Lately I’ve been shopping for a lot of clothes or popmart and random journaling items like washi tape that I may or may not use :'> I don’t really know how to stop myself but I do it whenever I’m stressed but it makes me feel super guilty after I buy things How do I control myself?
Hi mi.kae_la, thanks for reaching out! Firstly, I want to let you know that your feelings of guilt are very normal. We tend to feel guilty when we spend money on things we don’t need, especially if it is an impulse buy. And while impulse shopping is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, it can make for an unhealthy coping mechanism.
I hear from what you shared that you tend to impulsively spend money when you are feeling stressed. Often when we do something out of impulse due to feeling stressed, it is because we are feeling a lack of control over the stressful situation. Making purchases not only provide us with a boost of happy chemicals in our brains, but also a sense of control to compensate for how we are feeling. As such, it might be worth exploring what you are stressed over and figuring out how you can overcome that situation, which would in turn help reduce the urge to spend impulsively.
In the meantime, here are some things we can do to prevent shopping impulsively:
Have a reasonable shopping budget and stick to it. This can be a weekly or monthly budget - whatever works for you! The important thing is that you stay disciplined with it and not overspend. Setting a budget will help you stick within your means of spending without completely cutting yourself off from the things you enjoy. Whenever you feel the urge to buy something, consider if it is within your budget and if you will have enough money leftover to buy other things.
Set a 48h decision rule. When you want to buy something - hold off on making the purchase for at least 48h. If, and only, after 48h you still want to make the purchase (and it is within budget!) - go for it. This rule can help you decide if something is truly worth buying or if it’s just another impulsive ‘want’ in the moment.
Be accountable. Let your family or friends know that you working on cutting down impulsive spending and have them check in on you. This could be in the form of weekly or fortnightly check-ins to make sure you are staying on track with your goal. If you are going shopping in person, consider inviting someone who knows about your plan to go with you.
Seek other methods to relieve stress. Exercising, dancing, journaling, or any other hobbies you might have are all greats alternatives to shopping you could try.
I would also like to share some tools you may find useful. Here is one for working towards your goals (Mental Support & Wellbeing Resources in Singapore to Improve Workplace Mental Health | mindline.sg), and one for quick stress relief (Mental Support & Wellbeing Resources in Singapore to Improve Workplace Mental Health | mindline.sg).
I hope this helps!