Grief Shopping: Why You Might Be Spending More After Experiencing Loss

There are positives and negatives to this grief response.

woman sitting on the floor with shopping bags wrangler/shutterstock

Recovering from grief is a difficult process and every individual approaches it differently. Grief shopping is one such approach.

Seeking relief from the effects of your sadness is a priority and finding healthy activities that soothe your pain is a good thing. However, with spending comes consequences.

It's important to be aware of your true motivation.

When you're grieving, there's a natural tendency and desire to become "whole" again. You want this experience to make you stronger and enable you to move forward.


Grief shopping, with all its dangers, is one of the activities you may enjoy, depending on your personality.

New clothes, a new car, or remodeling your place of residence can be "just what the doctor ordered" to help you in your time of need.

RELATED: How To Avoid Impulse Buying & Emotional Purchases


Grief shopping has consequences — but it isn't always a negative habit.

Grief shopping requires good judgment, but it can still be part of a larger plan to heal. It's important to give yourself some space so you can express your grief.

Some people may grief shop by traveling and taking some time off to find themselves.

If this is right for you then, by all means, do it! Just remember that excessive spending can cause new grief once the money or credit runs out!

The activity of spending after a loss is a necessity, a distraction, and part of the healing process while you are in a grief cycle.

Spending empowers you because it allows you to be in control after you have experienced a situation where you did not necessarily have power.


The soothing effect of spending must be tempered by a sense of responsibility and good judgment.

Grief shopping is an expression of your emotions attempting to balance the sadness you are feeling. It's an opportunity to learn about yourself.

Recognizing the positives and negatives from it can allow you to heal and grow from your grief experience.

Here are 7 reasons why grief shopping happens after experiencing loss.

1. Practicality.

You may need to shop to replace lost items you need to recover from your loss. Replacing essentials to regain a sense of normalcy is part of the healing process.

The practical activity of spending on necessities allows you to handle other pressing issues that your loss has created in your life.


Purchasing items that you use on a regular basis can provide you with some comfort.

Common items such as toiletries allow you to present yourself in terms that you control and shopping for them helps you feel that there's nothing you cannot overcome.

You might buy the name-brand items instead of a store label just to be sassy!

2. Impulse.

Spending can be an impulse you experience because you are living in the moment. Purchasing items that you may want but don't need is common after a loss. It feels good when you're buying an item of your desire.

You may not even want the item for long and decide to return it (if possible) once the thrill of ownership is gone.


A little eccentricity can soothe your pain. Just be careful you don’t bite off more than you can chew!

RELATED: Stop Stress Shopping: 3 Simple Ways To Resist Buying Everything

3. "Bucket list" shopping.

You may be shopping more because you have more time to purchase the things that have been on your bucket list.

Depending upon the loss, you may have had your life on hold because of your responsibilities prior to your loss. A loss can be liberating at times because you're no longer hampered by constraints you had in the past.

You may be able to finally achieve a life goal after a loss. This accomplishment can leave you feeling fulfilled and like a new person.


Your loss may incentivize you to develop new goals, making your desired future possible.

4. Memorializing.

Spending can be a way of honoring your loss. You may be able to remember the way things were when you were "whole" prior to your loss. Spending can help you memorialize your past and give you a new sense of security.

Sometimes, it can even be a form of revenge because you may not have been allowed or able to buy something you really wanted. It feels good to get an item you've been denied.

Enjoy the moment!

5. Personal power.

Shopping gives you a sense of power in your life. You feel you are in control and your purchases are an indication that you can overcome your grief.


Taking care of your psyche is an important part of your healing process. Grief shopping helps you rebuild your confidence.

You can prove that you are able to make decisions after something has been taken away from you. You're showing the Universe that you are coming back!

6. Distraction.

The act of spending is a distraction from the pain you are feeling from your loss. It provides an escape from being weighed down from sadness.

Distraction can be helpful to a point, but there may be a time when it becomes destructive, causing more loss and grief.

Getting out and focusing on other things serves a good purpose. Grief shopping can involve window gazing and dreaming about the things you desire in your life.


It's good to focus your mind on things other than your sadness.

7. Coping.

Grief shopping can be a coping skill and part of rebuilding a new life. Healthy spending and using self-discipline will prevent you from overindulging and being reckless with your money.

Healing from grief takes many forms and this activity can be positive under the right conditions.

Shopping is just one tool for coping with a loss. You can use it along with other activities such as exercising, visiting with friends, or reading a good book. Grief shopping can a tool for growth.

Spending after a loss can be harmful if you're careless with your money and don't consider your total situation.


It's a double-edged sword in a sense because the act of spending can be part of the healing process while it is destroying the rest of your life.

Healing from grief is an individual journey, and grief spending can play a role in the recovery process if it's used as a virtue and not a crutch!

RELATED: The 5 Stages Of Grief — Plus 6 We Don't Realize Are Part Of The Grieving Process

John Cappello is a practicing psychic medium and the author of "Open the Mind Heal the Heart," a book about recovering from grief. For more information or to book an appointment go to his website.