How to Stop a Shopping Addiction. Shopping addiction affects thousands of consumers. Unfortunately, few people recognize the problem. Regardless of your annual income, a need to "shop 'til you drop" can result in serious financial trouble and emotional struggle. Before you hit the mall, take a hard look at your spending habits and check out these how-tos for stopping a shopping addiction.
Pay by check or debit card. An effective way to decrease compulsive shopping is to buy material goods with a form of payment that will withdraw your funds immediately. Credits cards require a swipe and a signature, which makes it much easier to stay in denial. Cut up credit cards and keep only one or two for emergencies.
Talk it out. One of the most helpful (and cheapest) ways to curb a shopping appetite is to get it out of your system by discussing it with someone. By the time you finish talking about it, your desires will have died down. This doesn't work for everyone though. Sometimes people get even more excited to shop from talking about it. This step will only work for some shopping addicts.
Fill the void. Most shopping addictions begin when someone is trying to fill an empty space in their life. Volunteer at a non-profit organization, take on more hours at work, join a sports and social club or spend more time with your family. Fill your life with meaningful activity, and you will quite literally distract yourself from shopping. After awhile, that obsessive need will subside.
Save window shopping for after hours. Shopping addicts can easily turn browsing into buying. Wait until a store has closed to window shop, and you will be forced to go home empty-handed.
Attend a meeting at Debtors Anonymous. DA is a successful step program created in the same vein as Alcoholics Anonymous. Many shopping addicts have recovered with the assistance of this program. Read testimonials at debtorsanonymous.org. If group work is not your style, seek out a help hotline via telephone or Internet.
Replace shopping with exercise. Many recovered addicts have dropped shopping by concentrating on getting in shape. If you already exercise regularly, replace shopping with another life improvement challenge. You will be happily surprised with the difference in your life when you are working toward an important goal.
Make a list and check it twice. Buy only what you have put on the list. No exceptions, no extras. Unsubscribe from home shopping television channels, and block your favorite retail websites. You will quickly find activities and TV shows to replace them. Avoid shopping while traveling. Many people have a habit of spending more money when they're out of town. Buy birthday gifts or holiday presents before you leave.