Online Shopping Addiction: The 12 Steps

1. Put your item in the shopping cart.
2. Open a new window and go to a news website
3. Take a few cleansing breaths
4. Think about all the things you own that are nearly EXACTLY like the thing in your cart.
5. Think about your unpaid bills.
6. Recall the last time you bought something that didn’t make you one bit happier.
7. Picture yourself ordering the item and feeling the inevitable remorse.
8. Now picture yourself feeling virtuous.
9. What a close call!
11. See? You can kick this habit: You are in control.
12. The next day, go back to your cart and buy your item because you really really want it.

*Photo by Jeongmee Yoon

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23 Responses to Online Shopping Addiction: The 12 Steps

  1. Love the Hello Kitty stuff!!! =)

  2. The only reason I don’t have this problem is I can’t allow myself to start so I rarely do. And I have to stay away from Atlantic City too.

  3. Alicia says:


    That was the story of my 2009…and it is possible to break the cycle! Just rip the cord out of the wall and/or don’t go to online stores. At all. It’s possible, I swear!

  4. arline says:

    I really wanted those boots that I just bought on eBay. No, I did not exactly need them, but at least they are not black. I have PLENTY of black boots and shoes.

    I am now officially on a spending freeze, and will promptly go remove all the other items on watch. er… most of them anyway.

    eBay now has a way to donate to non profit when you buy something. It also has a way to donate without buying anything. Its nice either way, as it makes me more conscious about my spending, and wanting and wanting and spending…

  5. Bex says:

    I don’t have a credit card..anymore..haha.

  6. theresa says:

    i just make myself buy something really ugly so that i wont pay for it later and the ebay people ban me.

  7. I’ve found step 13 no money! I’d like to say it was willpower but with very little work and all my college stuff to pay back I’m stuffed but I still look and hope….

  8. Dru says:

    ^agreed. Also, ‘be a poor student and don’t have a credit card’ works pretty well too.

  9. Aja says:

    I toy with the idea of buying the item for months before I purchase. I have a couple dresses which dance through my head regularly.

  10. Try this…. throw computer out the window cry about it for awhile go to a friends house log on using her/his computer and shop til you drop. Remembering of course to order your Macbook pro to replace the PC you through out the window.

  11. Liz says:

    My 13th step: living in a country that most online stores don’t ship to. Works like a charm (and my bank account really appreciates it).

  12. omggmab says:

    Rule one: Don’t drink wine while surfing shopping sites. Makes for receiving items you not only dislike, but that you don’t remember ordering in the first place.

  13. Deni says:

    No money is the greatest deterrent. I used to buy used books all the time and I have had to drop that too!

  14. Juri says:

    Step 14: Repeat after me or in front of a full-sized mirror: “I kicked the habbit once -> I can do it again and again and again if I want to. So, what’s the point of denying myself the pleasure of indulging in something I enjoy? I’m not the next Gandhi, am I?”
    I think those All Things Anonymous people should learn more numbers and adopt a couple of new steps.

  15. Jill says:

    God this sounds like me! I have started throwing catalogs away without looking at them…and I’m trying to delete those pesky emails from Barney’s without opening them!

  16. Jenny Dunville says:

    This condition needs a name – kind of a nonreligious form of lent. I’m observing _________ so I can go to Florida guilt free in March & resume spending.

  17. kate says:

    The best cure for a SEVERE online shopping addiction is someone in Singapore stealing credit card info and ss# and effectively ruining all credit sources (all this in spite of having an impenetrable Mac, only using Paypal, and giving no one said information). You would think so, right? No. Now I’m back on the junk again with several recent vintage purchases. That bitch Cathy would say Aaaaaaack.

  18. hammie says:

    Try in person thrift store shopping. At the very least you will see all the mistakes people make on the rack. And no buyers remorse. If you don’t like it when you get home, donate it back.


  19. tobilynne says:

    I did this yesterday with a book about Roky Erickson & the 13th Floor Elevators. It’s been in my Amazon cart for a few days. I must have *some* self control though, because there are 59 other items in my cart I didn’t buy. Huzzah!

  20. Martha says:

    Ahhh yes…that about sums it up…

  21. excellent list. i went on a bit of a buying binge for vintage jewelry on etsy last year. not expensive things. but little things on after the other. i did acquire this-

    and this-

    and this!

    hope you can see the links.

    yup. and a few other things. and got over it. but seriously that E.T. pin is greatness!

  22. I admit, I haven’t been on this webpage in a long time… however it had been another joy to see It is this kind of an essential topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. I thank you to help making people a lot more aware of feasible issueGreat stuff as usual…

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