Riley Heruska
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If you're a self-labeled "shopping addict," you're not alone. Recent studies show that about 20 million Americans have an addictive, unhealthy relationship with shopping. The rise of online sales has contributed to compulsive buying, and as with any habit, shopping can become financially and emotionally detrimental when it becomes an addiction. 

Ever feel like you buy things even when you know you shouldn't? Are you tired of racking up credit card bills only to have a home full of things you don't actually need or want?

Check out these five big tips that might help you reel in your urge to spend money on clothing and accessories.

1. Ask yourself the three big questions.

Every time you pick something up and consider buying it, ask yourself: 

  • Do I need it?
  • Is it a good price?
  • Do I love it? 

In order for any purchase to be worthwhile, the answer to at least two of those questions should be a firm yes. Once you start implementing this technique, you'll see how many purchases only fit into one category. If you love to shop, you're often tempted to buy things just because they're a good price or because you love it. This method reveals that those reasons alone aren't enough to justify spending money. 

2. Understand the impact of fast-fashion.

After learning about how much waste the average American household produces and the role of slave labor in the fashion industry, dropping money on cheap clothing doesn't seem as appealing. Find out what kind of practices your money is funding. I promise that $15 shirt won't seem nearly as desirable if you know where it was made, what materials they used, and who reaps the profits of your purchase. 

3. Make an ongoing shopping list. 

Just because you want to cut back on shopping doesn't mean you have to go cold turkey. In fact, coming to a screeching halt with any habit is almost a surefire way to fail.

Instead, get out a pen and paper and write down a list of items that you're 100 percent okay with buying over the next month. Do you need new jeans? Have you been hunting for a replacement coffee mug? Put those "acceptable" purchases in writing, then stick to that list as much as possible. 

4. Delete the apps that cause you to spend more money. 

Pretty much every app, including Facebook and Instagram, encourages consumerism. In fact, social media advertising revenue is forecast at $51.3 billion USD for 2018. Stores and brands want you to check out their newest products while scrolling through your feeds. Like myself and so many others, you probably give in to their whims more often than you should. 

If you know that Instagram gives you an uncontrollable shopping urge, cut back on the app or uninstall it until you get your spending under control

5. Find healthy ways to curb your urge to spend. 

Most shopping sprees are fueled by a desire to find happiness or to reap some instant gratification. Buying things makes us feel better about ourselves, hence its nickname "retail therapy."

To save money and preserve your sanity, you'll need to find other habits to cultivate when the urge to buy hits. From now on, every time you feel like shopping, go for a jog. Pick up a book. Cook a good meal. By finding other ways to feel satisfied, you'll experience fewer desires to dump money on products that don't make you happy in the long run. 

How do you manage your shopping desires? If you have other tips or tricks, share them in the comments below. 

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