Online shopping may seem like an innocent and convenient to make purchases but, if not controlled, can become a devastating issue – especially financially.
Many people rely on online shopping as a means to relieve stress and anxiety. However, doing so can often have the opposite effect and increase stress and anxiety due to overspending.
Is Online Shopping Addiction a Mental Illness?
Online Shopping Addiction
Shopping triggers the brain’s reward response. It is an activity that induces a sense of pleasure making it an activity that can easily become addictive.
Symptoms of an online shopping addiction include:
- Hiding your purchases from your family.
- Rising credit card debt.
- Owning a secret credit card.
- Experiencing conflicts with your partner over purchases.
- Feeling guilty after making a purchase.
- Feeling anxiety over not making a purchasing or missing out on a deal.
- Purchasing items you don’t need.
Hopping onto Amazon to buy something you don’t need every now and then could be considered a bad habit. Doing so on a regular basis constitutes an addiction.
How to Curb Your Online Shopping
1. Track Your Purchases
Write down everything that you purchase and how much you spend each transaction. Having a visual representation of your shopping addiction may be the motivation you need to reduce or stop your online spending.
2. Block Access to Online Stores
If you can’t resist perusing online stores, you may need to block the stores entirely from your devices.
You can use an app such as Leech Block, which is a browser extension that is designed to block websites with the purpose of increasing productivity. You can use this app to block online retailers from your browser.
The extension is available for Firefox, Chrome, Brave, Opera and Vivaldi. It can also be applied to the browser on your cell phone.
Decluttering your home can be an eye-opener to how much stuff you actually own. Doing an inventory of what you have will give you an idea of how much money you waste on online shopping.
Organizing and clearing your space is also a good way to reduce stress and anxiety. This will help you in two ways:
- Having a clean and organized home will motivate you to keep it that way, and
- Reducing your stress and anxiety will aid in eliminating the need to shop online in the first place.
An easy way to declutter your home is to go room-to-room making 3 piles: keep, give away and sell. Put any money you make from selling unwanted items toward your debt.
4. Follow the 48 Hour Rule
Beating an online shopping addiction doesn’t mean that you can never shop or spend money online again. It’s all about creating better spending habits.
The 48 Hour Rule works by leaving an item or items in your online cart for at least 48 hours. Take the time to think about whether or not you really need the item.
Most of the time, you’ll find after waiting 2 days that you don’t need the item. Delete it from your cart.
5. Unsubscribe from Retailer Newsletter
Retailers love to flood your inbox with deals and product announcements in order to tempt you into making a purchase.
Eliminate the temptation by unsubscribing yourself from these retailers’ newsletters. Without the constant reminder of what you could be buying online, you’ll be less likely to spend your money.
6. Set a Savings Goal
Try shifting your focus away from spending and instead pay attention to what is important by setting a savings goals.
Use a savings tracker to give yourself a visual representation of what you are saving. Once you see how much money you have successfully put away, you’ll be less likely to spend it online.
In addition to applying a monetary value to your goal, come up with a meaningful way you can use the money. Perhaps you can pay down some debts or take a long needed vacation.
How do you control your online spending? Let us know in the comments!