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How to cure the urge to shop – a life coach’s best advice

To buy or not to buy? We have the checklist

Jessika Jellbom

Daniel Nilsson

2 November 2020

Sometimes friends might say things that are uncomfortable to hear. And as a friend, we’re asking you, in all honesty, do you really need to buy that thing? Mid-season sales, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the sales campaigns that go on until Christmas, it’s pretty easy to buy more than we need or can afford. But why do we do this?

– We as people like doing the right thing. When you buy a discounted item, you know that you’re doing the right thing, and that you’ve taken responsibility, life coach Philip Diab says. 

He explains the psychology behind it: when an established and well-known product is reduced in price it’s perceived as a guaranteed good deal, it can’t go wrong. Then there’s also the egoistic aspect, we like telling our friends about the bargains we’ve grabbed.

– It’s about satisfaction and belonging. We live in a time where we look for rapid rewards, and are even prepared to buy something in order to be included in the story.

We convince ourselves

Philip Diab is the founder of Kickass-Coach in Sweden and has a lot of experience in helping people that have a shopping addiction. What’s common for many of them is that their decisions are founded on the ‘here and now’, they are not considering the consequences.

– We have a tendency to justify the arguments in our heads: I’m on a diet but I’m just going to look in the fridge to plan for the evening. And while I stand there: I ate such a small lunch, it’s probably ok if I eat something nice….

Shopping can fill emptiness

Everyone indulges once in a while. The problem is when shopping becomes a new way of filling a void, or replaces something else that we miss or we long for.

– The more you buy, the shorter the satisfaction lasts, and each time you buy something you need to buy more to feel satisfied. In the end there will be financial consequences, Philip Diab says.

The threshold for shopping online is also significantly lower than in a physical shop.

– The shops are on your phone, they’re already there. And the more time you spend on your phone, the emptier you might risk feeling. 

And so on. 

The right psychology gives satisfied customers

Many shops are also good at pushing you to buy by sending out notifications such as “only three left”, “this offer only applies for the next 6 hours”. But too much pushing can work to their disadvantage, as many packages are returned.

– I think the shops would benefit from learning about the psychological aspects, there are advantages to customers making wiser shopping decisions, and feeling good about it. The chances are higher that they will return and that they’ll recommend the shop to others, Philip Diab says. 

Philip Diab, life coach. Photo: Daniel Nilsson

But a sales item can of course be a really good purchase.

Philip’s three questions can give some guidance: 

1) Do I want it? I mean, really want it.

2) Do I need it? Really?

 3) Can I afford it?

– If your answer isn’t a crystal-clear yes on all three questions, don’t buy it.

Philip Diab also recommends a trick he uses himself:

– It’s about creating a distance between you and the product you desire, both physically and mentally. When you find something you want to buy, try telling yourself: “how nice, I’ll buy it tomorrow”. In many cases that item won’t seem as important the next day. 

If I’m worried that a friend is addicted to shopping, how should I bring it up?

– Try saying: “I can tell that you’re happy when you’ve bought something, what other things in life make you happy”? Don’t play the blame game. 

How do I know if my own shopping habits are unhealthy? 

– If you are asking yourself this question, then you know that something’s wrong. Asking yourself the question is the most important, it usually contains the answer, the life coach Philip Diab says. 

This article is written by Prisjakt’s editorial staff. No one else has influenced the content of it. There are no paid links or other types of advertising collaborations. Jessika Jellbom can be reached at [email protected].