Shop No More?!

Which is the most socially acceptable addiction? Oniomania or compulsive shopping. We are living in an era of consumerism where we (including me) are sold on the idea that buying things will make us happy, make our life better, and improve our social worth.

But a new twist in this, is the rising and increasingly common addiction to online shopping, as it brings instant gratification. There’s a fine line between loving online shopping and being addicted to it. In the digital age, endless goods are available at the click of a button which combined with the convenience of not needing to go to a store, fuel this addiction. Psychologists believe that online shopping addiction should now be classified as a mental health condition as it involves great risks like financial losses, loss of self-control and losing the sense of priorities.

All of us have fallen prey to this temptation, it is fun, it is convenient and things are always on great discounts. Who doesn’t love buying adorable outfits for the kids or beauty products at attractive discounts sitting at home in their pajamas? Countless nights when I can’t fall asleep, I’ll spend hours browsing clothes, cosmetics and even homeware on Amazon, eBay and the likes, and if not buying then wish listing it.

According to statistics, 92% of Americans now shop online, and amongst these, 86% use their phones. Online shopping addiction is a behavioral addiction that involves compulsive buying as a result of an intense craving to purchase and deriving emotional satisfaction from it. A major characteristic is “preoccupation with shopping for unneeded items, and difficulty resisting the purchase of unneeded items.”

Most often it is just a bad habit that drains your finances, but sometimes it might take a more serious and damaging turn. Here are some warning signs to look out for :

  • You frequently exceed your monthly budget because of online shopping
  • You have rising credit card debts because of online purchases
  • You often feel guilty after your online buying
  • You often hide your purchases from your family
  • You argue with your spouse or family over your purchases
  • You feel anxiety over missing out on deals
  • You often buy things you don’t need just because they are on discount

The rise of e-commerce sites, flash sales, and readily available credit have made online shopping far too tempting. Also in most cases, you are not handing over the money, so you delude yourself into thinking that you are really not spending money.

But if you are struggling with online shopping compulsion, these are a few tips that may help :

Delete all shopping apps from your mobile phone

Shopping apps make it way too convenient to spend money online. It just takes a click to buy things, and it doesn’t even feel like you are giving away any money. Delete all shopping apps, you don’t need them.

Unsubscribe from all promotional emails

Take a minute to unsubscribe from all the retailer newsletters you receive, especially ones that promote flash sales, discount coupons. Don’t be afraid to lose out on discounts as you will end up saving a lot of money in the end.

discount coupons. Don’t be afraid to lose out on discounts as you will end up saving a lot of money in the end.

Remove your credit cards

Most people enter and save the details of their credit cards, to make checking out faster. This gives you no time to really think if you need to make this purchase or not. Getting up from your chair, retrieving the card and entering the details will give you a few minutes and you might decide not to buy it at all.

Don’t shop because you are bored

Many people browse online shopping websites when they are bored or waiting for something. Carry a book with you, listen to a song or a podcast, call someone but resist the urge to open shopping apps.

Retrain your brain

Retail therapy really works and does make you better, even if it’s momentary. If you are feeling sad or low or just disinterested, look for other means like reading, writing, exercising to make yourself feel better. Train your mind to understand the consequences of excessive spending.

Talk to someone

Just like everything else, talk to someone about your spending habits, be it your spouse, parent or counselor. They will help you understand and control your behavior.

Online shopping definitely has its advantages but also in most cases, leads to excessive spending. So be wise about it and try the above techniques to channel your money towards more productive purposes.

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