I love online shopping. If I had the money I’d be sending myself little gifts every day. No wonder people are addicted to it. It’s like buying yourself a present. But when it actually arrives it feels like someone sent you a present. The odd time I have bought something online the best part was looking forward to the day it actually arrives, then unpacking it and seeing what extras they sent along with my purchase. (Usually nothing more than a free sample of something, a coupon for more spending, brochures or other sales related stuff).
They say it’s retail therapy when you go shopping to make yourself feel better. It’s almost cute if that’s all it is. However, when the credit cards are filling up and you have to choose which bills to pay and plan how you will have enough for groceries but still you’re out there buying more stuff for retail therapy… something is broken. It’s not cute when it becomes an addiction and it doesn’t really make you feel better. Also, with a shopping addiction there is the problem of what to do with all that stuff, where does it all go inside the available living space?
My best advice to anyone who is getting too involved with online shopping is to go ahead and shop, but stop at actually purchasing anything. Become an online window shopper instead. All the fun of looking for the bargain, or the right thing but none of the financial burden. You don’t even have to worry about sizes, colours or whether shipping is an extra charge.
I also love to spend time shopping for freeware, open source or gadgets like addons for my web browser, plugins for my WordPress blog, etc. I do stick to things I will actually use and anything I don’t care for I delete right away rather than having it hanging around.
These are all free shopping, no download required if you just look for the latest interesting thing and don’t choose any of them. But, even if you end up downloading and installing a mass of freebie stuff – it’s pretty easy to delete it all later. One thing to be careful about – don’t download from risky sites which might be free but come with extras you don’t want. Do some research and find the best sites to shop, just as you would for any other online shopping.
Signs of Online Shopping Addiction
Jobs, families and friends are neglected.
Financially they are over extended, credit cards are loaded and they may be borrowing money from family and friends to pay for ordinary things.
They plan their day around waiting for the mail to be delivered.
Even if you get them away from it they can’t get shopping off their mind.
Feeling lost or out of control when credit cards are unavailable for use.
They have a lot of stuff they don’t need and don’t really have a place for.
They have clothes, cosmetics, books, etc. never used and yet they are still shopping and buying more.
They lie and make excuses for the things they buy.
Feeling happy and good while shopping, then let down and upset after the shopping high wears off.
Repetitively doing the same things far more than necessary. Checking prices, comparing prices on items you just looked at the day (or hour) before and expecting or feeling let down when nothing has changed.
Help for Online Shopping Addiction
Consider what triggers the shopping: boredom, anger, disappointment, fear, nervousness, or habit.
Begin setting limits on how much you will spend. Stick to your limits.
Remove your financial information from all the shopping sites. That way, you at least have to take the time to input the information all over again and this will give you time to reconsider making the purchase.
Have a list of things you could do instead of giving into the temptation to shop online.
Set limits on your time spent online. Put the Internet on holiday service to give yourself time to recover and become less dependent on it.
Keep a journal of your online habits, let yourself see how much time and money you are actually spending on this.
Get a shopping buddy so you can both work on getting your habit/ addiction in better control. Be accountable to each other and keep in touch daily.
Try to take a digital sabbatical, see how long you can last without going online and find other things to do with your time instead.
Become an online window shopping instead. Don’t buy anything, just enjoy the shopping part.
Have a goal in mind, a reason for cutting your online shopping. What is the most important reason for you to kick the habit or get your shopping under control? What is the benefit which you are most looking forward to?