Shopping used to be limited to shopping trips to a nearby mall or to a specialty store. Now, we can purchase virtually anything we want online right from our laptops. That’s why it’s more crucial than ever to understand how shopping can have an impact on your finances.

Are you constantly out shopping without regard for your budget? You’re not alone. The American family carries an average credit card balance of $6,741. While other factors contribute to credit card debt, excessive shopping makes up a big part of this debt for many people.

Read on to find out what factors likely affect your shopping sprees and how you can avoid them so you’ll be better off financially.

Defining the meaning of “shopping spree”

Shopping spree refers to a period of time during which a person buys many different things. That definition might sound familiar to you.

So many of our team has lost $100 at Target after going to “just one stop.” Online shopping sprees are possible, too. It’s even simpler to collect a virtual cart with an item or two and then checkout a few minutes later (typically with an saved credit card).

It’s important to realize that frequent shopping sprees may not always indicate a shopping addiction. Those who are truly addicted to shopping are unable to curb their impulse to shop online and cannot stop themselves from doing so. Those who do so are harming themselves. If you have a shopping addiction, consider seeking more intensive therapy to get to the root of the problem.

Rather than focusing on addiction, we are discussing how even an occasional shopping trip can negatively affect your finances and what you can do to avoid taking part in unnecessary shopping sprees.

How shopping sprees can impact your finances

Are you wondering why your shopping sprees are making you broke? Here are just a few ways constant shopping sprees can negatively impact your finances:

1. You might unexpectedly blow your budget

You know the budget you worked so hard to create and adhere to? With one shopping spree, it could be blown in a moment! A shopping spree can invalidate an entire month of discipline.

It is good to go off-the-books occasionally (we are all humans!), but if it becomes a regular practice, you may decide to stop using a budget and end up with a poorer financial situation.

2. Shopping sprees can cause excessive credit card debt

Most shopping trips are made possible by none other than your credit card. It might feel easy and good in the moment, but putting your shopping sprees on your credit card is likely to lead to excessive debt that you’ll have to work hard to pay off.

3. Can lead to bankruptcy

If you struggle with too much debt and other forms of credit, you may have to declare bankruptcy. However, frequent shopping trips could lead to you declaring bankruptcy, so you should certainly take them seriously.

4. Can cause issues in your relationship

Especially if your shopping sprees have incurred debt, they may lead to problems in your relationship. Debt, in particular, is among the top topics couples fight about and get divorced over.

Understanding why you go on shopping sprees

Some of us have often gone on shopping expeditions, for reasons both fun and frivolous.

1. Outside influences

There are two major categories of external influences that can lead to you to get a sudden urge to shop (or even stress shop): influencers such as yourself, and your peers. First, let’s discuss those lifestyle influencers who are constantly flaunting their trendy new items on your feed with their tempting haul videos!

Seeing all these new gadgets might make you wonder whether you want them, too. This could lead to “spur of the moment” online shopping behavior. Secondly, there’s the effect that your peers’ shopping habits have on you.

Seeing your friends with the coolest new outfit or gadget can spark jealousy, competition, and overspending. It’s one of the main reasons why people go bankrupt. It’s hard to resist constant shopping sprees when you keep up-to-date with the activities of others.

Don’t let yourself be mesmerized by social media. Unfollow influencers if you can’t afford their items and hang out with friends in your own social circle. Don’t let yourself be swayed to spend your hard-earned money because you’re not obligated to buy things that aren’t affordable to you or out of your budget.

2. To make you feel better when you’re down

Do you feel sad? Depressed? Angry? Sometimes a little retail therapy is all you need–or all you think you need. While a shopping spree might make you feel good in the moment, it won’t address the underlying issues causing your sadness.

Those need to be addressed separately. For the time being, don’t let your excitement influence your spending choices. Whenever you feel the urge to shop and have a break from working, call a friend or family member, go for a walk, cook a meal, or do anything else but shop.

Constant Shopping Sprees
Constant Shopping Sprees

3. To counteract boredom

Tired of your life? Don’t know what to do with your free time? Many people shop for leisure or to escape their daily life. Shopping sprees happen in mere minutes, so even just a quick trip to the grocery store makes for a fun afternoon.

There’s no need to bother with defrosting your car or shoveling your driveway when you have a phone, a shopping cart, and the capacity to click “order.” By using these items as time-fillers, you can prevent shopping from being a time-filler.

