in 2015. It was recently updated in March 2018. Thanks for reading!

 

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“I Overcame a Shopping Addiction” + the 6 Tricks I Used to Get Better
136 Shares
    • Lisa
    • July 6, 2019
    Reply

    They can overcome Financial obstacles starting a side hustle online and transitioning successfully to “side hustle millionaire’ status. It’s amazing what Faith and action can do. what I know now I wish I knew 20 years ago because I probably would have been 20 million dollars richer. But we live and learn and every day presents a new opportunity to move forward in faith at full strength by doing the transformation business work out of sheer inspiration.

    • MG
    • April 3, 2019
    Reply

    I shopped for clothes, accessories & beauty items to treat myself when I was bored, happy, sad, etc. I now regret all the many hours I wasted doing this on a weekly basis for years. I wish I could have that time back. I would spend it doing something more rewarding like being with my family, pursuing a hobby, reading and exercising. I suggest for anyone who is struggling with too much shopping to start writing down the time you spend online shopping or visiting physical stores. You will be shocked at the time you are giving away to this pursuit. That time will never come back to you. You can make more money, but you can’t have more time. Think about what you can do with that time. I am currently on a self-imposed no shopping challenge for 2-months. I still have one week to go. I can’t buy any clothes, accessories, shoes or beauty items and only use what I have at home. I thought I could not survive this challenge, but something I didn’t expect took place. I no longer want to shop! Shopping became a habit for me. I felt I just had to shop every week, sometimes every day to reward myself after a long day at work. When I removed the OPTION to do this during this shopping ban, I felt less anxious. I felt like a big burden has been lifted from my shoulders. Instead of shopping right after work, I go straight home. I now have the time to eat dinner, chat with my husband, call friends and family, clean a little at home and just be present and enjoy the moment. I have been flooded with temptations to go shopping from retail stores during this time. I received an invitation from Coach to visit its store and get a 30% on its bags (I own a few Coach bags), Talbots sent me a $25 gift certificate that I needed to spend in the next few days, Macy’s sent me a Reward card with money as a reward from my numerous visits to their stores last year. I gave the $25 gift certificate from Talbots to my sister. It felt good to give her this gift. I placed the Reward card from Macy’s in a box to be used in the future.

    I would probably ended up saving $700 on clothes, accessories, beauty items during my shopping ban. That is a lot of money. As important as that, is the 15 hours/week I would save to myself for no shopping. That is 60 hours/month.

    Advertisers make us feel inadequate if we don’t look a certain way or don’t own a certain item. Let’s not fall for that game.

    • L Staff
    • March 31, 2019
    Reply

    This is a good read .
    I am a mother of one, and have a spending problem. Not shopping per say.
    For about four years now I have struggled with spending, but funny enough it’s always on stupid stuff. Like I feel like I absolutely need to buy something when I stop and get gas, whether it be a drink, food, and or a key chain. I HAVE to. My fiancé and I both smoke cigarettes and he purposely goes out of his way to buy a carton just so it will prevent me from going into a gas station.
    If I go to Walmart just butter, I will walk out with other little things. We are NOT rich, and by no means classify as middle class. We have a little extra in our pockets every month, but some how I always try to spend it.
    I know it has become a problem because I am at the point where I beg my fiancé to get coffee, and slightly throw hissy fits when he says no. Until he says yes.

    • Raz
    • March 29, 2019
    Reply

    I’m going through this right now. I’ts very painful. Thanks for your post.

    • Jenny
    • April 5, 2018
    Reply

    I have a massive spend addiction thats about to land mme in big trouble.. i range from 2500 to 3000 a month on spending,,,, how can i plssss stop

      • Lauren Bowling
      • April 5, 2018
      Reply

      First step – cut up all your credit cards and throw them in the trash. Delete the numbers from your computer if they are saved anywhere on shopping websites. Have a friend do it for you if you cannot.

      Keep only your debit card.

      Then get yourself some professional help. Take care of yourself!

      • Aleina
      • March 25, 2019
      Reply

      I understand your pain completely, and the shame you probably feel. I’ve been there. I know it’s easier said than done but you have to find a way to dig deep and figure out what you’re “medicating” with the shopping. Do you feel bad about something? (Or do you feel bad about yourself, like I did?) There is probably something you need to work out, emotionally. Find out what it is. I promise you, that’s where you have to start, and it will help. I think you might be avoiding some part of yourself.

        • Emily
        • July 1, 2019
        Reply

        I have had this problem off and on for quite a few years myself, and since moving to a new city that has a colder climate and that demands much more walking, the problem has greatly intensified. In my case, I feel like a lot of the clothes I have aren’t practical and I’m trying to adapt to this new lifestyle and culture, but it has been semi-disastrous, because I have found myself buying things that I think are going to be comfortable, or allow me to project a certain identity, and then when I get the things in the mail (almost 100% of my shopping is done online, including with Poshmark, which has been the worst!) I feel like they aren’t “me” after all, that they make me look frumpy, or just aren’t my style.

