Buying More Stuff Adds Stress And 2 Ways To Stop

Buying more stuff (often) adds stress … no matter how we’ve fooled ourselves to believe otherwise.

I’ve written before about how we got debt free during those first couple years of marriage by selling on eBay (click here if you want to read more about that). I had some student loans to pay off and was able to do so quickly by selling online, despite having two children 16 months apart those first couple years of marriage.

Walking through homes (check out if you want to inexpensively acquire and resell inventory) of shopping addicts who had passed away leaving behind their collections and the consequences of their shopping habits taught me something about the reality of buying to numb worries, pain, fears, etc.

It was tragic to see. Not only closets, but entire rooms and garages filled to the bursting with clothing that hadn’t ever been worn, tags still on the items.

Not many of us are shopping addicts to that extent, but I noticed, when I was stressed about something – anywhere from my husband’s imminent deployment or a potty training project I didn’t feel equipped to tackle – my instinct was to want to turn to Amazon Prime to “fix” the thing I feared. (Here’s a way I reduced the cost of Amazon Prime membership)

Many people get a high from shopping on Amazon or at Target or (fill in the store or website you turn to when you want to relieve worry by shopping).

The thinking goes, “if I just buy the exactly right potty chair this inevitably daunting project won’t be daunting any more, if I just buy the next best pillow I’ll be able to sleep better while he’s away, if I buy the next gizmo that makes me feel like I *did* something about the thing I’m worried about”, rather than, sitting with the discomfort of not knowing what to do, maybe going for a walk, calling a friend, making a list or drinking a big glass of water, many feel a purchase would leave them more prepared, better equipped, but….the reality of help or support is rarely found in something to be bought

Turning to *buying* something while in a state of stress delays yet simultaneously adds to the stress you’ll eventually have to face either by decreased savings or mounting credit card debt. Not worth it!

There are healthier ways of coping with fear rather than buying, buying, buying. Being debt free is one of the ultimate destressers.

Don’t be fooled by advertising; that shampoo that promises “bouncier hair” isn’t going to gain you lower stress levels, but it might cause you another overpriced, unnecessary trip to Target that sets you further from your true goals. Stay the course! You can do this!

1. Write down your spending each day – either in a notebook, or in your phone or on an Excel spreadsheet.

When you know you’ll have to write it down at the end of the day, it can help slow down your purchasing and it’s a way of holding yourself accountable over time seeing how you’ve spent your money each day. (“A budget is telling your money where to go rather than wondering where it went.” Dave Ramsey)

2. Think of three choices of ways to destress that you enjoy doing other than buying stuff.

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