If you feel you are shopping too much, you aren’t alone. Many people look at their spending habits and decide that more money should stay in their bank account. Wondering how to stop shopping? Keep reading!
Table of contents
- 1. Define your money goals
- 2. Take a closer look at your budget
- 3. Track your spending to stick to the plan
- 4. Remove shopping temptations
- 5. Delay your purchases
- 6. Only go shopping with a list
- 7. Tuck away your savings in a separate account
- 8. Try a shopping ban
- 9. Focus on gratitude
- 10. Avoid going to stores
- 11. Embrace minimalism
- Expert tip: Track your shopping behaviors
- Why is it difficult to quit shopping?
- How do I stop shopping as a hobby?
- Why can’t I quit shopping?
- Articles related to quitting shopping
- You can learn how to stop shopping and save money!
With all the spending temptations out there, it can be challenging to stop shopping. Luckily, it can be done. Let’s take a look at the ways that you can stop overspending starting right now.
1. Define your money goals
If you want to discover how to stop shopping, the first thing to do is define your money goals.
Financial goals can be any objective or milestone you want to achieve with your money in the future. A few good examples include getting out of debt, retirement planning and saving, or setting out on a journey of homeownership.
Only you can determine what money goals matter to you. Take some time to consider what you want your future to look like and what money moves will make that dream a reality. It is likely that your money habits are not supporting your goals if you are shopping too much.
Once you define your money goals, you may be less tempted to splurge on unnecessary purchases and put those funds towards your money goals instead.
2. Take a closer look at your budget
With your money goals in mind, set up a paycheck budget that works for you. As you map out where you want your money to go, you’ll likely find that unnecessary shopping is not high on your list of priorities.
Instead, you can tailor your budget to include what is important to you.
Of course, you can and should include a budget for shopping fun. But don’t let this category run wild. Keep your spending desires balanced with your long-term money goals.
3. Track your spending to stick to the plan
Creating a budget is a good jumping-off point. But without tracking your spending, you won’t know if you are sticking to your budgeting plan. That’s why you need to track your spending regularly.
You can use a budget app or stick to a simple spreadsheet or budget binder. Choose the strategy that works best for you. Personally, I prefer tracking my spending in a simple spreadsheet to keep myself on track.
4. Remove shopping temptations
When I struggled with overspending, I realized that many of my purchases were made on impulse. And it was especially true for online shopping, with a constant deluge of store newsletters hitting my inbox.
When I received too many deliveries one day after a shopping binge, I started searching for how to quit shopping. Eventually, I decided to remove my shopping temptations by unsubscribing from store newsletters that crowded my inbox. With that, I was quickly able to curb my spending tendencies.
Take a few minutes to unsubscribe from the store newsletters you receive. It may be difficult to hit “unsubscribe” from your favorite stores, especially if you think you’re getting a bargain from coupons or sale notifications. But remember, you can always check out their website when you actually need something.
Without the constant temptation, you may be able to become more mindful and stop shopping for unnecessary purchases.
5. Delay your purchases
Many of us struggle to stop shopping due to buying things on impulse.
For example, I might throw a few extra items in my cart while Amazon shopping or pick up an extra candle or two while I’m out. But I really don’t need these things — but at the moment, it feels like I absolutely need another candle.
Luckily, you can curb impulse purchases by delaying your decision. For small purchases, waiting 48 hours is a good timeframe to reconsider. For larger purchases, waiting 30 days is usually a good option.
When you step away from the store and have time to think, you’ll often realize that you don’t need the item. Or you may forget about it altogether! Either way, you can stop the urge to shop in its tracks.
Take a minute to set up some delayed purchase rules for yourself.
For example, you might decide that items over $20 require a 24-hour delay. Find a system that works for you. You will be surprised how often you forget about the item entirely!
6. Only go shopping with a list
Many shoppers may walk into a store with only a vague idea of what they need. But a list can be a key way to stop unnecessary spending. Before you head to the store, create a list of everything you need.
Once you arrive, only buy what is on the list. I find that this tip is especially useful for avoiding unnecessary grocery store spending by shopping frugal.
If I arrive at the grocery store without a list, I always walk away with snack items that I don’t need. But with a list, I can stick to the plan and gather only what I need.
7. Tuck away your savings in a separate account
If you like to make spending decisions by checking out your bank account balance, keeping all your savings in one place can easily lead to over spending.
After all, you don’t want to use your emergency savings on an impulse buy. But if your account has the money, it can be too difficult to resist.
With that, tucking away your savings into a separate account can be the perfect solution. When your savings are safely stored in a savings account, you can spend more freely from your checking account. You won’t have to worry about accidentally spending your emergency savings.
The best way to ensure that the money you intend to save makes it into your account is to set up an automatic transfer with each paycheck and automate your finances.
8. Try a shopping ban
An extreme way to stop shopping is to institute a shopping ban for a particular period of time.
Although it might seem too challenging, this can be an effective way to stop shopping sprees. You could quit shopping completely for an entire week, month, or year.
