» »

Reformed shopaholic? please can you give me the benefit of your advice

New Post Advanced Search

Coronavirus: Stay up to date with the latest from MSE

The MSE team is working extremely hard to keep the info we have about your travel rights, cancellation rights, sick pay (and more) up to date.
Stay updated with our guides: Coronavirus Help & Your Rights * Coronavirus Travel Rights

Reformed shopaholic? please can you give me the benefit of your advice

edited 9 March 2010 at 9:33PM in Debt Free Diaries
4.2K replies 233.7K views
salesaddictsalesaddict Forumite
488 posts
edited 9 March 2010 at 9:33PM in Debt Free Diaries
Hi all,

:o all I did was join a simple straight forward January 2010 thread for giving up buying toiletries and makeup until I had used up what I already have.
That one simple act, plus a few other things in my private life have led me to have to face up to the fact that I am a serious shopaholic and I need to stop before I am financially ruined.

It sounds so simple and logical to stop but I am finding it so hard.

I have searched through the DFW threads but I can't find any upto date help. All the posts/threads seem to be from 2007 and then they seem to stop abruptly. Are you all cured? If so can you tell me how? Or am I looking in the wrong place?

Thanks so much for any help you can give me.:)



  • Hi,

    I was just as bad, when I was depressed, or stressed, or just plain bored I would go shopping. Eventually I ended up with £60k of unsecured debt and am now on a DMP for the next ten years to pay it all off.

    What made me stop? I suppose it was finding the "right" partner who I wanted to marry (had already been married and divorced). Not wanting to let her down I suppose?

    I'm sorry I don't have the magic answer for you, but hang in there, things will get sorted eventually. I suppose its like any habit that you need to break (smoking/drinking/eating) its tough at first, but becomes easier with time.
    "Life is a sexually transmitted disease....... with a 100% mortality rate"
  • Hi,

    I doubt this will be of any use to you really but I heard these words " 'no' is a possible answer". The guy was talking about immaturity and how being an adult meant you said no to yourself sometimes and if that meant dealing with your real problems rather than avoiding them through spending then so be it.

    That hit me so hard I couldn't not change. It's simple, but it's not easy.
  • i think the fact that you are admitting i and trying to research it shows that you are taking steps in the right direction.

    i think leaving debit/credit cards out of your purse for a while or at least when you go into town stops those impulse buys thos efew little treats whih an really add up.

    How about ebaying someof your stuff? you could use it to pay of some of your debt, and may be keep a kitty of x amount which you an use each month and once it's gone its gone?
  • I managed to rein in my shopaholic tendancies by

    1) Shopping on ebay and in charity shops - much cheaper.
    2) Buying Christmas presents over the year. This way you get to enjoy shopping for other people and you are spreading the stress and costs of Christmas over the year.
    3) Setting myself a strict monthly amount for shopping/entertainment and having no guilt or stress about spending it!
    4) If I want something that I can't afford in my monthly budget then I mystery shop / sell something so that I can afford it.

    Working very well for me.
  • Hi SA

    Found your diary so have subscribed, take one day at a time & stay strong, it is hard to break spending habits as I used to spend when I was down & stressed so fully understand where you are coming from.

    Admitting that you have a problem is a positive step in the right direction, you could try a spending diary, sell items on Ebay, car boot when it's warmer, have you signed up for surveys on line?

    Just a few to think about.

    D x
  • edited 2 February 2010 at 12:18PM
    savingmummysavingmummy Forumite
    2.9K posts
    Debt-free and Proud!
    edited 2 February 2010 at 12:18PM
    I gave up work to become a stay at home mum. Had no income and was not used to not having my wages each month to splash about.
    I soon become a catalogue diva and splashed out as and when i felt the urge....4 years later i was in debt and struggling to pay it all back - THIS stopped me!!

    Only last week i become debtfree and have closed ALL my accounts and stopped the catalogues completely!

    It will be hard for you to stop starightaway so you need to give yourself time to beat it!
    Try a bit of spending money each day/week (depending how often you shop) to spend!!
    Then gradually lower the amount, reduce the days to once a week, once a week to once a month.

    I found having my SOA http://www.makesenseofcards.com/soacalc.html helped me see that if i did order £50 out of a catalogue that could actually pay a bill each month!!
    I used to place an order online then before i submitted i would think do i NEED it??? 10/10 times i didnt so pressed cancel! Hence my lightbulb moment!!

    You will do it, it is finding what works for you and how bad you need to stop!

    How about a bank account for your wages and bills to come out of - so you know all is being paid each month! THEN an account for yourself to spend as you wish so to speak.
    DebtFree FEB 2010!
    Slight blip in 2013 - Debtfree Aug 2014 :j

    Savings £132/£1000.
  • Hiya

    I was a bit like this too... I had piles of stuff, piles of debt, was overweight but couldn't stop spending.

    In addition to all the above, I would say start small. Really tiny! Try having a no spend day, during the week whilst you're at work. Plan that you won't need to buy anything, so you might decide to take in a bottle water, or some tea bags to work, a packed lunch and have the ingredients ready for your dinner so no need to shop on the way home.

