Shopping addicts could be turning to purchases to sooth the impact of other problems in their lives — marital issues, work problems or big, unexpected changes.
“It’s like looking for love in all the wrong places,” author Benson said. “Shopping is never going to, in an enduring way, meet your need for love and affection.”
In addition to confronting those triggers with the help of a professional, there are steps individuals can take to curb their spending.
Sun, of Sun Group Wealth Partners, said she will typically require clients who have a tendency to overspend to leave their purchases in a corner of a room for a week.
“If you don’t touch it for a week, that means you can live without it,” Sun said.
And because it’s frustrating and embarrassing to return things, those clients eventually get to the point where they do not make as many purchases, she said.
For everything you buy, assess how much you really need the item. If you’re eyeing $300 black boots, and you already own several pairs, that purchase is likely entirely unnecessary, Benson said.
Other tricks to help curb your shopping, according to Shulman of The Shulman Center, include setting a time limit for how long you can shop, restricting your budget to exclude online purchases, putting a blocker on certain websites and taking your credit card information offline.
Make a plan for situations in advance — such as holidays — that could rekindle your old spending habits, said author Benson said. And, be prepared for a long road to recovery, she added. “It is very likely that there will be lapses and relapses.”