How to save money if you have an addiction to spending

Whether you prefer shops to the supermarket every day just to buy something extra, or you have more of a penchant for handbags or clothes, shopping addictions come in all shapes and sizes.

People who have little money can be addicted to spending just as much as those who have a lot, and it’s often overlooked as a silly problem. However, the affects of compulsive shopping can go far beyond the impact on your wallet. It can destroy relationships, lead to financial hardship, and can be connected to psychological issues.

But there are ways to stop spending and get saving again. Here’s how.

How can you tell if you’re a compulsive shopper?

  • You spend over your budget
  • You buy more than what is needed
  • You’ve started to keep the excessive buying a secret from friends and family
  • You return bought items because of guilt
  • You use shopping in order to eliminate feelings of anger, depression or loneliness
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1. Stop buying because you’re bored

Once you retire, boredom can quickly set in, and this can mean more trips to the shops. So to stop spending, try a hobby or find something else that interests you, away from shops. Remove the temptation by keeping busy.

2. Don’t shop when you’re sad

People experiencing loss or heartbreak want to fill that void with something, and sometimes it can be shopping. Old habits die hard so if you have always loved shopping, a sudden loss could make you want to spend to make yourself feel better. Instead, make plans with friends, take a holiday or go for a walk. Find something else to be excited about.

3. Track your spending

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It can be daunting to look through your receipts and bank balance, but this could be the wake-up call you need. Write down a goal for saving, and then look honestly at how much you’re spending on ‘wants’ and not ‘needs’ every month.

4. Delay your purchase

When it comes to an impulse purchase, delay the purchase for a month and see if you still really want it. Also consider if you truly need an item and don’t try and justify it by saying you need it for an event or will wear it every day.

5. Challenge yourself 

Make your new spending philosophy like a game. Reward yourself for, say, 21 days without shopping by treating yourself to a movie or a pedicure – and not a dress or handbag.

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6. Gratitude

Keep a gratitude journal and every day, acknowledge a few things you are grateful for. You will find you have a lot to be grateful for and this may help you realise spending money on unnecessary items is not what gives you true joy.

7. Make a list

Next time you go shopping, take a very strict list and stick to it. But be sure to only put the essentials on it and stick to shops you know you won’t be tempted to stray in.

8. Destroy all credit cards

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Credit cards are a shopper’s best friend and worst enemy. Once you pay off your card, chop it up and never use it again unless for emergencies. You will feel liberated!

9. Become a great window shopper

“Window shop” only after stores have closed. If you do “look” during the day, leave your wallet at home. See the improvement it makes.

Tell us, are you a compulsive spender? Why? And how do you curb purchases?


Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and for information purposes only. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not financial product advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any financial decision you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from an independent licensed financial services professional.