These tips are taken from “To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Over Shop and How to Stop” by April Lane Benson, PhD (2008) as published in Adrian Furnham’s most recent book “The New Psychology of Money”.
The trick to changing a behavior is to understand why you are doing it, notice when you are doing it, and change the behavior. This is easier said than done of course!
April Lane Benson prescribes a journal to track thoughts and behaviors to help us realize when and why we are behaving a certain way. She also has 6 shopping questions:
1. How do I feel? – Are you feeling sad or upset and need to make this go away?
2. Why am I here? - Am I here because I’ve had a bad day and need to boost my self-esteem?
3. Do I need this? – Is this groceries, a designated birthday gift, or just something you like?
4. What if I wait? – Try and walk away. Often the urge to buy goes away after a day or two.
5. How will I pay for this? – If you charge it, can you pay off your balance when it is due?
6. Where will I put it? – If it is needed, you will know what to do with it.
April Benson also suggests keeping a journal. That way, you may be able to track whether you typically shop at certain times, certain days, or with certain friends. All of these will help identify what needs to change to break the habit.
This is not easy, but shopaholism means a need is controlling you, rather than you controlling the need. If you can crack this behavior, you are on the way to saving more money! Are you prone to being a Shopaholic?
This blog tip is most useful for Status (Athena) and Bargain (Hera) money profiles.
Carrie Rattle is a Principal at BehavioralCents.com, a web site for women focused on the psychology of money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence. Thoughts always welcome: email@example.com.