        I wonder if the root of anyone else’s shopping addiction relates to identity like this? It’s not something I do when I’m bored, per se, but instead when I’m thinking about my identity and lifestyle, which I’m not happy with. I worry a lot about how I am perceived by others, and sometimes I feel like I’m shopping for a fantasy life that I wish I was living instead of my real life. Advertising definitely contributes to this. When I see the glowing ads in my inbox, they show images of beautiful, thin women twirling and posing in idyllic settings with their clothing, and their psychological tactics definitely work, because I do feel that on a subconscious level, I equate that shiny-looking happy experience and elegance with their clothing, and it makes me want it. Advertising definitely has a strong impact, especially when someone is struggling with identity.

        I’m curious if anyone else has struggled with this and how they were able to work through it if so.

        Thanks to all for sharing your experience with us, and especially to Lauren for writing this post!

        1. Reply

          Hi Emily – I definitely can relate to this struggle. I have done a lot of emotional self work (reading self help books, not related to shopping addiction, but about self love) over the years to get myself on the right(ish) track and that’s where I recommend starting. I like Louise Hay’s “You can Heal your life” and “The universe has your back” by Gabrielle Bernstein and “You’re a Badass” by Jen Sincero. I’ve also found exercise helps to take my mind off it. Also I cannot recommend working with a licensed professional enough!

          Re: advertising. Yes, it’s a battle. And you have to wage war because that’s what they’re doing to you. I’ve unsubscribed from all consumer emails where I can (Even places where I do like to shop on occassion) and send the rest to a daily digest using Unroll.me (it’s free!) “Out of sight, out of mind” and this really helped me not to fall into the trap of flash sales.

          I’ll close with a quote I pinned on my vision board this year that I try to keep in mind any time the urge to purchase kicks in: “You make a life out of what you have, not what you’re missing.”

  1. Reply

    It is a good point that often we end up shopping for items, we don’t need, to heal ourselves emotionally. Most of us have done this at least once in our life.
    This can be avoided if we find out other things that comfort us instead of going shopping. Doing so, we can nurture our hidden talents and pursue a hobby, too. In turn, it can help us earn dollars. Who knows!
    Another thing to practice is to repay the entire credit card bill, before the due date, every month. This way, we can curb our shopping addiction as we can purchase only within our limits.

    • S
    • March 20, 2018
    Reply

    Loving these tips! I used to be addicted to shopping when I first started working a few years ago. Now, I can definitely say I spend my money a little more wisely! So many people don’t even realize they have a shopping addiction.
    -S
    http://www.thesassylife.com

  2. Reply

    love this kind of post because are real and I’m agree with all your tips:D….since I have a budget I do a list and stick it also for shopping:P

    • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde
    • October 14, 2015
    Reply

    I think the comparison to bulimia was a good comparison as it is much the same behavior. I’m glad you got help and no longer have this problem!

    1. Reply

      Me too Cat, I’m sure you understand that as your own boss, I rarely have time to shop anymore unless I’m doing something specific like a photo shoot or an event. Love your pretty new site, btw!

    • Summer
    • October 13, 2015
    Reply

    Nice tips! I do enjoy shopping but I try to balance things♥

    summerdaisy.net

    1. Reply

      Thanks Summer! balance is key 🙂

    • Giulia Lombardo
    • October 13, 2015
    Reply

    Luckily I’m debt free but since I started to have a budget I noticed that I’ve spent thousand of Euros on books now I have a little rules that is read every single is still untouched before to buy new one,but if I am seriously craving for a book I can buy it only if is into my budget (fun stuff amount)…but is true line between shopping for fun and shopping addiction is very small, I am agree with every single suggestion you gave, thanks for sharing!!!

    1. Reply

      Books are tough. A lot of people I know spend a lot of money on entertainment when they have plenty at home already. It’s good you noticed it.

    • Wendy
    • January 17, 2013
    Reply

    I am a total shopping bulimic. I mostly return things I buy online and I never return stuff I buy from stores. I use to sell clothes on ebay but I got lazy and just gave everything away. I am extremely OCD about my wardrobe. It’s very well organized and like you, aiming towards a minimalist lifestyle. The major contradiction is that I have a shopping problem, so I am always purging and buying stuff at the same time. My main guilt is knowing how much I’ve spent buying stuff that I end up giving away. I have a hard time controlling this process, mainly because I am good at keeping my finances in check and never spend beyond my budget. Even though I’m clear financially, doesn’t mean the whole purge and binge process isn’t a problem.

