A phrase we’ve all been hearing for eons, in almost every part of life. Before even realizing it, ‘Shop till you drop’, was transformed from a simple phrase to an overly glamourized facet of life that has a steep downside that few may be, are familiar with. From the vibrant and glamourous television shows, films and celebrated lifestyles, people across the world, were pulled into this web that was perhaps created for one thing but ended up disillusioning a far greater number of people imaginable.
Should the person who shops a lot, finds this becoming a very random and unconscious act that has no reason behind it, and that occurs more frequently than before, has enough reason to stop for even a second to consider just why this is. The warning signs though many are often overlooked or ignored, by either people around the individual or the person’s self, which is what leads to bigger issues.
You’re probably thinking, shopping and issues; this has got to be yet another article on the shopaholic culture. The answer though, may surprise you. As below you will find how something as simple as shopping can change ones world and sadly not for the better. Perhaps even leading you to change your views on the concept of shopping in the process.
Finding your Pulse: Impulsive or Compulsive Shopping
Put quite simply, impulsive shopping is when you go on an unplanned shopping spree as a result of an event, person or place that triggers certain feelings and emotions that play a decisive role in this random action. Impulsive purchases can be as spur-of-the-moment as imaginable and often brings with it a certain excitement or Adrenalin rush that is however short-lived. On the other hand, compulsive shopping is when you actually plan a shopping spree and end up making purchases that you didn’t really need to make. All triggered by uncomfortable feelings such as anger or anxiety.
While there is a slightly common element in both impulsive and compulsive shopping, it is compulsive shopping that leads to addiction. Hence the term shopaholic which is a result or an extreme of compulsive shopping behaviour. Or even CBD which is compulsive buying disorder. Something that undoubtedly requires professional help and attention. Many experts in the field have shared immense insight on Impulsive vs Compulsive shopping, as well as the different types of shopping addictions that even bloggers have touched on, that also include ways to avoid compulsive shopping.
When it’s Okay to say NO and Mean NO to Impulse
Even though impulsive shopping isn’t as dangerous as compulsive shopping habits, to the point that it is an addiction few can overcome, the stakes are nevertheless high on the seriousness chart. Impulsive shopping is as important an issue to take notice of (hopefully in the early stages) as compulsive purchases. It is only when you are aware of this issue can you work to prevent it from happening to you. Perhaps even help a friend whom you think can fall into this bind. Positively speaking, even those who realize they have this issue to work on, can help themselves find a way out of this web.
Tips on Preventing Impulsive Purchases
While there may be many ways to prevent anyone from making impulsive purchases, here are a few tips to get you started. Carry cash only and leave credit cards at home when you have to go shopping for anything. Try to stay away from toxic friends or even rich friends who may push you past the brink. Another important point to remember is to check your mood before you have to shop, often times, a person’s mood is enough to lead them on an impulsive driven shopping spree. It is also wise to plan shopping trips ahead of time, and try avoiding putting yourself in a compromising position by buying an item that you will never use or perhaps use for five days of the year. If you can, write down your goals or make a list of precisely what you have to purchase. Last but definitely not least is checking online for available choices and reviews that help make your shopping as quick, effortless and in this case the least impulsive shopping you’ve done in a long time.
Compulsive Shoppers… This Way Please!
It is important to understand off-the-bat, that compulsive shopping is not an official diagnosis but can be identified by different names that include shopaholism, shopping addiction, oniomania etc. what is official though is the fact that people exhibiting symptoms of compulsive shopping disorder spend excessive time and resources on shopping itself. Something that they cannot understand as to why or what vacuum they need to fill through this repetitive ritual that only grows stronger with time, unless tackled to achieve some form of prevention.
Looking for Signs:
To better understand this disorder and to help prevent or treat it in an effective way, it is important to make note of certain signs and symptoms that the person will exhibit, which can be used as a guide to solving this issue.
- Shopping around the clock. A huge obsession.
- Shopping used as a mood elevator
- Purchasing in excess just to experience previous felt satisfaction
- Feeling down or depressed due to inability to shop
- Focus of shopping that distracts focus from school, work or responsibilities
- Difficulty in resisting sales, or unneeded purchases or items
- Facing financial difficulties due to excessive shopping
- Spending excessive time on research or reviews of coveted unnecessary items to purchase
- Making excessive purchases of unneeded items that are out of budget
- Looking for ways to spend…spend … spend
While the points mentioned above are enough to see a pattern, should you suspect someone a compulsive shopper, perhaps even you yourself (not judging) there are also four stages that every compulsive shopper goes through to reach satisfaction until the next shopping binge.
This is when the urges to shop begin. This could be anything from the focus on a particular item or the overall shopping experience. These feelings may range from subtle ones to full on, uncontrollable cravings.
A stage that is reflected by the research and decision making that leads to any shopping activity. This can involve anything from sales review, shopping destinations etc. As opposed to impulsive shopping, where the person shops unplanned, the compulsive shopper goes in well thought out and planned to purchase anything and everything the eye and heart sets on.
That time where the person gets a high and everything seems perfect for the moment. All the preparation, reviews, searching, deciding culminates with this stage.
A sudden low that is experienced by the person post-shopping. This time is when the person feels down about the shopping that has ended and the amount that was spent without any real reason or requirement.
Controlling your Spending
While it may be difficult to curb compulsive shopping in one quick action, you can try any of these points that will initiate a move to solving this issue and in so doing, controlling your spending. It can be agreed upon that all addictions do eventually burn a hole in the pocket. Here’s a simple way to avoid that.
Track your spending by making short notes on what you spend each day. By doing so, you will see a pattern should things get out of control.
Strict budgeting on every shopping spree helps you stay within limit. This way you can enjoy your shopping and not spend it all.
Every addition has a trigger or set of triggers that lead to the act over and over. If you manage to find what, who or where those triggers set in from, this will help you find a way to divert you from the act all-together.
This is an important one. Avoid making unnecessary purchases ahead of clearing your bills or right after pay-day. These are the times where triggers will work overtime and you will have to work twice as much to avoid them.
Another important point to remember and try to live by is when you find you cannot avoid the urge of compulsive shopping. Then shop for items you need most, such as daily necessities, household items, food stuff etc. rather than going overboard on gadgets and luxury items that you will perhaps use once or twice a year.
In ending, the subject of shopping behaviours being impulsive or compulsive and how far on this scale is an individual regarding one of these, differs from person to person. Some may be in the early stages and may have a promising chance of curbing the habit from growing, while others may perhaps be further along and may require time and working on this issue that can totally be overcome. Whatever the scenario, whether you yourself are a compulsive or impulsive shopper or you know someone who is, it’s crucial to understand that there is no room for judgement in this equation or track to recovery, so being supportive and encouraging is key, especially when stakes are high and avoiding the urges especially when the person is in front of that much desired item. It is important to create diversions to help the person out of this difficult situation.