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Finally, A Pill For Shopaholics

shopaholic pills

All pills should come in gummy form

Did you hear about the new shopaholic pill? Well, it’s not really a new pill, but this is a new application for it. Memantine is used to treat Alzheimer’s and according to a recent study, it seems to be effective at curving shopaholic tendencies as well. The study was very small scale and only had 9 patients (8 females), but the result was promising.

Here are some details from the study.

  • Patients spent at least 38 hours a week shopping.
  • Patients spent 61 percent of their income on impulsive purchases.
  • After 8 weeks of taking the prescription, the overall symptoms were halved. I guess this means about 20 hours shopping and also spending less money.

Compulsive shopping can be a sign of obsessive compulsive disorder and if it’s really bad, perhaps you should see a doctor. I only know one shopaholic and I would love to get her opinion on this. Would she take the pill if it really halves her shopping time and money spent on impulse shopping?

I think a pill is a valid tool to use if the problem is really bad. If retail therapy is putting you in debt, it might be time to seek professional help. If I am badly addicted to shopping, I would consider trying this out. However, the problem with the pills is that you’ll have to keep taking it until you die. I hate taking pills and doctors love to prescribe them. I’m taking a pill to help my triglycerides and I don’t like it at all. Also, who knows how much these prescription pills will cost, even with insurance?

Personally, I have lost any interest to shop recently and here are some of my strategies.

Anti Shopping Strategies

  1. Don’t buy on impulse. Wait a few days and check again if you really want it. I find that delaying purchases gives me time to shop for lower prices and read reviews. Many times, I lost the desire to own that particular item after a few days.
  2. Use cash allowance. I get $75/week cash allowance and once that runs out, that’s it. This works pretty well for me and I need to save up a few weeks allowance to buy something that is not in the immediate weekly budget, like new clothes. You can still do this even if you use credit cards; you just have to stick to your budget.
  3.  Figure out meaningful ways to spend your time. I’m spending all my spare time with baby RB40 , writing, reading, and running Retire By 40. I don’t have any time to shop at all and I’m fine that.
  4. Live in a smaller space. Our condo is full. When we lived in a house (about twice the size of our condo), it was full, too.  When we moved, we sold everything…and our condo is full again.  I don’t want to buy anything new because we don’t have any room for it. This strategy might not work for other people. 🙂

What are some of your strategies to reduce your shopaholic tendencies? I can see that compulsive shopping can be bad for your finances and if someone needs help, a pill might be a way to go. I would first try to reduce the problem with willpower, and then perhaps get some help with talk therapy.  Seeing a medical doctor and taking pills would be the last resort. Taking pills really sucks, but it’s better than getting deeper and deeper into debt.

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{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Kurt @ Money Counselor June 8, 2012, 7:31 am

    The study patients spent 38 hours a week shopping?!? That’s not a habit; it’s a career!

    I don’t have a good answer to what strategy I use to reduce shopaholic tendencies because I’m one of the fortunate who truly dislikes shopping. Malls make me dizzy, lines and crowds make me grumpy. When I need to buy something, I do precision strikes: Once in the store, go directly–with blinders on–to the item or items I want, decide quickly whether to actually buy or not, then head straight for check out and hope the lines aren’t too long. I’m mystified by the clear appeal to many of just going into a store and walking around looking at stuff–browsing. Life’s too short!

    • retirebyforty June 8, 2012, 2:16 pm

      38 hours is very excessive. They need to find something more useful to do.
      I don’t like malls either. They are too busy and crowded and I never find anything I like. 🙂

    • Broke Professionals June 10, 2012, 10:00 am

      I’m with Kurt – 38 hours a week??? That’s ridiculous! I limit my shopping by always having a list (yes, a physical list) of what I want/need to buy, and how much I’m willing to pay for it. That way, I’m not tempted by something that isn’t on my list, nor am I at risk of buying something that is on my list but that isn’t a good deal.

      • retirebyforty June 11, 2012, 4:31 pm

        I always have a list when I go grocery shopping too. But when I go clothes shopping, I don’t really have a list.

  • Well Heeled Blog June 8, 2012, 9:07 am

    I try to move money out of my checking accounts or prepay for big expenses so I feel “poorer.” That way, I am less inclined to spend money. I still love to shop, though. Just keeping it under control. 😉

    • retirebyforty June 8, 2012, 2:16 pm

      That’s a good way to make you feel poorer. 🙂 I think Sam and a few other writers do that too.

  • Kathleen @ Frugal Portland June 8, 2012, 10:03 am

    Wow I am so the opposite — I HATE shopping, except for groceries.

    • retirebyforty June 8, 2012, 2:17 pm

      I don’t like groceries shopping either, but it has to be done. 🙂

  • Vanessa June 8, 2012, 11:13 am

    I can’t imagine spending almost 40h a week shopping! I love that you have an allowance (I thought I was the only one). Mine’s only $70 though 🙁

    • retirebyforty June 8, 2012, 2:17 pm

      Allowance are a great way to cap our spending. It’s so much easier to spend with a credit card.

  • Mr. Everyday Dollar June 8, 2012, 11:47 am

    I am a minimalist so buying things is not in my nature. However, what I have found useful is using an Amazon wishlist for things I do want to buy. A lot of times I find that after an item I want was on my wishlist for a week or month I lost interest in it or came to the conclusion that I didn’t really need it all that much anymore. It satisfies my shopping desire without actually spending money most times!

    Mr. Everyday Dollar

    • retirebyforty June 8, 2012, 2:19 pm

      That’s a good idea. Sometime I put the item in the basket and just leave them there.
      I have an energy saving outlet that’s been there for 6 months now. I guess I should just buy it already. 🙂

  • krantcents June 8, 2012, 12:12 pm

    Although I am not a shopaholic, I do my shopping online which means it always take a couple days to arrive. I also do research online which delays the process. I generally only replace what has worn out. It reduces any shopaholic tendencies.

    • retirebyforty June 8, 2012, 2:19 pm

      I try to just replace worn out items too, but it’s difficult. 🙂

  • Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter June 8, 2012, 1:10 pm

    Wow…I don’t think I would want to shop full time. And if I was spending 38 hours a week on it, I would definitely be interested in a pill to help me knock that off. Hope they feel the same.

    • retirebyforty June 8, 2012, 2:20 pm

      Yeah, that’s a crazy amount of time to spend. I don’t have any spare time as is.

  • Aloysa June 8, 2012, 1:48 pm

    38 hours a week? Where in the world do they get all this time?! I looooove shopping but nowhere in the world I can find another 38 hours in the week for that. As far as that pill goes, well… I don’t believe in pills. 🙂

    • retirebyforty June 8, 2012, 2:20 pm

      It’s a second job. 🙂 I don’t like pills either, but they can be helpful sometime.
      It’s ridiculous that the doctors make you take those pills for life though.

  • SavvyFinancialLatina June 10, 2012, 1:11 pm

    I am definitely not a shopaholic but I do like shopping for clothes and shoes. I just stay away from malls. And when I am in malls, I stay away from my favorite stores.

    • retirebyforty June 11, 2012, 4:31 pm

      I usually go to the outlet mall once or twice a year and that’s that. 🙂

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