Is Retail Therapy Good or Bad?

What is retail therapy?

Retail therapy is when people go shopping to feel happier. It’s usually a short-lived habit where people treat shopping like how some people treat comfort foods.

Does online shopping count as retail therapy? 

Yes, online shopping counts as retail therapy. Online shopping has a lot of benefits that make it even easier to binge than if you physically went into a store.

  • You don’t have to leave your home.
  • You can shop around and find exactly what you want.
  • You don’t have to carry around heavy bags.
  • You don’t have to find parking.

Should you use shopping as therapy?

Retail therapy isn’t true therapy. The feeling of joy it provides is short-lived and will cause you to shop more and more. This can lead to debt problems and relationship issues.

It may even be an addiction. If you can’t stop shopping, you may have a Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD). This disorder is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to shop, often as the result of some negative event.

What causes binge shopping?

People often binge shop to ease negative emotions caused by:

  • Having a bad day at work
  • Receiving bad news
  • Getting into an argument with their significant other

Are women the only shopaholics?

Of course not. Men binge shop too, but men and women do spend their money on different things. According to a 2013 Ebates.com survey, women shop mainly for clothes, while men buy food.

How do I know if my shopping habit has become a problem?

Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself:

    1. Are you putting yourself into debt to buy things you don’t need?
    2. Do you feel like your spending is out of control?
    3. Do you shop due to feeling sad or angry?
    4. Have people mentioned that you shop too much?
    5. Do you ever feel extreme joy while shopping, but the feeling dies down once you’re back home?

Do you want access to twice as many questions and an analysis of your results? Download our free printable “Are You a Shopaholic?” quiz here.

What to do if you have a shopping addiction?

  • Seek professional help and figure out why you’re shopping so much. If stress and anxiety are the causes, look for healthier ways to cope with these feelings.
  • Give yourself 48 hours before buying that item you have your eye on. Consider if you’ll even use it.
  • Speak with friends and family during the times you want to go shopping. It’s always nice to have support.
  • Buy yourself something as long as it fits within your monthly budget.
  • Avoid window shopping. Window shopping sounds like a good idea, but it’s a slippery slope. You start by trying on a new dress, you feel the urge to buy it, and then you give in. Nip it in the bud. No window shopping.

Key Points

  1. Retail therapy is when you go shopping to feel better.
  2. Retail therapy isn’t true therapy and may actually be an addiction for some people.
  3. Shopping becomes a problem when it’s compulsive, putting you into debt, or damaging your relationships.
  4. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself or improving your surroundings, as long as it’s within your budget.

Please note: This is for entertainment purposes only. I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. This isn’t meant to diagnose or treat you for any issues you may have. This is just one person try to help another. Take care. 🙂

Let’s Discuss: Do you think retail therapy is good or bad?

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Hey! I'm Andreaus. One-half of The Blue Pants Budget team! Together my wife and I run this personal finance blog as a way to share our debt free journey and to help inspire and motivate other millennials to become debt free and financially independent.

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