      • L Bee
      • January 17, 2013
      Reply

      I love the last line of this, “Even though I am clear financially, doesn’t mean the whole purge and binge process isn’t a problem”. So true! I am also a massive purger (given that my mom and grandmother were huge pack rats) so I buy things and the minute they wear out or I get tired of them they are gone. Then I look at facebook photos and say “what happened to that top….?”

    • Mikhaila
    • January 13, 2013
    Reply

    Regardless of my budget situation, I ALWAYS suffer from shopping bulimia. If it’s something I’ve talked myself into because I have the money, I end up second-guessing it when I get home. When I splurge on a new item of clothing or something cute for the apartment, I suffer extreme remorse and worry (increased heart rate, tightness in my chest) until I decide that I should take it back. Thank god most stores still have pretty good return policies!

    • Tushar @ Everything Finance
    • January 9, 2013
    Reply

    Lists are incredibly useful for curbing the spending habits. I think it’s a way of tricking your brain into NOT spending on anything except for what is on the list. I also love the suggestion to make it a game. Who wants to lose at their own game?

    • Pauline
    • January 8, 2013
    Reply

    I had shopping bulimia when furnishing my last bought flat. Three empty bedrooms and a trip to Ikea later it was all filled! They are so good at suggesting perfect matches for pieces of furniture and details that will look so cute in your living room! But I also kept a few things on my list and checked the reference on craigslist to score them used at about half price. I know the nesting feeling, you want to feel at home, and cozy, but in the end you can be happy anywhere with very little.

  3. Reply

    I didn’t have shopping bulimia, I never returned anything so I guess that makes it shopping obesity. I avoid stores now and when I do go shopping I have to think so hard about whether it’s a good deal that I usually end up leaving.

    • Kate
    • January 8, 2013
    Reply

    Shopping bulemia? I love it!

    Forcing yourself to walk around the store carrying your would-be purchases is a brilliant idea. I don’t know that I’ve ever intentionally done it, but now that I think about it, there are several times where I put things back on the rack after walking around with them in tow, searching for another item.

    Do you host clothing swap parties? I’m in the process of planning one (long overdue–I have 6 bags of too-big clothes in my closet)! They’re the absolute best and I always walk away with a TON of clothes for free!

      • Chris
      • January 8, 2013
      Reply

      My ex did those. They were pretty amazing. She always got rid of her clothes AND my clothes. She even brought me home a couple of sweet shirts or jeans that another girl’s boyfriend had. It was a total girls club. They even had wine and did it on Sundays. It’s the perfect “you have football I have this” thing.

        • L Bee
        • January 8, 2013
        Reply

        I will have to give this a try!

    • Jordann @ My Alternate Life
    • January 8, 2013
    Reply

    Hey thanks for the mention girl!

    I used to do a little of this when I lived very close to a Lululemon. I’d buy three or four items and return 75% of them the next day. Now that I live in the middle of nowhere, returning stuff is a pain in the ass, which effectively put a stop to that habit.

      • L Bee
      • January 8, 2013
      Reply

      Hmmm. My parents live in the middle of nowhere, and I don’t have this problem when I’m at their house!

  4. Reply

    My problem is mainly just with purchase regret. I’m working hard to nor leave a store with something unless I’m truly happy with it. I use many of the same techniques you suggested.

      • L Bee
      • January 8, 2013
      Reply

      That’s funny-I’ve never met a guy with shopping bulimia!

    • Girl Meets Debt
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    I use to be a shopaholic so I definately understand the whole shopping bulimia as the awkward “in-between” stage before recovery. Thanks for the tips!

    p.s. it’s cute that Bethenny Frankel is your idol hehe

      • L Bee
      • January 8, 2013
      Reply

      Aww. Thank you!

    • krantcents
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    I hate to shop! I try to avoid it as much as possible. When I do shop, I have specific things in mind and only go after those things. It is a mental form of a list.

      • L Bee
      • January 8, 2013
      Reply

      I wish I hated to shop-that would make my life easier. And then I could hire a personal shopper 😉

    • AverageJoe
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    I do get “spend-itis” but never the bulimia part. When I buy something, I’m not taking it back. I’ll defend that leg lamp until the day I die.

      • L Bee
      • January 7, 2013
      Reply

      Haha. I wonder how your wife feels about this.

    • Jacob @ iheartbudgets
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    I’ve only done this once. Mostly, I was dating my now wife and wanted to impress her with my cash flow, so I dropped like $180 on a shirt and pants at some dumb teenage store (Abercrombie Eagle, or something), and promptly returned it the next day so I could pay rent. LoL. Man, I was pretty lame back then. Little did I know budgets are way sexier than pretending to have money…

      • L Bee
      • January 7, 2013
      Reply

      Did you also cover yourself in Axe body spray? Ha!

    • Debt Roundup
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    Interesting name, but I will go with it. I used to have this addiction, but have since “purged” myself of it and am happy to say that I am clean. It is a good feeling to not have to deal with this, but I understand where you are coming from.

