How To Stop Compulsive Spending
By: Rachael
November 25, 2023

Do you just like to shop?  Or is it compulsive spending? Doesn’t it feel good to have a new outfit or find that perfect home decoration to place on your coffee table? It’s even better to find those items when they are on sale right? It’s human nature to want a shiny, new item, handpicked from the store or online. The rush you get from buying a new item feels so good. You could be having a terrible day, but buying something, anything, can seem to make the sun come out from behind the clouds.  


Are you resonating with the above statements? Do you find yourself sliding down a slippery slope?  Once one package has arrived, you need to have another one in transit for something to look forward to. If so, have you thought of what is causing you to want to go spend and spend? You may believe you have it under control, or maybe you know your spending has become out of hand and don’t know where to turn. Here are a few steps to begin the journey to stop your compulsive spending.


  1. When you are standing in the store, ask yourself, do I actually need this item? Will it be something I use daily, or maybe once and have it sit on my shelf or in my closet for years?
  2. If the answer is no to the above questions, try to leave the item at the store and see if you are still thinking about it hours or days later. If you are, maybe this is something that can be purchased.
  3. If going to the store and leaving empty handed is too difficult, let’s put into practice steps to prevent going into the store in the first place. When you have the urge to spend because you had a rough day, you are in a fight with a friend, or you are plain bored. Pull out a list you wrote down beforehand of activities you can go to. Pick an activity from the list and go and do it.
  4. After you have completed the activity, check in with yourself, do you still have that urge or has it gone away?
  5. If you still have the urge to spend, take the time to sit with your emotions. What are they telling you? Maybe you think it will take the pain away, or make you feel like you are more in control of your life. Sure, you may feel that way right after the initial purchase, but it won’t eliminate the pain altogether.
  6. Once you pinpoint the pain you are numbing, you are now able to work on your compulsive spending effectively, instead of simply coping. If the problem is too difficult to tackle alone, find help.