Feb 15, 2017 09:10 AM EST

How To Control Your Shopping Addiction

Maybe you have a penchant for shoes or the latest designer outfits. Or maybe you collect handbags from certain labels. Treating yourself to a few nice things for all your hard work isn’t wrong, but when you find yourself shopping more and more regardless of whether you need things or not, you may have a shopping addiction.

Though some may not view it as a real addiction, researchers say that it is a legitimate issue. “To Buy or Not to Buy” author April Benson said (via Time) that when someone spends so much time, money, and energy buying—or even thinking about buying, it impairs their life.

In addition to that, overbuying can send people into an emotional tailspin. Most shopaholics experience guilt, shame, or anxiety after a spree, and it can even hurt relationships and your professional life.

So how do you deal with this problem? Here are some tips on how to control your shopping addiction.

Identify your shopping trigger

Most shopaholics get the impulse to buy when they’re bored, stressed, unhappy, or angry. Find out what triggers your shopping impulse and analyze why you’re doing it in the first place.

Take some time off from shopping

If you absolutely want to control your overspending, take a moratorium from shopping. You could try to go without buying anything new for two weeks, then once you’ve achieved that, you can set a new goal for yourself.

Steer clear of the mall

If being in a mall makes you want to reach for your credit card, steer clear of it and head somewhere where you don’t have to buy anything. You could go to the park for a nice walk, or you could head to a museum.

Replace shopping with a healthier alternative

Try meditating or working out. Not only will you feel calm, but you’ll also get a healthier body in return. You could also enroll in a class to learn something new, or get a hobby to keep your mind occupied. The goal here is to get your mind off shopping. Remind yourself that you’re doing this to preserve your relationships and your job.

Leave your credit card at home and only bring cash with you

If all else fails, leave your credit card at home and only bring cash with you when you go to the mall. This way, you can decide if the item is really worth buying as this gives you more time to think about your purchases.

For more, check out Jobs & Hire’s report on how to handle your smartphone addiction at work.

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