Shopaholic Help - 5 Free Money Saving Tips

Many of us joke about being addicted to shopping, but for a lot of people, being a shopaholic is a serious problem. Studies estimate that as many as 17 million Americans can't control their urge to shop, even if their job, their marriage, their family or their finances are in jeopardy. Whether it’s online shopping, or buying stuff at the mall, shopaholics know in their heads they don’t need more clothes, shoes or jewelry but they can’t seem to stop their compulsive shopping behavior.

Here are 5 free money saving tips that may help those addicted to shopping.

1. Stop Online Ads

It is harder to kick an online shopping addiction when many of the ads you see are specifically targeted to your shopping preferences. Google stores cookies containing information about which websites you like to visit, and then displays ads they believe you might be interested in. For example, if you visit a lot of clothing websites, Google stores that information about you, and then displays clothing ads when you visit other sites. This can make it extremely hard for someone who is trying to kick an online shopping addiction. You can opt out of Googles interest based advertising by visiting Google’s Ads Preferences Manager.

2. Substitute garage sales and thrift stores

Shopping is a pleasurable experience, and that’s part of the reason it’s so hard to overcome, but there are many places to shop that don’t involve paying full retail prices. Check out thrift stores and garage sales in your area. Since shopping tendencies may serve emotional, rather than practical needs, you can still experience the joy of shopping without the pain of overspending.

3. Keep a feelings journal

Shopaholics know that they shouldn’t be shopping otherwise they wouldn’t try and hide their purchases, or feel guilty when they get home. This proves that they are in touch with their feelings, but are ignoring them. Start a feelings journal. Write down every place where you feel good. If you are happy trying out a new recipe for dinner, write that down. Feel good watching your kids play soccer, write that down. After 2 weeks, review your journal. Identify moments, places, and people that bring you joy. The goal is to spend more time doing what brings happiness, and less time shopping and spending money.

4. Avoid Temptation

Just like an alcoholic doesn’t visit bars, shopaholics may need to avoid places of temptation. If you cannot visit stores without overspending, try and avoid the mall. If you must buy a necessity, at least bring a friend along with you. Turn off the shopping channel. Focus instead on identifying new places to go, so that the next time you feel a shopaholic impulse coming on, you can visit someplace other than the mall.

5. Take up a new hobby

Force yourself to try something new. Shopping is fun, but there are many other fun things too. Think back. What did you vow to try or learn to do? Make yourself begin a new activity. Stick with it for three to four weeks so it can become part of your new routine.