Stop Stress Shopping: 3 Simple Ways To Resist Buying Everything

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Self

If you already know that you're a stress shopper, congratulations! You're already a step ahead.

Stress shopping and impulse buying give us instant gratification. They're such easy habits to default to, especially after a rough day.

We often default to certain behaviors because it’s easy for us — we know what to do, we know that there will be a mood boost (even if it's only short-term), and our friends even encourage it, sometimes!

But you don't have to be dependent on shopping to raise your mood.

RELATED: What I Learned From A Year Of Not Shopping

Here are 3 simple ways to stop stress shopping and resist buying everything.

1. Map out your week.

Take time to look at your week ahead. I generally do this on Sunday evenings.

You know yourself well and can identify the risky places in your weeks ahead of time. This might be an over-scheduled day, a high-stress meeting on your agenda, or an area that you will be traveling to or through.

Everyone has common triggers for their problematic habits and behaviors. When you identify these risky spots, take note and be ready to implement the next two strategies!

Please remember that you're likely to have unexpected situations come up that trigger your urges to impulse buy. Don't be naive and ignore that fact.

You can still implement the ideas here in those situations!

2. Train yourself to do something incompatible.

For example, if you have the bad habit of biting your nails, an incompatible behavior to combat it is to knit! You can't bite your nails while you're clicking knitting needles together.

In order to train an incompatible behavior, you need to get very detailed about how your problematic shopping happens.

Is it more common during a certain type of day (maybe at night after your kids go to bed), when you pass through certain geographic locations (when you're near a trendy shopping mall), using favorite shopping apps on your phone (you know which ones), or after you interact with certain people in your life (coworkers, family members, etc.)?

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Be specific and write down as many details as you can — each detail is an opportunity to make a change.

RELATED: How To Avoid Impulse Buying & Emotional Purchases

Next, create a list of the most creative incompatible behaviors you can think of, including:

Deleting certain apps if they enable impulse purchase.
Not bringing your credit or debit card with you if you're going to risky areas.
Being cash-based if you use your card impulsively.
Removing your credit or debit card information from problematic apps.
Planning ahead of time for how you want to spend your evenings.
Lock your wallet in your car so it's not as available when you're at home.
Scheduling phone calls with positive people to take place after high-stress events instead of going shopping.

3. Be willing to reward yourself differently.

Buying yourself treats is not a bad thing. It can be a very reasonable reward, but the trick is to stop doing it impulsively!

Each time you get the urge for a purchase, write it down. Keep a list of things that you want to buy for yourself, your home, your family, etc., and why you want it.

If you still want the item after two weeks, set a goal that will help you want to work for it!

For example, "If I work out three times this week," "If get out of bed and go to bed on time all week," "If I put $__ into savings over the next two weeks, then I will buy the item (on purpose, not impulsively)."

Your wallet doesn't have to suffer when you're stressed out!

RELATED: 20 Best Coupon Apps For Saving Money While You Shop

Alexandria Fields, MSW, LISW-S, is a therapist in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the founder of Your Mental Restoration. You can find her on the Your Mental Restoration website or follow her on Instagram @therapy.with.alyx.