things to do instead of shopping
If you’ve ever struggled with overspending, sometimes it feels impossible to stop. One way to ease the impulse to shop is to immediately do something else when the urge to spend strikes.
Once you refocus your mind, you’ll notice the impulse to buy dulls—and, eventually, disappears.
Here are 10 things to do when you feel the urge to shop:
1. Spend time with loved ones.
Often, our urges to shop arise from loneliness or craving human affection. Simply texting a friend, hugging a family member, or planning a date night can refocus your mind on what matters most.
2. Go for a walk outside, or work out.
When my shopping addiction was at its worst, I was also in the worst shape of my life. This was no coincidence.
Often, we shop to mask larger issues, including declining mental or physical health. Once I started getting my health in order, my urges to shop decreased.
The next time you feel the urge to shop, consider taking a walk outside, or queuing up a workout routine. The fresh air alone might make a world of difference in resetting your urge to shop!
3. Do some chores.
Okay, okay. No one likes chores. But one of the best ways to refocus your mind when you’re headed for a shopping binge is to get away from your computer, tablet, or phone, and start doing dishes, laundry, or other chores. In many ways, cleaning is meditative, and allows you to take a breather and refocus your mind.
4. Take a bath or shower.
For me, there is nothing more relaxing than a hot bath or shower. One way to immediately quell the urge to shop is to jump in the shower—even a quick one will do—or prepare a nice, long, pampering bath. Once in the water, you will feel your mind drift away from the material items in your shopping cart, and back to your financial goals.
5. Cook a meal.
Much like cleaning, cooking is also meditative. If the urge to shop is gnawing away at you, consider heading to the kitchen and preparing a meal for yourself or your loved ones.
Plus, if you want to shop…you might just be hungry!
6. Read a book.
Any shopping addict knows that a ton of time is wasted in the pursuit of the next material thing. Once you stop shopping and obsessing over the next purchase, your schedule frees up significantly.
One way to kickstart your no-shopping habit it to grab a book (physical or ebook), curl up with a warm beverage, turn off your computer and phone, and unplug for a bit. Your mind will be focused on the narrative—not your next pair of shoes.
7. Watch your favorite TV show or movie.
For me, this one is the easiest. If I find myself mindlessly browsing the internet in search of the next purchase, I simply put away my phone, tablet, or computer, and turn on my favorite TV show. While this is a more passive approach to no-shopping, it does refocus the mind–which is the key part.
8. Catch up on emails.
Have you been neglecting your inbox? One way to quell the urge to shop is to catch up on emails. Plus, this is also a golden opportunity to unsubscribe from retailer emails!
9. Play with your pet.
If you have a cat, dog, or other furry friend, they would love nothing more than to spend quality time with you. When you next feel the urge to shop, consider curling up with your pet, playing with them, or otherwise tending to their needs. You will be focused on the present—just like they are.
10. Work on your finances.
When I started on my journey away from shopping and overspending, one of the best ways to refocus my mind when the urge to shop struck, was to work on my finances. I realize this can be a terrifying possibility, especially when you might already be in debt and/or spending in an out-of-control manner.
That’s okay. Everyone needs to start somewhere.
One way to take back your agency when your mind is utterly consumed by consumption is to simply log onto your bank and credit card accounts, and start getting an idea of your financial health. Then, you can create an action plan.
And that, in my opinion, is the best way to shock your system into not shopping.
Eventually, you may start to notice that you impulsively budget—and not impulsively shop!