Updated: March 16, 2019
Retail therapy, otherwise known as shopping when you’re feeling down, is something that most people do. I can’t blame them because it actually works.
Studies have shown that shopping can produce positive effects in a person’s mood. The psychological rewards of retail therapy can vary, but it is generally beneficial.
Benefits of Doing Retail Therapy
Shopping can help ease anxiety if you’re transitioning in life. For example, when moving to a new place, shopping for home decors acts as a form of mental preparation towards this new chapter in your life.
To some, retail therapy can boost one’s creativity, especially for those who are in need of artistic inspiration. The visual stimulation one gets from shopping encourages those creative juices to flow.
The most popular reason for shopping is that it offers a way to relax and escape. You can say it’s a form of entertainment, and can help a person rejuvenate from the daily stresses of life.
Lastly, it gives people a sense of social connection. Shopping with friends can be a bonding experience. But simply talking to sales staff can serve as an antidote for emotional distress.
6 Ways To Do Retail Therapy Properly
While retail therapy can be good for your current emotional state, you have to make sure that your shopping habits won’t give you financial stress in the future. Here are six ways to make retail therapy work for you.
1. Shop for gifts
Gifts are recurring expenses. So if you’re in the mood for shopping, then consider buying what you’ll purchase soon anyway — such as gifts.
Your best friend’s birthday might still be two months away, but there’s no rule you can’t buy a birthday gift now. Shopping for Christmas gifts in April, why not?
2. Buy your needs
I don’t do retail therapy, or so I thought. The reason for this is because I assumed that retail therapy could only mean having an impulse buy on something you want.
But upon careful thought, I realized that I do engage on retail therapy. And that’s when I walk my stress away along grocery aisles, and shopping for essential stuff that I need at home.
3. Use your gift certificates and reward points
If you have membership cards that earn points, then you can use those to buy anything for yourself. That’s basically free money, which you can guiltlessly spend.
Moreover, when you receive gift certificates, you can hold on to those until you feel the need to do some retail therapy. So you can shop without ruining your actual budget.
4. Work as a mystery shopper
Shop with other people’s money, and earn from doing it. That’s the life of a mystery shopper. I used to do this, and I shared my experience here: Get Paid To Be A Mystery Shopper
Mystery shopping is a freelance gig that you can do on your free time. The income is modest, but that’s fine because what’s more important is the retail therapy you’ll get with the experience.
5. Accompany a friend
If you have a friend who wants to go shopping, then just come along. However, be sure that you can trust yourself to avoid spending unnecessarily.
Even though you’re just there to keep your friend company. You can still experience the emotional benefits of retail therapy through your friend’s shopping.
6. Find satisfaction in window shopping
Studies have shown that retail therapy is more about the experience and less about the actual purchase. That’s why those who participated in the study showed improved moods after just doing window shopping.
Again, it’s important to resist the temptation to spend if you decide to do this. To help yourself, you can leave your credit cards and ATM cards at home and just bring enough cash.
And that’s it — six ways you can experience the benefits of retail therapy without overspending and ruining your budget. I hope you found these tips fun and helpful.