Do you find that you spend a huge amount of time online, shopping for things to buy even if you didn’t want to purchase anything specific? Do you find yourself walking the aisles of shopping malls after work or over the weekend, mindlessly spending on little items that you don’t really need? You could be suffering from compulsive spending.
Compulsive spending may not always be the extreme situation where you can’t control yourself from spending everytime, but it could be the start of something if you find it becoming a habit.
Here are some common signs of a compulsive spender and some effective ways to help you curb those urges to spend excessively:
- A closet full of clothes you’ve never worn, gadgets you’ve never used and books you don’t read
- Spending money when you’re feeling lonely or depressed.
- Spending money on things you don’t really need often.
- Feeling excited when you buy something new, but guilt soon follows
- Lying about how much you spend.
- Continuing to spend even if you can’t quite afford it.
- Feeling ashamed about your shopping habits.
- Fighting with your loved ones over your spending habits.
- Hiding purchases and spending habits from loved ones.
- Taking out loans you know you can’t repay to cover your debt.
These are just some common signs of a compulsive shopper. If you identify with at least 3 of them, you might want to seek help, or use the 5 ways below to help you better manage your money.
- Replace shopping with another activity
If you are thinking of quitting smoking, being around people who smoke all day isn’t exactly going to help you. The same goes for spending. If you are trying not to spend excessively, don’t temp yourself by walking around the malls. While shopping online might be too easy and convenient, you can help yourself by not saving your credit card number on your mobile phone or browser so that it makes it more of a hassle to buy. Another tip is to unsubscribe fromemailers where you receive ‘exclusive discounts’.
- Track your spending
Similar to those who wants to have a clearer look at their diet, writing down what you spend on in a journal can help you develop a more holistic perspective on your spending patterns. It helps you become more conscious of your spending and may help you stay committed to breaking the bad habit.
You can also try giving each item you purchase a score based on how essential it is so that you can priorities your spending and do away with unnecessary items.
- Stop using credit cards
Credit cards can be a great payment method if you know how to use it correctly. Smart users typically pay their bills in full at the end of the month and use it strategically to earn reward points, rebates and air miles. But for those who lack control, having a credit card on hand can be a disaster. It makes it too easy to spend without thinking. If you find that you reach for your credit cards too often, one way is to cancel them and switch entirely to using cash. The physical act of using cash also help to increase your awareness of how much you are spending.
- Only make planned purchases
As the popular saying goes – Fail to plan and plan to fail. One rule worth sticking to is to plan your purchases in advance. Think about the time you went grocery shopping and ended up buying 10 other items that were not in your original intention. To stop this from happening, go with a list of items that you want to buy and stick to it. The same goes for buying other items.
- Surround yourself with people you love
Do you find that you are usually alone when you spend excessively? When you are with others and are focused on your social connection, spending and shopping seldom come to mind. When you feel the need to go shopping, call someone up or meet up a friend for a coffee so that you can distract yourself. You’d often find that the urge passes!
Always remember that it’s never worth it to get into a debt so that you can feed your spending habit. Getting into a debt you cannot repay can have many negative consequences on your future financial life so do think twice!