Personal Finance: How to Stop Compulsive Spending


It’s been a rough week. You had a lot of job responsibilities and social obligations, and you’re ready to blow off some steam and relax. You open a new browser tab and navigate to your favorite online store and load up your shopping cart with your favorite goodies.

You get that rush of adrenaline and excitement you feel before hitting “purchase,” and then, only minutes later, you feel a wave of buyer’s remorse and ask yourself why you keep buying things you don’t need.

This is a common story for people who struggle with a shopping addiction and compulsive spending. How can you stop spending more money than you have on items online? Here are a few tips to slow your spending habits.

Make a Budget

Get serious about your finances and make a budget. This will show you how much money you have coming in and how much you spend on non-negotiable things like your utilities and car payments. Once you have a grasp on how much extra money you have each paycheck, you can make a plan for that money.

Thinking about each dollar’s “job” is a great way to combat compulsive spending. If you earmark each dollar in your paycheck before it shows up in your bank account, you can avoid the temptation to spend your “extra” money. If there is no “extra” money, only dollars with specific jobs in your budget, there’s no reason to spend them on frivolous things.

Stop Buying on Credit

Take your credit card off of any online shopping sites. Don’t have your credit card easily accessible on a site you like to spend your money on. By spending money you don’t have, you’re signing up for debt you don’t need. Instead, when you shop online, make sure you’re only spending money you already have in your account.

This ties into having a budget. If you know what each dollar you earn is going to pay for ahead of time, there’s no way to overspend online.

Fill Your Cart and Let It Sit

If these tips aren’t enough, try this trick. Go window shopping online! Fill your cart up with all those fun things you want and let them all sit there. Wait at least 24 hours, and keep an eye on the items. Does the site offer you discounts as the items sit unpurchased? Do you feel a compulsive need to still buy them after a day goes by?

Once 24 hours have passed, reconsider your purchase. If you still really want the items, then find a way to fit them into your existing budget. However, if the rush of filling up your cart has passed the next day, you can simply empty the cart and leave the items in the warehouse where they belong.