Shop only when you want to and have done your homework on your purchases.

Knowing what factors contribute to your shopping sprees and what to do about it

In addition to the primary reasons why you may get the shopping urge, the following items could be unintentionally contributing to your shopping binges. The good news is, you can do something about them, too!

1. Not having a budget

This is a simple one. If you don’t mind your budget, there’s no use in burning it, so you may not even recognize the damage your shopping sprees are causing to your finances.

The solution? Create one and stick to it! When you can see your earnings and expenses clearly laid out in front of you and know where your hard-earned money is going every month, you will be much less likely to go on a shopping excursion that doesn’t fit comfortably into your budget.

2. Relying on credit cards

Credit cards are a great tool for saving money. They can also encourage impulse buying, as it’s easy to swipe a card without considering the purchase first. This can result in substantial debts that you cannot pay back.

The solution? Figure out what you’re inclined to shop for. Is it clothes? Kitchen supplies? Target purchases? Whatever you decide to purchase, promise yourself that you will only shop there or purchase these items with cash.

By removing the swipe of a credit card with the touch of a button and replacing it with cash, you can greatly reduce the impulse to buy an item before paying for it and only spend what you actually have.

3. Not having financial goals

If you don’t have any financial goals, you are bound to be aimless and uninformed. If you don’t save or dream about the future, you might be reckless with money and spend money on things you don’t even want or need. The solution? It is simple and a no-brainer to set some financial goals today.

When you have a specific goal (such as paying off your student loans by a certain date), you will be more mindful of what you are spending your money on. Being less tempted to go shopping for material you don’t need will prevent you from lagging behind on your financial goals. Instead of focusing on satisfying your fitness goals, you will be more interested in completing a shopping spree.

Feeling an urge to shop? What to do instead of going on a shopping spree

There’s more you can do with your time than go shopping. A shopping trip might only last half an hour, but it could do some real financial damage.

1. Plan a trip or an outing

Get some exercise instead! You shouldn’t shop yourself into a shopping binge when feeling low. Rather, plan ahead for a fun activity in the future. Even if you have to stay close to home, planning a trip or a getaway with your friends can significantly improve your mood.

If you make a travel budget that you follow, then, by the time you get to your vacation, it will already be thoroughly planned out and properly budgeted for.

2. Volunteer

By lending your time and skills to others less fortunate than yourself, you will be able to spend your time more productively. You won’t consider shopping if you can make a difference in someone else’s life by spending your time with them.

3. Start a home decoration or small project

You may be able to use your tax refund to drastically lower your expenditures on merchandise. Whether it entails rejuvenating a room in your house with items you already have or taking on a larger renovation project, the price you’ll end up paying for a home makeover is nothing when compared to what you would spend during a shopping trip.

4. Try a shopping ban/wardrobe challenge

Rather than buying clothes, set aside money for a uniform challenge and adopt a clothing ban. By wearing only the clothes you currently have, you can reduce the number of items you own.

One task, Project 333, requires you to select 33 items to wear for 3 months (no shopping is allowed but you may shop your closet!).

Who knows, after the challenge is over, you and a friend might forgo the excesses of your shopping days and relax with slow shopping. Plus, paradise could be a beautiful place!

5. Declutter your life

In addition to simplifying your wardrobe, why not declutter your entire life? Undertaking this project means you will no longer have the time to go on endless shopping excursions. And when you are done, you won’t want to fill the space you just decluttered with more stuff.

6. Try a new hobby

Shopping is a great alternative if you are bored, and a hobby is an excellent alternative to impulse shopping.

Instead of spending your money on leisure, use your spare time to get back to the things you love or take up a new pastime that doesn’t cost much.

7. Find something else productive to do

Need some inspiration? You can find plenty of ways to spend your downtime that don’t involve shopping or wasting your money. We have compiled a list of 35 productive things to do instead of spending money.

It’s time to end your constant shopping sprees!

The meaning of a shopping spree is straightforward: It’s when you buy a lot of stuff really fast. But a shopping spree’s effects on your finances can be anything but simple and fast. Rather, it can be quite consequential and long-lasting.

Hopefully, you now understand why you might go on a few too many shopping sprees. Even better, you now have the resources to do something else with your time (and money!). You can learn how to create a budget that works for you with our completely free budgeting course!


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