Why Retail Therapy is Expensive And How To Avoid It

Impulse shopping or emotional spending is something that all of us are guilty of doing.

You have a stressful week, receive bad news, or maybe you just aren't happy at the moment.

You sit and realize that you need something —anything to make you feel better, so you get dressed and head to the store.

Several items later, you skip out of the store and back home where you put the clothes you bought in a draw, and slowly go back to how you were feeling before you decided shopping would help.

It's a cycle of buying things to make yourself feel better but never having the feeling last.

Psychologically it makes sense why we would resort to spending money instead of saving for happiness but for the sake of our pockets, it's a habit that can be kicked.

Keep reading to find out why we all do it, what can be done about it.

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What is retail therapy?

Instant gratification.

There's a lot of psychology behind retail therapy. From the way it stimulates your brain and releases feel good neurotransmitters, to the marketing tactics used by store owners.

It's also the action of buying items for the sake of getting over an experience or feeling. The way some people choose to eat comfort food there are those who whip out their credit cards to indulge in comfort purchasing.

The goal is to improve your mood, provide an escape or distraction, a sense of control, and even provide connection to others.

Does retail therapy work?

Temporarily yes.

As you pick up items, browse aimlessly through online shops or put the items on the counter you feel better even great for the time being.

Its an adrenaline rush, endorphins are coursing through your body and your decision making skills are being hindered.

Endorphins make us feel good.

They're the part of our brain that tell us that we like what we're doing. And its the feeling we remember the next time we find out selves in a similar situation.

Why is it dangerous?

Retail therapy can make you credit a new mattress when you already had a high balance on a credit card.

Or cause you to spend money that your budget had allocated for something else, like rent or groceries.

It's not to say that spending money is unhealthy, in fact responsible purchases can make all of our lives better, but the aftereffects are what get us all down.

It's the guilt and shame and worry over expenses that follows.

The anxiety over how you're going to pay your bills or where you're going to get back the money the money you just spent.

It's the stress to your body that spending excessively or without thinking can do.

But with all of the effects of retail therapy pointing in the negative direction why do we do it? If you find yourself seeking comfort in buying food, clothes, furniture, expensive vacations, don't beat yourself up.

Let us dive into exactly why this happens.

Why do we retail shop?

Coping Mechanism

It's one of many mechanisms we use to get through tough situations since it provides relief.

I've been learning my own habits so actively, that now I can recognize the urge to retail shop. I start to feel a burst of almost jittery energy and the urge to get dressed becomes overwhelming.

I feel the need to go outside and spend money. In my head I'll instantly comb through all of the stores located around me and try to decide which direction to go in once I'm out of the house.

That hint of aimless, outside is my adventure spirit, that erupts inside of me is my clue to first stick my head outside the window and deeply breathe in some fresh air.

It usually clears my head and reminds me that what I'm feeling is just that, a feeling.