Sure, there’s the rush of buying, but why?
It boils down to the Diderot Effect.
In 1763 philosopher Denis Diderot was paid a large sum of money for his library by Catherine the Great.
He purchased a luxurious robe which made him feel important.
Then everything else he owned seemed no longer good enough; he wanted more.
Which led to a crazy shopping spree and his being in debt, and even worse, he began to feel there was “no more beauty.”
He went from being in control and owning his possessions, to his possessions ruling him.
This happens all the time.
You decide it’s time for a new shoes and you leave the shops with shoes, a purse, a wallet, and maybe a new dress.
Or you decide to go on a weekend trip and buy walking shoes, new clothes and matching luggage.
Both parts of the Diderot Effect just got you – first, as a person that is worth a weekend trip, you are also worthy of new things to wear (plus imagine the pics); and second, once you spend, then you continue spending.
Like potato chips, you can’t eat just one.
What can you do?
1. Like any addiction, the first step is awareness. Own that it happens to you or it will continue to own you.
2. Avoid shopping as entertainment.
3. Write a shopping list and stick to it. Before you shop, reflect of why you want to buy each item. Because my son outgrew his pants – great reason. Because deep down, I want people to be impressed with my new stuff – harmful.
4. Stuff doesn’t create happiness in life. People in impoverished countries experience as much joy as we do.
5. Have a plan for the bigger picture you truly want such as your child’s college education, retirement, the peace of not having debt…
When you focus on the big things you really want, the constant “need to buy” fades.
Budgets are hard for most people to follow, so my clients and I find it more effective to pick a savings number and pay that like any other bill and you will quickly adjust your spending.