Of course, not shopping can be very challenging. But you’ll be able to set the rules and timeframe.
If you are interested in this strategy, I highly recommend reading The Year of Less. The author, Cait Flanders, shared her experience with a shopping ban for an entire year.
Alternatively, you could also try a low-buy year!
9. Focus on gratitude
An attitude of gratitude can truly change your perspective on many things, including shopping.
Take some time to consider what you already have. Take a look around your closet and home. You might find that you have everything you truly need already.
If you are struggling to stop shopping, you may need to examine your relationship with money further. Unfortunately, negative emotions surrounding money are very common.
But if you cannot recognize these emotions in your life, you might struggle with financial decisions such as overspending.
Focus on creating a positive money mindset, which starts with gratitude for what you already have. Try out the 30 days of gratitude challenge to encourage thankfulness.
10. Avoid going to stores
I’ve always gone to stores as part of social plans. I’ve met friends at the mall and walked around the stores with them for hours.
However, if you want to quit shopping, you need to minimize how much time you spend in stores. Let your friends know that you are trying to cut back.
Instead, look into ways that you can have fun outside of the store. Meet up for coffee or lunch, or even go for a healthy walk or hike together.
When you stop spending time in stores, you remove the temptation to spend money. It is simply a case of out of sight, out of mind.
11. Embrace minimalism
Embracing minimalist finances helps you to change how you view spending money. To do this, you need to cut out all of the unnecessary things in your life. If you don’t need something, you don’t have to buy it.
When you adopt this mindset, it will help you declutter your life and change your habits. Rather than buying loads of things you don’t need, you can only buy things of value. It makes a huge difference to how you feel about the things that you own.
Expert tip: Track your shopping behaviorsShopping habits can be hard to break. Before cutting back, you need to understand how, when, and, most importantly, why you shop. While you should already be tracking your finances, it may also be helpful to keep track of your everyday shopping behaviors.
Kick things off by creating a shopping journal — you can do this on your smartphone or on paper. Write down everything you buy and when you bought it. You may also want to note down whether you used a credit card, cash, or another form of payment.
Visually seeing how much you spend on certain things will help you understand each shopping behavior. Perhaps you’ll find that you tend to overspend the most on your wardrobe or that you only overbuy when you use your credit card. You can use this resource to transform how you spend money and learn how to stop shopping.
Why is it difficult to quit shopping?
If you’ve tried to quit shopping before now, you know the drill. I’ve found that it can be extremely difficult to avoid temptation when trying to quit.
But wait, why is it so tough? Let’s take a look at some of the core reasons that you may struggle to make fewer purchases.
It has become a habit
Once you have formed habits, they can be hard to break. A habit is usually made up of a trigger, an action, and then a reward.
For example, you might feel sad, buy something, and then feel happy. Since you get a “reward,” you will keep repeating that habit when you are sad.
For that reason, it’s important to understand what your personal triggers are. When do you shop, and why do you do it? What are you gaining from this experience?
Answering questions like these will help you to avoid spending money when you don’t want or need to. And it may help you figure out if you have a shopping habit or a shopping addiction.
You are avoiding something
Does shopping work as a distraction for you? If so, you need to think about what you are avoiding.
Whether it’s debt stress, worries, or other problems, shopping will not solve them. Look into why you are using shopping as a distraction and take things from there.
It gives you instant satisfaction
When you shop, it gives you a hit of dopamine, which makes you feel happier. If you have been relying on spending money to bring you joy, it can be hard to quit the habit.
It’s important to look at other ways to lift your mood that don’t involve shopping. Learning how to find happiness within yourself — through healthier means — will help you overcome this habit.
How do I stop shopping as a hobby?
If you think of shopping as a hobby, it can be incredibly hard to stop. And so with that in mind, the first step here is to reframe how you think about shopping. It is about buying the things that you need, rather than being a fun activity that you do during the weekends.
I’ve found that it is helpful to look at other ways to have fun without excessively spending money.
For example, you might choose to join a sports club, start a new creative project, read a book, or even binge-watch a TV series.
Replace your shopping habit with something new or try out stress relieving hobbies. You may also try to limit social media, Instagram, emails from stores, and other things that can make you want to shop.
Why can’t I quit shopping?
If you want to quit shopping but can’t, you may experience a load of guilt and shame, but before you can go cold turkey, you need to figure out what your personal shopping triggers are.
For instance, you might shop more frequently when you’re stressed, tired, or simply looking for a distraction. Take the time to figure out what makes you want to buy new things. When you have that information, you can deal with the root of the problem first.
And know that many people struggle to stop shopping and it’s okay, you will learn how to manage your money better.
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You can learn how to stop shopping and save money!
It can be difficult to stop shopping. But it is completely possible. Give these strategies a try as you look for ways to cut back on shopping.
You might be surprised how quickly you can make a change when you get started today. And remember, there are many ways to spend time other than shopping, such as trying out hobbies that make money or starting a side hustle.