      • L Bee
      • January 7, 2013
      Reply

      I’m getting better and better each day. Thanks for commenting!

    • The Happy Homeowner
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    I don’t now, but I certainly used to binge shop (and unfortunately not return any of it). Now, I do a lot of the things you’ve mentioned here–figure out if I really need the item vs. wanting it, decide how it fits in my budget, figure out if it really fits in the closet without overcrowding, etc.

      • L Bee
      • January 7, 2013
      Reply

      I also am the ultimate purger-anytime I bring something home, I get rid of something else. And then two years later I’m like “what happened to the top I’m wearing in this picture” ha! My closets always look a bit too empty, bad for the shopping habit.

    • Kyle @ Rather-Be-Shopping.com
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    I get an energy/rush from buying stuff. I rarely return any of it though. What works for me is to wait 10 minutes and get your brain turned in another direction and the feeling of “I really need this” typically wears off.

      • L Bee
      • January 7, 2013
      Reply

      I usually bribe myself with something else-like dinner out or a drink. One vice for another-eek!

    • Chris
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    What exactly is a “favorite kissing cousin”? I’m unfamiliar with this southernism.

    I don’t have shopping bulimia. I do like to binge shop now and again. I’m a sucker for shirts and ties. I really love when I end up at a Kohl’s on sale day. I’m really just saying that you can never have too many blue shirts.

      • L Bee
      • January 8, 2013
      Reply

      Well you know you have your kissing cousins, the ones who you aren’t first cousins with so it’s ok to kiss. And then you have your favorites.

      I’m kidding-nobody kisses their cousins here. At least, I odn’t.

    • TB at BlueCollarworkman
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    My wife and I stick to a list, and boy do we stick to it. It’s hard sometimes, especially when I’m in a hardware store, but we stick to that list. And like you, if there’s some new tool that I really want, I walk around the store with it in my hand for awhile, deciding whether it’s really worth it. So far, my wife and I make some good decisions with this method!

      • L Bee
      • January 7, 2013
      Reply

      I can’t imagine lugging power tools around the store. Haha.

    • L Bee
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    Forcing yourself to go clothes shopping? Why I never!

      • Michelle
      • March 23, 2019
      Reply

      I love shopping off the TV and online. I have &2700 debt which was $5000. It is going down but I watch TV to unwind and I love the shopping channel. I am saving for a holiday which is a great incentive. I still find it hard to stop. I think mine is habit, loss and comfort (reward). I used to go shopping with my mum when she was alive. She loved shopping too. I like shopping in stores but don’t go often as it takes too long and I work full time. I definitely think I have a problem. I like fashion and want the latest designer outfits. I used to model in my youth and I think I miss it now. Thanks for all your ideas. I will persevere.

    • Budget & the Beach
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    I just avoid stores now, which is really step one in my opinion. But over Christmas I was with the guy I was dating and he saw something he thought I’d look good in. I bought it, even though it really wasn’t my style. One thing I used to do was lose the stupid receipt, but now I keep it closely guarded. When I got the feeling our dating was over, I returned it. 🙂

      • L Bee
      • January 7, 2013
      Reply

      Why would you ever let a guy talk you into buying something? Most guys have HORRENDOUS taste. 😉

  5. Reply

    I used to have this problem. I would buy things and feel guilty then feel I need to return them.

    I don’t shop much anymore so I don’t return things either =)

      • L Bee
      • January 7, 2013
      Reply

      Hopefully I will get to that point to, but I do enjoy shopping. That’s the hard part.

    • Savvy Scot
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    Oddly enough (for a guy) I get this sometimes! I think the making it a game tip is what I do!! Sometimes I just need to force myself to do something else.,.. because I spend when I am bored!! Happy New Year Lauren

      • L Bee
      • January 7, 2013
      Reply

      Happy New Year to you Scot! Thanks for being man enough to own up to your shopping bulimia 😉

  6. Reply

    I used to suffer from shopping bulimia (love the name). But it got worst, at one point I just started getting too lazy to return things… mostly clothes. I have drawers full of things that I never wore with the price tag still on.

    I don’t shop as much anymore, but when I do it’s always at discount stores first.

      • L Bee
      • January 7, 2013
      Reply

      If you ever want to unload some of those things you never wear *cough* *cough* send them to me 😉

      1. Reply

        Lol… on their way 🙂

    • Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies
    • January 7, 2013
    Reply

    Ha, the lady at Macy’s might think I have shopping bulimia. Mr. PoP is so awful to take shopping that when shirts are on sale, I’ve been known to go buy 4 or 5, make Mr. PoP try them on at home and inevitably return most of them anyhow. =/

      • L Bee
      • January 7, 2013
      Reply

      My mom does that-no trying on anything at the store! Crazy to me-it’s just more work! A lot of guys do that though.

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