How to control your shopping urges

Apr 3, 2012 at 2:50 p.m. ET

Shopping is never a matter of needs; it’s always a matter of wants. Can you really blame yourself? We all feel ten times better when we buy a pair of heels or a sexy belt and flaunt them on our night out. It automatically relieves our worries and stress — till we go home and check our account balances! It’s hard to control our shopping urges sometimes, but there are ways to tone it down and keep it healthy.

Women shoppingCreate a list

When we go shopping for a few random items buried somewhere deep in our minds, it’s hard to stay focused, and we often leave the mall without buying what we had originally set out to look for. It’s easy to get distracted by all the colours and designs staring at us as we walk through the aisles. When considering the different things you “need” (we shall assume they are needs for now), grab a pen and paper and write down the items. This exercise will make you come face-to-face with the number of items you intend to buy and often result in your reducing the list. Furthermore, taking a list with you to a store or a mall will keep you focused while on your quest for what you want.

Break it down

Rather than letting your "needs" pile up and then shopping for them all at once, go the mall every one to two weeks and buy only one item each time. Whether you purchase a jacket or a simple face cream, you will feel like you are treating yourself regularly, which will reduce the urge to shop more often. Also, be extra good to yourself every now and then. Each month, buy one item that you really want. Then be your own judge: If you’ve been good all month, treat yourself to a nice shirt too. If you feel like you’ve spent too much, a simple bracelet will do.

Explore your closet

Given the booming fashion industry, it’s hard not to want to shop. There’s always a new trend and a new hot colour and a new latest style. This leaves us wanting to shop more, more and more. One way to work around this is by exploring and rediscovering what's already in your closet on a regular basis. This will help you fight those constant urges to buy more items. Try on your clothes. Pick an item or two that you do not wear often and try to find ways to make them work. You will find hidden treasures and ways to mix and match items that will make an old outfit look brand new!

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