Avoid emotional spending.

Emotional spending deals with the highs and lows of life.You can buy things impulsively when you feel anger, disappointment, sadness, envy, insecurity, guilt, denial, fear, and anticipation.In the long run emotional spending can prevent you from paying bills or saving up for purchases.You can avoid emotional spending by acknowledging the emotions that cause them.If you don’t want to shop, start a budget to keep track of your spending and savings.

Step 1: If this purchase is necessary, ask yourself.

Take some time to breathe, and then reconsider your purchase after the initial rush of excitement has passed.Are you in need of this item?What purpose does it serve?If it’s a needed item like toothpaste or dish soap, you can buy it knowing that it isn’t based on emotion.If the purchase isn’t necessary, think about why you want it.Do you want a new shirt because of how your day at work went?Hold off on the purchase if that is the case.Do you know if you can afford this today?Start saving for it if it isn’t.

Step 2: For larger purchases, use the 24-Hour Rule.

Think about your purchase for 24 hours.After you think about the item for a while, it’s common to forget about it all together.You should buy the item the next day if you still want it.

Step 3: Don’t use your credit card at home.

Your purchases can stack up quickly if you distance yourself from your money when you pay with a card.You can reduce the temptation to make emotional purchases by leaving your card at home.You can use cash instead of your card.You will be more conscious of what you spend money on if you see and hold it in your hands.You are less likely to go on a shopping spree if you have a limited amount of money.Cancel your credit card and commit to not using credit at all in order to make things easier.You will not be able to spend money that you don’t have readily available in cash.

Step 4: Credit card information can be deleted from websites.

When you don’t have to type in any information, it’s easy to pull the Trigger on a purchase.If you don’t save your credit card information on your favorite websites, you give yourself a few more moments to consider how important the purchase is.Each purchase is a little more difficult because you have to travel to the store.

Step 5: Before you make a purchase, check in with an accountability friend.

Ask a frugal close friend or family member if they would be willing to help you decide when to make a purchase.When you are about to buy something, call them and let them decide if it is a good idea.

Step 6: Take care of your belongings.

If you want to see what you already have, take a look in your closet.You might find that you want a new black dress, but you already have three black dresses with tags on them.This will help you decide if you need a purchase or just want it.Donate unneeded items to the thrift store.Give away or sell a piece of your clothing when you buy a new one.The shopping experience may be more difficult because of this.

Step 7: Price shopping can be avoided if you commit to it.

If you compare shopping into a game, you won’t buy it right away.For each item you want to buy, do some research to find something similar for a cheaper price.This will allow you to look at the purchase logically.

Step 8: You can track your emotional spending totals.

Write down your totals and save your receipts.Whatever works best for you, record them on paper, app, or spreadsheet on your computer.You can see where your money is being spent by writing down your spending totals.Tracking your spending helps you stay on top of your finances.The headings are date, purchase, amount, and necessity.Take your receipts and fill out the headings with the information on them.Write down the date you purchased it, what item it was, the amount you spent, and how necessary the purchase was.You can base this on a “yes or no” system, such as “1-5” or “5 being a necessity.”

Step 9: A budget is created.

Write down the amount of money you make each month, how much you spend on bills, and what you need for groceries and gas.Take care of your expenses and leave a note of how much you have left over.This will help keep you focused on your finances.

Step 10: It is possible to open a savings account.

You should open a savings account if you don’t already have one.Contribute a certain amount to the account each month.If you have to pay for living expenses each month you will have less money for emotional spending.

Step 11: The spending limit should be set.

You will know how much money you have after budgeting.Some of the total should be set aside for savings and spending.Don’t spend more than you budget for.You might have to use some discipline to not overspend, but budgeting can help you resist overspending.If you don’t blow through your spending for a month but still want to shop, tell yourself, “It’s not in the budget.”

Step 12: If you want to reduce stress, try to exercise for 20 minutes a day.

When you are stressed out, go for a walk in the park instead of going to the mall.It’s a good idea to grab a friend or two.Exercise can relieve stress and be a perfect substitution for shopping.Try a new sport, take a yoga class, or ride a bike.

Step 13: You can distract yourself from feeling sad or angry by reading a book.

You can get out of the shopaholic thought cycle by reading.Giving your mind a break may be what you need.Magazines and websites work well.

Step 14: Start a new hobby.

Pick up an activity you’ve never tried before, instead of spending time in strip malls.What is something that you have always wanted to do?For example, try knitting, woodworking, or karate.

Step 15: If you want to get creative, try to make your own crafts.

The act of creation will make you feel better.It will distract you from the need to go shopping and give you the satisfaction of making something yourself.If you like fashion, you can make your own accessories.You can make your own handmade present.Rather than buying a new pair of shoes, try painting them.Cut up old jeans and use them as shorts.

Step 16: It is a good idea to spend time with friends.

If you know spending is a problem, you should find other activities to do with friends.You can celebrate by going out for a drink with your girlfriends instead of buying a new piece of jewelry.Coffee dates, museum visits, or trying new restaurants are other things to do besides shop.

Step 17: Don’t feel alone if you ask for help from your family and friends.

Inform those close to you that you have problems with emotional shopping, and they can remind you when you are acting like a shopaholic.When you shop, have a friend or family member tell you no when necessary.

Step 18: When all else fails, seek professional help.

Retail therapy can quickly turn into a spending problem.It’s time to get help from a professional after you’ve tried everything.Don’t feel guilty if you admit you need help.It is possible to overcome emotional spending by working with others.Shopaholic No More is a shopping support group and a professional counselor works with spending addictions.