We recently attended a workshop about compulsive shopping and thought we could share some of our lessons. The presenter was Carrie Rattle, MBA is a Financial Therapist and coach who works with people who suffer from over-shopping.

Compulsive shopping is a symptom of deeper emotional needs. Every human has core needs such as love, belonging, self-esteem, and the respect of others. Feeling a lack in any of these can be a trigger to shop to feel better.

The Pressures

In addition to our own emotional vulnerabilities, we are influenced by manipulation from the retail sales industry which preys on our insecurities and tries to convince us that buying more will make us feel better. And shopping online makes it too easy to push one button and have our desires fulfilled.

The concept of money is more abstract than tangible. Cash and money are more ethereal than ever and not having cash in hand or monitoring a checkbook register separates us really knowing our budget limits.

What to Do

The first step is to really take a look at how you feel BEFORE you start shopping. Are you feeling lonely, bored, or insecure? That may be the time to hit pause before browsing online or heading out to a store. The more aware you are of your triggers, the better chance you have of substituting an alternative behavior.

Limit the outside pressures to shop by unsubscribing to retail newsletters, and limiting time on social media where we get assaulted by ads and push notifications. 

Carrie Rattle has a variety of resources available on her website. 

Bottom line: true compulsive behavior, in any area, is very difficult to change with just good intentions. Sometimes other addictions are at play and you must deal with health and safety addictions first. Becoming aware of the problem and being willing to face it is the first step and getting support to truly change the behaviors is essential.