Online shopping is incredible, isn’t it?! It’s convenient, quick and easy, and you don’t even have to leave your house to get what you need! But it can be dangerous too…
Today I’m sharing my tips on how to stop shopping online for clothes, but please bear in mind: I am not a licensed therapist, these are simply my tips on what helped me to stop shopping online.
Do you ever find yourself browsing online for clothes, and buying things just for the sake of it? You’re not alone. We’re all guilty of buying things we don’t really need. Even if we have a closet full of clothes already, there’s always something that seems like a good deal and makes us think “I gotta get this!”
It’s hard to resist the temptation of an online sale. But if you’re anything like I used to be, you’ll find yourself with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.
I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way! It is possible to break the cycle and stop shopping online for clothes you don’t need.
- What is compulsive spending?
- What are the causes of compulsive spending?
- How to tell if you have an online shopping addiction
- How to stop shopping online for clothes
What is compulsive spending?
Compulsive spending is a disorder that may be characterised as a person’s inability to control their impulses on an impulse purchase. This is not to say that all people who compulsively shop have a diagnosed disorder, but it can be observed if the individual keeps buying items they don’t need or often goes over budget for what they want.
In other words, it may refer to an excessive desire, beyond necessity and beyond reason both. In these cases, someone’s shopping sprees could potentially be said to cause more harm than good if the individual had no proper financial management or impulse control skills.
What are the causes of compulsive spending?
The causes of compulsive spending are varied, but include bad shopping habits that can be learned or ingrained in childhood. Many people who have a shopping addiction grew up with little and therefore feel the need to over-shop as an adult.
Others shop when they’re emotional, which leads to purchases on impulse. If you get annoyed about something, you could end up buying items that are completely unnecessary because it makes you feel better or gives you a sense of power.
We often get a ‘high’ from pressing ‘buy now’ on an online store and another high when they items arrive at our door. But this high doesn’t last long and before you know it, you feel bored and even guilty for buying too many clothes. So you find a way to get that high again, which leads to another purchase.
This is how compulsive spending can really spiral out of control. If left unchecked, those years-old bad shopping habits could continue well into adulthood.
How to tell if you have an online shopping addiction
There are a few tell-tale signs that you may have a shopping addiction or that you compulsively shop online. If you find yourself doing any of the following, it might be time to check in with your spending habits:
- You’re always looking to buy something new
- You spend more than you should on clothes
- It’s affecting your life in ways you don’t like (e.g. not being able to go out, or not having what you need)
- You feel guilty after shopping online for clothes
- You often shop when it isn’t necessary (e.g. when there are other things that need to be done or other things that need to be paid for)
- Shopping takes up an excessive amount of your time or money
- It’s affecting your relationships with others
- You’re getting in debt from your shopping habit
- You hide purchases from your family
How to stop shopping online for clothes
1. Declutter your wardrobe
Take a good look at the contents of your closet. If there are clothes that you haven’t worn in months or even years, it’s probably time to get rid of them.
Set aside an hour every week where you can go through everything in your wardrobe and decide what needs to stay and what needs to go.
How can decluttering your closet help you to stop online shopping?
It will keep clutter from building up over time as well as ensure nothing gets lost in the back of your closet forever. It will also give you more space and less temptation to buy something new because you’re not surrounded by those items from your past purchases.
By decluttering your closet, and seeing all the money you’ve spent on clothes you didn’t need, you’re likely to stop and think the next time you feel the need to shop online.
2. Wait before you buy
Before you make a decision to buy something you’ve spotted online, sleep on it first. Better yet, wait a week before you make the purchase so that you have time to really consider whether you need it, want it, or have something similar to it already sitting in your closet.
We often scroll through online stores at night when we’re bored or just watching TV. By waiting a few days or a week to make the purchase, you’ll have had time to think about it or you may even have forgotten about that particular item!
3. Don’t save your cards & log out
If your credit cards to online stores are still saved onto your phone, go through and delete them. At the same time, delete your credit card numbers from your memory if you’ve managed to memorise your cards!
Also, log out of every online store you purchase from. This way, not only will it stop tempting you when you’re browsing the internet but it’ll also force you to shop online less since there’s that additional step involved with logging back in just to get access to these stores.
4. Think about the ethics
Many people (including myself up until recent years) don’t realise the effect fast fashion has on the planet or the labourers who make the garments.
Fast fashion is the mass production of clothing, where clothes are made quickly and cheaply, to be sold quickly and cheaply, often at low prices.
This means that these clothes don’t last long after you buy them because they’re not sturdy enough to last more than a few months or a year. It also means that companies don’t really care about the labourers who make your clothes (and they don’t pay them much) because the companies want to make a profit and sell these clothes off ASAP.
Due to this, we’re wasting our money on cheap clothes that won’t last long. For those with shopping addictions, fast fashion can be detrimental to their shopping habits.
Next time, before you think about looking up your usual fast fashion brands online, stop and ask yourself whether the clothing you purchase is ethical. Chances are that you’ll think twice about buying it!
5. Find alternative solutions for entertainment
When shopping online for clothes, it’s generally because you’re bored and have nothing else to do. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat on the couch, watching TV or listening to music and, before you could even put the kettle on, I’ve already bought a dress and two tops!
Make it a point to spend your free time with others or doing other things that’ll keep your mind off of retail therapy. Go out hiking, walk the dog or go somewhere new – there are so many different things you can do with the time you had previously spent shopping.
6. Remember the long term goal
We all have something we dream of having in the future – a magical wedding, a home that you own, to travel the world. Try to remember this the next time you’re tempted to go shopping online for clothes. Are these clothes really important or is it more important to save money for the future?
This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever give yourself a treat of a new dress, it just means that you’re more mindful about what’s truly important and you’ll end up only buying things that you really want or need.
Read also: 10 Ways to Achieve Financial Minimalism
7. Track your shopping
Make it a point to track everything you spend money on, including clothes for no reason. This way, when the end of the month comes you can see how much you’ve spent and what other ways that money could have gone if it wasn’t redirected towards things like clothes.
This was an eye opener for me, looking at how much I really spending online and the effects it was having on my bank account.
8. Set a clothing budget
It’s all very well wanting to buy something online but make sure you have a clothing budget in place and don’t use your credit card for clothes unless it is an absolute necessity. You can decide on an amount of how much you can spend on clothes that month, and anything over that set amount will be out of the question.
If you can stick to your budget, then try reducing the budget each month, until you no longer feel the need to continue online shopping.
9. Seek some help
If you feel your online spending habits are completely out of control and none of the above seem to help you curb your spending, please seek some help from a therapist.
They will work with you through the reasons for your compulsive shopping and will help you find alternative solutions to the problem.
It is important to remember that not all online purchases are bad. Over the last couple of years, many of us wouldn’t have been able to survive without online shopping when we weren’t able to go out and shop for ourselves.
But if you can cut back on the clothes you don’t need to include in your wardrobe, it’ll be worth it in the long run, especially if you have long term financial goals you want to reach.
Not only are they adding up, taking up space and not being worn, but also wasting money that could have been used for something far more special than clothes that will likely sit at the bottom of your wardrobe.
I hope you’ve found these tips on how to stop shopping online for clothes helpful.
Do you want to cut back on your online shopping habits? How have you managed to do so in the past?