Save. Spend. Splurge.

Do you shop when you’re stressed?

I’ve noticed a pattern in the shopping behaviour of many women and I call it “stress shopping” and I’ve engaged in it myself until I realized it was wreaking havoc on my budget.


It’s basically a form of retail therapy.

Stress shopping happens when people are stressed out from work, or being cooped up in the home, and when they reach a mall, they just go nuts. They head into a store, pick out items and without trying them on or even checking to see if they like it or that it’s worth the price, they buy it.

Some end up returning the items with buyer’s remorse, but more often than not, many women just keep those guilty purchases in their wardrobe by stuffing them into a huge garbage bag with the tags still on.

The cycle repeats each time their stress is triggered and they do this cycle of buy-and-repeat that never ends.

Stress shopping is triggered by so many things, but the key is to recognize that you have a tendency to stress shop in the first place!

Miserable-Men-Shopping-of-Instagram Via




To start, when you feel the urge or need to run out and shop to relieve your stress, stop and make a note of what stressed you.

After you figure out what the trigger was (e.g. being cooped up in the home with no adult or human contact *cough* Baby Bun *cough*), make a note of it, and actively work to calm yourself down or de-stress in a manner that has nothing to do with a mall.


These are all things I’ve tried and they’ve worked to some extent on me:

  • Go through your wardrobe & start purging or picking out pieces to get repaired/tailored –– this has been the #1 most effective strategy for me. I find lots of pieces I love but don’t wear because the straps are too thin, or they’re too short, and I need to get them tailored
  • Create 5 new outfits just by picking out a random piece in your wardrobe you rarely wear — time consuming, but very helpful in that you challenge yourself to wear something you already own rather than wanting to buy something new
  • Mindfully make and drink a cup of tea or a hot beverage — I find hot liquids tend to calm me down
  • Sit down in a chair, take deep breaths and relax or lie down on the floor with your arms and legs out like a starfish
  • Stretch and loosen up your limbs with a bit of quick yoga
  • Call a friend to chat or go online and write an email to someone who would understand why you’re so stressed
  • Tidy up / pack up your work space or area — this has been the very effective for me, because it distracts me from shopping completely
  • Look at your budget and remind yourself that new shoes are not going to get you closer to your next money goal



  • DO NOT browse online — Etsy, Craigslist, Ebay, Consignment Online, or any retail shops should be off limits
  • Unsubscribe from ALL retailer / shopping emails — I admit to having subscribed to a few, and received 20% off coupons that made me want to go out and shop to use this “great deal”
  • Avoid shopping / style blogs unless you plan on trying to emulate an outfit with what you already own in your wardrobe
  • Avoid temptation by not even going to the store — make it difficult for yourself to get there, such as not using your car but telling yourself you can go but only if you take the bus or walk




  • raluca

    These strategies would also help with stress eating :).

  • Gina

    These are great ideas! Perfect topic to post about! Thanks!

  • Tania

    Very true for me. Another trigger for me is weight fluctuation (which is also related to stress coping). I’ve cut down on all my shopping a lot and do many of the recommendations above. Looking at my spending trends, balances and net worth app on my Mint app each day also helps. I now get more excited by seeing my spending bar graph get lower and lower vs. having something new. Just cleaned out my closet and found 3 pairs of shoes bought in December that were still in the box and never worn. I didn’t even consider keeping them. Since all three were from Macy’s (liberal return policy) I drove straight to the mall and returned all for $230+. All the way I was excited about getting that money back & my cleaner closet. I also have turned more toward uniform like/minimalist style dressing – cuts back on all the arty trendy buys I used to do that weren’t the best for my body type or lifestyle. I like your “create outfits” suggestion and will definitely add to my list of what to do when the urge strikes.

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