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How to Curb Your Shopping Obsession

“I like it. I want it. I must have it.” Recognise those words from the little voice in your head whenever you feel the urge to spend (and spend some more)?

Face it, we know that shopping isn’t so much a necessity, as an activity that makes us happy (said in a hushed, guilty whisper). Yet somehow, the cash seems to fly out of our pockets every month – not just for clothes, but for the other things that we feel we can’t live without (at the time). From shopping for gadgets, groceries, or even toiletries, here’s how to avoid these money-draining pitfalls. 

The Magpie Syndrome

According to the US Department of Commerce, 30 to 50 percent of all purchases were deemed impulse purchases by the buyers themselves. We succumb to such purchases for all sorts of reasons. The item could be on sale, something trendy that we just must have, or even wrapped in pretty packaging. Before you know it, you’ve ended up with piles of stuff (hands up if you have five bottles of your favourite body lotion – none of them empty – sitting in the bathroom). Since malls are places where temptation is rife, draft a shopping list and make sure you keep to it. Or (tried and tested), bring along a frugal friend who will keep you in check (shopping with another shopaholic never bodes well).

The Occasion Shopper

It doesn’t matter how full your closet is – there’ll be a time when you’ll open your wardrobe and say: “I have nothing to wear!” When an occasion calls for a nice outfit (a friend’s wedding, a job interview or a first date), our brain somehow understands this as a need for a nice new outfit. But rather than splurge on a new dress, consider creatively mixing and matching what you already have. The thing is, we tend to wear the same ensembles day after day (especially if we’re in a hurry); for example, this blouse with that skirt. To spice up your wardrobe, get in the habit of pairing items you’ve never done so before – you’ll get much more mileage out of each item!

The Vacation Delusion

Is it the change in climate and culture, or just the buzz of being on vacation? Whatever it is, all the souvenirs and knick knacks you’ve hauled back across the ocean tend to rapidly lose their lustre once the plane lands. It’s easy to get caught up in the mood of “oh, but they don’t have this at home”, but think back on the last time you brought something home and actually used it. If it was months or years ago, chances are this new purchase won’t be any different. The most practical way to curb a vacation spending spree is to plan your shopping budget ahead of time, and keep the credit card in the hotel room when you know shopping plans are on the horizon.

P.S – In a poll done by The Intelligence Group involving people aged between 18 to 34, only 36 percent bought things they deemed necessary. If you belong to the 64 percent, are you feeling guilty yet?


By Clara How, CLEO, July 2014

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