Can you be addicted to shopping?
Turns out — yes! And the culprit here is dopamine, that chemical in your brain that gives you a feel-good booster. You see, there are some activities that trigger dopamine to be released, and indulging a little too much in these activities could risk you getting hooked on that hit. These activities can be anything from eating highly palatable foods like candy, receiving "like" notifications on Instagram, or even bringing home new clothes.
Particularly with the onset of shops moving to online stores and virtual cards facilitating the payments infrastructure around it all, it's becoming easier and easier to spend online. This means that you've got to be aware to not spend frivolously in order to stick to your personal finance management goals.
How can you curb a shopping addiction?
Mindfulness is the key to managing any addiction. You hear this commonly when people are trying to control their cravings for sugary foods to manage their weight after enjoying one too many donuts — balance is key. You don't have to go cold turkey because, after all, you will have to make at least the essential purchases in your day-to-day. Instead, identify what is and isn't a priority purchase and limit your spending on non-essential items.
Better still, have a budget where you set limits on spending, and if you want to reward adherence to your plan then you can set a savings goal that you work towards for non-essential purchases.
What gets measured gets managed.
Track your expenses as they are incurred, so that you're not surprised at the end of the month after you've lost track and it's already too late. You don't need to track daily, but as long as you set a cadence that you adhere to that is frequent enough to alert you within your budgeting cycle, then you're good to go.
Consider using an app that is linked to your card so that you can track expenses as they are incurred, and don't forget to compare your actual spend to your planned spend. Once you get a better grip of how much you actually spend, you can then re-gig your budget so that it's realistic, and therefore more attainable.