Psychology behind shopping urge (Source: pexels/Andrea Piacquadio) Psychology behind shopping urge (Source: pexels/Andrea Piacquadio)

The Psychology Behind Shopping Urges and How to Control It

Shopping or retail therapy is one thing that everybody loves. Nobody in the world will deny them the chance to shop for anything they want. Whether it’s grocery, book shopping, cosmetics, clothes, gym equipment, and even electronic gadgets.

Anyhow, this activity greatly affects your finances. You sure don’t want to fall into massive debt because you can’t control your impulses.

Many experts believe that shopping urges come as a coping mechanism. It’s an activity that gives you comfort and acts as an escape from your current stressor. For example, when you’re feeling sad or low, you will look for the quickest escape aka the Amazon website or other marketplaces.

Of course, you don’t have to buy everything you see and think about discounts all the time. But many people already succumb to the temptation and end up as shopping addicts.

5 Methods to Control Your Shopping Urges

  1. Take a Break

One thing about online shopping is you will always see deals wherever you go. You may be scrolling Instagram and TikTok and see the ad for the latest gadgets or cute blouses. Therefore, you need to give yourself a pause.

It doesn’t matter whether you take a break as in switching to another app or doing a chore that takes hours to complete. As long as you give your brain some time off from the stimulants that continue to feed your impulses.

Taking a break means you’re not giving to the impulse and allowing your hormones to calm down. So when you return to your screen, you already forget about the sale and can focus on what you were doing.

  1. Practice Meditation

For many people, meditation is a good way to control many urges. It helps you to calm your thoughts and you can have a clearer view of many things.

Start by doing simple breathing techniques whenever you feel the urge to shop more. Inhale slowly for five seconds, and exhale for another five seconds. Repeat the exchange a couple more times until you calm down.

This trick works even when you are standing in the aisle and about to impulse buy more chips. Practicing medication can help you recognize that not everything is worth purchasing.

  1. Choose a Specific Payment Method
shopping psychology
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How many credit cards do you have and actively use now? How often do you have to switch cards or spend some time trying to remember your purchases when the bills come out?

One way to manage your shopping urge is by committing to a specific payment method. You can get a prepaid debit card that is specific for grocery shopping. 

Don’t forget that you hold the rein on your expenses. Whether it’s a prepaid card or a digital wallet, you can keep track of your expenses by setting your limit.

You also can keep separate credit cards for different purposes. For example, you can keep the Amex for traveling and the classic Mastercard for daily activity. 

Insisting on a specific method means you won’t have to worry about going over budget. You also won’t shop more because you don’t have enough money to pay.

  1. Practice Budgeting

The most popular 50-30-20 budgeting method is a good way to control your shopping impulses. When you only have 30% of your income for secondary expenses, you won’t spend that many hours scrolling Amazon and clicking on tons of random items.

One thing is for sure, you must be consistent with managing your money. The key to budgeting is to ensure you don’t spend more than your income.

Budgeting also helps you save money and build a healthier view of money. You will have better self-control and won’t insist on adding consumptive debts.

Some people may argue that saving money will look bad on credit scores. But when you have enough savings, you can be comfortable paying installments because you know you have savings as your fallback plan.

  1. Stick to a List 
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Writing down a list is always helpful in managing any impulses. You can write down the items you want to buy and allow room for some extra stuff. This method also helps you to stay within your budget.

Most importantly, this list helps when you are shopping on your own. One finding about shopping impulses is that it mostly happens due to a lack of self-control. And writing down the list to rely on is one way to exercise control.

And when you’re too busy, you can use AI to help you take notes. Tell Alexa or Siri to remind you about items that are about to expire. They also can tell you about items you’ve been wanting to buy but always forgot.

Shopping is a fun activity and should be that way. However, when you feel like your urges are out of control and your finances are in shambles, then it’s time to call for a professional. You need to set the limit to not let these impulses turn into an addiction.