Changing your shopping habits

Admitting that you have a shopping addiction is the first step towards healing, which is why Confessions of a Shopaholic is such an apt title for the movie. And Rebecca, the central character in Sophie Kinsella's runaway bestseller, doesn't admit she has a shopping problem until everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

But once she confesses her addiction, it is a freeing experience that allows her to be open and honest with herself and loved ones around her. Oftentimes, the secrets you have to carry are actually a heavier burden than the problem itself.

While there may be a lot of temptation around you that feeds your need to shop excessively, you ultimately have to take action and take control of your spending habits. Just like going to the gym, changing to a healthier diet, or anything that takes discipline or getting used to, the reward after the hard work will be worth it.

And shopping shouldn't have to be banned completely or forever! It is called "retail therapy" for a reason – a way to relax, to enjoy the fruits of your hard-earned dollar, to express your creative outlet, and all that shopping jazz.

The road to rediscovering the joy of healthy shopping requires that you have a plan in motion that can help you get back control, and it may require learning some new shopping habits to replace bad shopping habits of the past. Each time you replace an old habit with a new and healthier routine, it will only help you get stronger to face down the next shopping urge.

Here are some tips on how to curb a shopping temptation:  

  • Window shop only after hours so that you are not tempted to walk into the store.
  • Use the internet only for work purposes or to complete errands – do not surf online.
  • Go shopping with a friend, who can help keep tabs on how much you are buying – avoid shopping alone.
  • Get rid of your credit cards or leave them at home when you go shopping to avoid the temptation to spend.
  • Find other routine activities to replace the times you used to spend shopping.
  • Enlist a buddy or two who are willing to be on call whenever you feel the urge to shop.

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