How to Stop Emotional Shopping Once and For All

It’s 5 p.m. on a Friday, and you have a date that you’re nervous for, or perhaps you just received some criticism on a work project that you slaved over. How to start the weekend off on a cheerier, more-confident foot? Well, shopping, of course—at least, that’s how we often salvage our mood.

But despite the temporary satisfaction a new purchase can deliver, it’s usually short-lived, as the real issues beneath our discomfort have been ignored in its place. Making matters worse is the fact that our bank accounts simply can’t cater to every passing bad mood or dip in confidence, and when we force them to it shows by limiting our funds for the really important stuff (daily baked beans on toast at 30 years old is not chic).

As fashion editors we’re certainly not immune to this phenomenon—after all, temptation is all around us—but we’ve picked up a few tricks over the years to help tackle the problem.

Scroll down to find out if you’re guilty of emotional shopping (and learn how to stop it once and for all)…

There's nothing wrong with treating yourself every now and then, but if it's become a weekly or even daily habit, it's probably best to explore the feelings behind it. Has something been upsetting you that you're trying to make up for? Are you feeling more insecure than usual, and perhaps trying to build up your confidence with stylish new things? This is no crime, but it's also not the solution you're looking for.

If one or more of the above symptoms apply to you, you've likely been guilty of a little emotional shopping. However, treating yourself constantly when you're happy or excited also counts, and can be tougher to identify since it reads as purely positive. The key is to separate every emotion from instigating a knee-jerk reaction to shop.

Luckily, there are some really easy-to-implement rules to help you avoid emotional shopping in the future. Our favourite is the 24-hour rule, which requires that you don't impulse shopping a habit (the only splurge is okay!) and, instead, mull over prospective purchases for at least 24 hours first. This time period can help whatever emotion might be driving the purchase to dissipate, making way instead for logic and reason. Ditto an excess of shopping newsletters and updates: Clear some space in your life and minimise shopping opportunities just for the ones you're truly interested in.

If shopping is one of your favorite pastimes, then it will also be crucial to fill that void with a new hobby. What have you always wanted to try but never have? Use this freed up time to explore something whose rewards are less fleeting, like a cooking class or singing lessons.

Finally, don't be afraid to treat yourself for your success. As long as you keep the spending in line with your new values (read: don't go overboard, or use success to justify every new purchase), there's nothing wrong with giving yourself a little gift for being good or when you really need something new.

Scroll down to shop items worth saving up for instead…

How do you avoid emotional shopping? Let us know your tips in the comments!

Opening Image: Getty Images

Related Stories