Compulsive buying is a real addiction, and it affects at least 6% of americans. Source: The Fiscal Times

The holiday season is the time of giving. The atmosphere and the Christmas lights all over can give you a very warm nostalgic feeling. The holiday season is also the time for spending. There’s just so much to buy and it can be easy to buy everything that comes your way. Besides, those holiday shopping deals are simply irresistible. Everyone always has a shopping plan in place. You know exactly what you need for the holidays and you promise yourself that you will only buy the things on the list. But every so often we found ourselves overspending beyond our means.

There’s nothing wrong with overspending a bit. It’s the holiday season so a little flexibility with the budget is understandable. But there are those compulsive shoppers who just shop and shop. Compulsive buying is actually a real addiction. In fact, a recent study noted that at least 6% of the people in the US are compulsive buyers. How do you know if you have compulsive shopping disorder? Well, for starters, you will find yourself preoccupied with shopping all the time. In addition to this, you may also experience pre-shopping anxiety or excitement. Finally, you will feel a strong sense of relief after shopping.

Pre-shopping anxiety or excitement is a warning sign that you may be a compulsive buyer. Source: Forbes

When you think about it, these look like the stages someone would go through if they were addicted to something else like a drug. And if you think this isn’t that serious, a recent paper by the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse noted that compulsive shopping as a form of addiction can lead to serious mental health issues such as depression.

In case you consider yourself a compulsive shopper or if you just want to avoid overspending, here are some tips that may help you shop only within your limits this year:

Avoid the Triggers to Overspend

The holiday season does offer a lot of shopping triggers. Whether it’s the colorful invitations in the stores or great holiday deals, it seems everything out there is calling for you to spend. Although it’s not easy to avoid these triggers during the holiday season, you must do your best.

Create a Plan and Make a Budget

Write down everything you need to buy and stick to the list. Source: Good Morning America

This is also easier said than done. For you to benefit from a budget, you will need to adhere to it. But it’s all about finding a new level of discipline. Create a list of what you need to buy and when you will buy it. Set aside a budget for all these purchases and stick to it as much as you can.

Establish a Delay Mechanism

When you step into a store, take some minutes to think about what you’re about to buy. This can make a huge difference. Do you need this item? Why are you even in the store? What happens if you just walk out and buy another day? Where will you put it in the house? These things will help you delay the decision and eventually you’ll come back to your senses. Impulse buying happens without a thought. But if you just take a few minutes to think about what you’re about to do, you may talk yourself out of it in no time.