retail therapy

How much will that Retail Therapy Really Cost?

Many consumers turn to retail therapy as a means of helping them to feel better for a short while after dealing with a difficult situation. Although engaging in a little impulse spending on that new dress and shoes may pick up your spirits for a short while, the truth is that your retail therapy habit is probably costing you a lot more than you can afford to spend. 

Crunching the Numbers

A survey conducted a few years ago studied the habits of approximately 2,000 shoppers and found that the average American spends a little over $2,200 per year on these ‘pick me up’ purchases. The poll went on to note that the typical shopper purchases around 12 items per month in store and eight to 10 online, with their shopping taking up almost 90 hours a year in-store and more than 70 hours per year online. 

Most Americans have admitted that as much as 25% of their shopping is based more in pleasure than in true necessity nowadays, with more than 65% stating that shopping has therapeutic qualities for them. Around 70% of shoppers admitted having purchased something nice just to cheer themselves up, and approximately 15% of them said that they engage in retail therapy quite regularly. 

More than 70% of the survey respondents also said that they were living from paycheck to paycheck at the time, meaning that their retail therapy habit was hurting their finances severely. 

Ditching the Habit

If you regularly succumb to retail therapy and you’d like to break this habit for the sake of your finances, the tips below will help get you on the right track:

  • Identify your triggers – What causes you to go impulse shopping? A stressful day at the office? Feeling lonely? Trying to fit in with certain friends? 
  • Delete spending apps and emails – unsubscribing to emails from your favorite stores and removing shopping apps from your phone will go a long way in helping to reduce temptation substantially
  • Try a new hobby – although initial expenditure may be needed to get set up with your new hobby, it will leave less time for going impulse shopping – which will help your budget recover over time
  • Entertain at home – if you’re in the habit of heading to the mall to meet up with friends, go shopping and eat out, this will definitely hurt your budget over time. Instead, invite friends over for coffee or a meal at home. You’ll still be able to enjoy spending time together, but for a fraction of the price – and there won’t be any items tempting you in the store windows at the mall

Although there is usually no harm with engaging in a little retail therapy from time to time, it becomes problematic when your household finances start suffering as a result of this habit. A great way to ensure that you’ll still be able to treat yourself from time to time is to set aside a few dollars in your weekly or monthly budget specifically for this purpose.