Beware of Using Retail Therapy as a Stress Reliever

Are You Using Retail Therapy to Relieve Stress?

Sometimes stress – even money-related stress – makes it tempting to spend more money.

Retail therapy is widespread among consumers today because it offers a quick high when you run that charge card or pay for something new.

Spending money to relieve stress can quickly turn into a problem.

College was a very stressful time for me,  in more ways than one. My parents lived overseas, and I was alone in college not knowing anyone, I had family near, but they were not close family.

When I was feeling the stress of being away from my parents and everything that was new, I would find myself going shopping.

Now I had an allowance and was able to do this and never overspent my parent’s money. I learned to take care of my stress and anxiety by shopping.

I continued my habit after I got married.

My husband and I didn’t have the money. I would have a day off in the middle of the week and would take the kids shopping and tell them not to tell daddy.

This activity served no one, and a left the wrong impression on my kids plus a problem with my husband.

If you find that you have a similar problem, you may also find yourself in debt that you can’t manage.

If you’re spending money to relieve stress, it’s time to look at your habits and get control of them now.

The first step is to identify what issues are making you stressed in the first place.  If you can eliminate the things that are stressing you, that’s the best way to conquer your problem.

Not all stressors simply can be eliminated.  In that case, you may need to find alternatives for dealing with them.

For example, instead of shopping, you can spend your time with your family. Do more constructive activities such as

  1. game nights
  2. free nights at the museum
  3. Go to the local park.
  4.  You can also throw yourself into service related activities that provide you with feelings of worth without emptying your wallet.


Try to find a group called Debtors Anonymous you can attend because people with a shopping problem also tend to have a problem with debt.

Above all, don’t be embarrassed about your problem.

Many people have issues with shopping to relieve stress, and you’re not alone.  When you get control over this problem, you’ll feel like your life is your own again.

Are You Ready to Start Your Budget? Then Sign-up for our Free Household Budget Booklet.

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Elizabeth Hughes-Callison

Elizabeth Hughes-Callison is an empty nester, who has raised her kids, but she will never stop being a parent. She worked for 30+ years in the corporate environment all the while raising her two children John and Leigh with husband Randy. She learned self-care and how to have a sense of peace in her home the hard way. With humor and real-life stories, she helps you learn the same.

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