With physical shops being closed for months over the past year, consumers have turned to the internet in order to spend their money. Research shows that over half of all purchases were made on a mobile device, with 70% of digital window shoppers making impulse purchases within the first hour of viewing the item. More than three-quarters of consumers have admitted that using social media and mobiles has led them to buy when they didn’t set out to do so.
Savoo has partnered with experts to share five tips on how to curb a shopping addiction and reduce the number of impulse purchases we make.
Dennis Relojo-Howell, the founder of Psychreg explains: ‘Research has shown that impulse buying results from a void in an individual’s life, perhaps stemming from childhood, the need for approval or excitement or, the simplest explanation, a real lack of impulse control. Regardless of the reasons, when we shop, we feel good.’
Create a list showing what’s acceptable and what’s not
‘A shopping addiction is more difficult to curb than any other addiction, such as alcohol, due to people always needing to shop for things like food in order to survive,’ says psychotherapist Johana Sartori. One coping mechanism she recommends is: ‘Make a list of acceptable purchases (it might be items such as food, a certain number of items of clothing or homeware a month or a year, etc) or an acceptable amount of money to spend monthly.
‘There will also be a list of things that are considered relapsing behaviour, taking out a credit card, or entering a credit agreement, etc. In between these will be a third list of things that we might consider to be gateway behaviour.’
Talk to friends and family
As with anyone recovering from addiction, it’s easier when you don’t have to do it alone. By confiding with close friends and family they can help you with your recovery. Having a frank and honest conversation with them means that they will be able to support you in the best way possible.
Sometimes a bit of tough love is what helps drive a recovery, whereas other people may need a friendly ear when the process gets a bit more difficult. Johana Sartori explains: ‘Addiction thrives on secrecy, and as long as we can get the bags home or delivered whilst everyone is out, no one else needs to know.’
Try to practice mindfulness
Dr Alexander Lapa, a psychiatrist at Ocean Recovery explains the benefits of mindfulness when trying to reduce your shopping habit: ‘With mindfulness techniques, you focus on the present and ground yourself. Our mind often deviates from our body and we become encapsulated by these obsessive thoughts. Practising mindfulness helps bring us back down to earth and reconnects us with our bodies.’
Find a local support group
There are support groups available for individuals who suffer from a shopping addiction:
‘Spenders Anonymous and Debtors Anonymous both operate a 12-step programme similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous,’ explains Johanna Sartori.
Spenders Anonymous details that everyone joining the group only needs to show: ‘a desire to stop spending time, money, energy, and our very selves beyond all reason.’
Dennis Relojo-Howell added: ‘There are self-help groups on Facebook where it’s possible to find out how other people manage the need for comfort through shopping.’
Download apps on your phone to replace those used for shopping
Johanna Sartori said: ‘Opportunity is a big factor’ when it comes to shopping addiction as: ‘We can shop from our bed, on the bus, etc. Our phones give us access to a world of possibilities and this makes it easy for behaviour to escalate.’ Dennis Relojo-Howell suggests combatting this by looking at apps on your phone that can help curb a shopping addiction.