4 Non-Money-Related Habits That Can Kill a Shopping Addiction

Joanne Poh



An addiction to shopping isn’t always just a harmless penchant for shiny things. When people go bankrupt because they can’t control their little preference for Prada or end up friendless because they’ve been secretly borrowing money from everyone in their social circle, things get a little more sinister.

Sadly, most people don’t even realise they have a problem, thinking they’re single-handedly revitalising the fashion industry with their purchases. You can try hiding your credit cards or transferring all your money into separate savings account, but this is a problem that originates in the mind. Here are four little habits that can kill the urge to shop.


Meditation and mindfulness

While we’re not suggesting you don robes and become a monk (although that usually helps), a little bit of mindfulness goes a long way.

It might sound distastefully pseudo-hippie to you, but when you take the time to be more aware of your surroundings and your actions—every bite you take, everything you say, how you spend your free time and, yes, everything you buy, the urge to purchase diminishes.

Read books or take a meditation class—there are some free ones at temples like Mahabodhi Monastery, otherwise Kadampa Meditation Centre holds a $12 class on most weekday evenings.

Obviously you’re not going to turn into the Buddha overnight. But some mindfulness practices can go a long way especially if you’re the sort of person who is perpetually glued to your smartphone and grabs stuff off the racks at shopping malls with less than 2 seconds of thought.


Focus on a hobby

It’s quite sad that many Singaporeans list “shopping, eating and sleeping” as their only hobbies. When a necessary bodily functions become a hobby, you know you’ve got a problem.

If your shopping addiction stems from boredom or the fact that you spend all your free time in shopping malls, it might be time to take up a hobby—preferably a low cost one that occupies a large part of your free time. You’ll have a more productive way to spend your free time instead of consuming nonstop, and you’ll shift your focus from just acquiring stuff to actually doing something.

A hobby can have the added benefit of making you part of a community. When you realise there are people out there who don’t dress like they’re about to strut down a catwalk each time they leave the house, you might start buying less yourself.


Find alternative forms of stress relief like sport

Shopping has become a form of stress relief of sorts, especially for overworked PMETs. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you can find another way of relieving stress.

Note that relieving stress doesn’t mean downing an entire bottle of Chivas Regal and then hoping you’ll be too numb to notice your aching bones. Rather, it’s about finding a sport or other activity that helps you take your mind off stuff, gives your brain a much needed serotonin boost and hopefully improves your overall health, too.

If the last time you exercised was during your NAPFTA test, doing anything that will make you perspire probably sounds like torture. Try it before you slam it—after a good workout, your entire body feels more relaxed and you’ll have lost that urge to spend a month’s salary on another handbag.

The trick is to find a sport you think looks cool and that you find interesting. If you hate going to the gym or running, find something else—krav maga, ballet, tree climbing, anything.


Hang out more with people who don’t shop much

Unless you’re fine with being labelled the “weird” one, the people around you can have a huge  influence on your spending habits.

If your weekend usually consists of high tea and checking out the latest sales with your gal pals or hanging out in bars filled with millionaires, don’t be surprised if you end up spending more time buying clothing, accessories and lifestyle items, or considering purchasing a car since everyone else has one.

You shouldn’t have to dump your existing friends (unless they’re all douches), but make sure you stay in contact with people whose values—and budgets—are similar to yours, too. At some point, it’ll be nice to have someone to hit the cheapest happy hours, take long bus rides or discuss money saving strategies with.

Do you have any tips for people trying to kick a shopping addiction? Tell us in the comments!

Keep updated with all the news!

Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.