How to Cut Back on Retail Therapy | WaterStone Bank

How do you react to stressful situations in life? Although there are plenty of healthy coping mechanisms you could rely on, many people turn to retail therapy for a boost when they’re feeling low.

A few small splurges from time to time aren’t cause for concern. But if you find yourself reaching for your credit card whenever you’re sad or upset, it may be time to step back and evaluate your habit.

Here are a few tips to help you keep emotional spending in check.

1. Pause before you buy.

Common advice for emotional overeaters is to pause before eating and consider whether your hunger is coming from a physical need or an emotional response. This approach also works for emotional spending.

If you catch yourself browsing and mindlessly adding items to your online cart, take a pause. Ask yourself: Are you shopping based on a need for you or your family? Or are you shopping out of boredom or an emotional response?

2. Take away temptations.

If you follow your favorite brands on social media and your inbox is flooded with promotions, start unfollowing and unsubscribing. You’ll be less likely to make impulse purchases when you aren’t inundated with special offers and sales.

3. Sleep on it.

Unless you’re certain that you need the item you’re about to buy, step away from the cart (or the cash register) and give yourself at least a night or two to sleep on it. If you quickly lose interest in the item that first caught your eye, you’ll be glad you didn’t pull the trigger on the purchase.

4. Soothe yourself with other activities.

Making a purchase might give you a quick dopamine hit, but that benefit is short-lived. Instead of treating yourself to a shopping spree when you’re upset, try to incorporate other healthy coping mechanisms into your routine.

A few good options include going for a walk or exercising, starting a home project or enjoyable hobby, or calling up a friend or relative.

5. Consider seeking help.

If you feel that your habit is snowballing beyond your control, don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist. A professional can help get to the root of your spending habit and determine if any other conditions like depression or anxiety are at play.

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