Former Shopaholic Shares 3 'Hard Truths' She Learned That Made Her Stop Spending

Hundreds of thousands in debt, an anxiety-ridden life, and tons of "stuff" — something had to change.

shopaholic carrying shopping bags maxbelchenko / Shutterstock

We all have our vices — they’re how we unwind, de-stress, and find a moment of peace in the chaotic nature of our daily lives. While sometimes they act as natural buffers to the stress of work, school, and family, they can just as easily spiral out of control as they did for content creator Christina Mychas, whose impulse spending quickly became an addiction.

“I used to be a fully-blown shopaholic and had over $120K in student loan debt that I could never really get out from underneath because of my bad shopping habits,” she shared.


But curbing her shopping addiction has done more than simply save her money — it’s allowed her more freedom, more joy in her daily life, and the opportunity to spend her money in more fulfilling ways. Now, she uses her platform to help other shopaholics do the same. 



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Here are the 3 ‘hard truths’ that a former shopaholic learned to stop her uncontrollable spending: 

1. She struggled to define what was ‘enough’ — leading to a gratitude-less spending cycle that failed to fill the void 

“My biggest vice was definitely clothing,” Mychas admitted. “I’d always tell myself, ‘If I just had that one more thing … I would never have to shop again’. Even if I found that perfect thing, inevitably, something better would come along.” 

Defining what was “enough” — in her life, her wardrobe, her closet — was impossible, ultimately leading to a cycle of spending money with no end. Whether it was a shirt, a bag, or the trendiest sweater on the market, she had to have it, and momentarily, it provided a sense of safety, excitement, and joy. But that feeling didn't last.

“I had zero gratitude for anything, so it kept feeding this cycle," she explained. "I had to find and define what ‘enough’ was for me by taking a shopping detox.”

Experts agree with similar methods to heal from unhealthy consumerism but suggest the most important part is an acknowledgment of your addiction. Why do you spend money? What kind of emotions do you get when you purchase something? Do those feelings last for a long time — or do they fizzle away quickly, even when you re-wear that piece of clothing? 


2. Constantly pursuing a materialistic ‘more’ was making her life worse — building more debt, stress, and anxiety

Excessive consumption is how our economy continues to grow more unhealthy, unbearable, and divided, with millions of people living above their means every day. With high credit card limits, loans, and misguided financial support, people can fulfill their immediate impulse spending without acknowledging the debt, guilt, and anxiety that’s looming just behind. 

It was this realization that helped Mychas come to terms with her shopping addiction — “I realized I needed to create space for myself instead of trying to fill it up.” 



As she continued to purchase material goods — clothes, in her case — it became apparent that nothing was ever enough to satisfy her. She was spending her “hard-earned working money” to fill her space with things that served as a reminder of guilt for spending it in the first place.


Everyone deserves to treat themselves to nice things, but consumerist culture and the neverending quest for "the next best thing" take that to another level. All of these things might have given her a boost of serotonin — as spending money often does — but in the long run, they only made her feel worse.

“The constant pursuit of more was the reason why I was broke, overwhelmed, and stressed,” she said, and there was no more room to hide.

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3. You are trading money, time, and freedom for material things

While society, social media, and our peers might inadvertently pressure us to spend money and consume material goods, the truth is that happiness and fulfillment lie far outside of consumerism. Money can definitely provide safety, comfort, and freedom to people seeking happiness, but the material goods we purchase have no ties to true happiness unless they’ve been consciously purchased with a “joy-forward mindset.” 


Will this thing spark joy in my life? If I spend the money on this one thing, will it be worth the time I spend at work making it? Does it provide enough joy to postpone vacations, time away from work, or other saving initiatives I’ve committed to? 



“Most of us don’t have enough money to do it all. You really are exchanging your time and freedom for stuff," Mychas said. "Now, when I want to buy something, it needs to spark a level of joy or value.” 

So, if you’ve found yourself in an unhealthy spending pattern or feel a sense of guilt whenever you spend money — take a look inward. Ask yourself the questions that Mychas prompted and encourage yourself to remove the “impulse” from spending by taking thoughtful time to consider any purchases. 


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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango, focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.