    It sounds really easy but it's surprisingly difficult if you're a shopoholic... when I first started this, having a no spend day was impossible - and reading about people who did 5 NSDs or so a week made my mind boggle - how on earth did they do it?!!

    If you fall off the wagon by buying a cup of coffee or something, don't beat yourself up and go on a spending binge, just resolve that today won't be a no spend day, it will be a minimum spend day instead - congratulate yourself on not spending unnecessarily.

    Be kind to yourself, and be gentle - you're using a behaviour to deal with your emotions, so it won't work to just remove the behaviour as you haven't given yourself any other tools to deal with your emotions in the meantime. So you'll fall off the wagon, beat yourself up, feel bad, spend money to cheer yourself up ...continue and repeat! If you break the cycle the behaviour will fall away naturally.

    I did a lot of reading on cognitive behavioural therapy, which I found really helpful in learning to deal with emotions without having to eat/spend/drink etc etc.

    Best of luck!
  • SystemSystem
    177.7K posts
    10,000 Posts
    Hi Salesaddict,

    I'm not sure it is ever really possible to get rid of the compulsion to shop. For me though, what made me stop was basically being unable to get any more credit. I had racked up all my credit cards to their max and was then unable to get larger limits or indeed any more cards. This has forced me to take a good hard look at my finances and to say they are a disaster is an understatement. I have had to reign in everything and only have about £100 a month to live on each month now. But I still see lots of things I want to buy and think about how much food I am prepared to go without in order to buy it, so the compulsion is very much still there.

    Best way to stop is to lower your limits as much as possible. If you don't have it, you can't spend it. Also try to focus your compulsive behaviour towards something else. For me, it was doing a budget spreadsheet and updating it each day. Seeing the debt figure do down each day is a feeling which comes close to the thrill of buying new stuff.

    Failing that, try to only buy yourself unnecessary items with any 'extra' money you make, so do mystery shopping, online surveys, daily scratchcards etc and use the money purely for treats. Salary should go on essentials and lowering your debts.

    Good luck!

  • Some great advice in the above posts. :)

    Well what stopped me is when I got to a stage of having so much debt and not being able to pay it. I'm now on a DMP which will take a long time to pay off but I'll never return to the place I was 3 years ago. :eek:

    Shopping was my hobby, I would have been in a shopping centre each evening and at weekends basically buying stuff I didn't need. Nowadays I take my kids to parks, museums etc in my spare time instead.

    My tips:

    Use cash only - do not use debit/credit/store cards to pay for anything. Withdraw money once a week and make it last the week. No what you need to pay out for essentials and what you have left over a treat. Don't go back to that machine and don't use cards. I used to go into town and buy a load of stuff on the credit card and then go to Next and use the Next Card. :mad: I'm paying for those wonderful clothes now and believe me they aren't worth it. Nowadays if I have to physically hand over £40 for something I'll think about it first.

    Spending Diary - Write down everything you spend and what on. I was shocked.

    Find Other Hobbies - Keep out of shops, don't think of them as a leisure activity. Go walking, swimming or whatever instead

    Sell What You Have - You must have loads of stuff - sell it on Ebay, Amazon, Gumtree or whatever.

    Treat Yourself - When you get your spending under control and put a bit away why not save a bit in a tin each week and then treat yourself once a month. Now that I'm not wasting money on a daily basis I find I can afford a splurge now and then without resorting to credit.

    Comping - I get the same buzz out of entering competitions as I do from shopping. You never know what you may win.

    I wish you the best of luck.
  • NGladyNGlady Forumite
    1K posts
    I think - although I don't really have any debts (yet) as a result of my "hobby" I am a shopaholic. I was made redundent on the 23rd December and ever since I think it must be near enough everyday I have had a wonder around the shopping centre, buying things that I dont actually need. Over the weekend on the Debenhams website, just because they have a 20% code and free postage, I purchased FIVE pairs of shoes, one coast shrug and a pair of slippers.. and a holdall I dont need. Not because im going anywhere special, that I need a pair of beautiful shoes, oh no, just because there beautiful. To make it even more stupid, they didnt have a size 6 in these shoes, so i brought a 7 and was trying to convince my mum yesterday that they did fit!
    It is a hobby to me to walk round the shops - and it is scary to think its my only hobby. I don't really know what else im into? Did anybody else get like that?
    I can go into a shop and spend 3/4 quid on a magazine, put it into my bag and never actually get round to reading that glossy must have, £2.50 on a coffee didn't seem much....
    It is in some ways like a drug, you get adicted to it. If I havn't had a shop for a couple of days, it becomes everything I think about :( Until I have to buy something.. anything.. just to shop :(
    It is scary as I read all these stories on here and I can see myself five years down the track in the same pan as alot of people on here. I know how easy it is to get into this hobby but it is so hard to get out of :(
    Learning to be 'good with money'
Sign In or Register to comment.

Quick links

Essential Money | Who & Where are you? | Work & Benefits | Household and travel | Shopping & Freebies | About MSE | The MoneySavers Arms | Covid-19 & Coronavirus Support