“I can’t help impulse-buying.”
Some people who make an extreme amount of impulse purchases have a serious mental disorder, says Dr. Walfish. “I had one patient who charged over $100,000 of stuff on her credit card one weekend. This can be a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder or bipolar disorder, for example.”
But in less extreme cases, shopping can be an antidote for feeling depressed. Maybe you lost your job or broke up with a partner, so you go to the mall to temporarily perk yourself up. Either way, “it’s not a healthy way to cope,” says Dr. Walfish.
One helpful tactic is to replace your shopping habit with something else that makes you feel good but doesn’t require you to spend money. Maybe try going for a run, reading a book or watching a movie. Also, avoid your spending triggers as much as possible, says Blaylock. “If you’re trying to save and buying electronics is your weakness, don’t walk into a Best Buy, because you know you’ll be tempted.”
If you have to go into a store that you love, create a rule. “A colleague of mine won’t get a cart when she goes to Target. She’ll buy only what she can carry in her hands,” says Blaylock.