Top 10 Worst Shopping Mistakes of a Recovering Shopaholic

Hi readers! My name is Erika from the website From Shopping to Saving where I share my journey as a recovering shopaholic. I share my experiences with saving, shopping (resisting it), self-improvement, and more. Feel free to ask me questions or follow me on Twitter.

I’m a shopper and a recovering shopaholic. I’m not afraid to admit that anymore! However, the road to get here hasn’t always been so easy. The path wasn’t always straight, my intentions weren’t always clear, and my spending habits weren’t always under control.

I’ve learned a lot throughout these past few years on my road to recovery from my shopping addiction. Today I want to talk about some of my worst shopping mistakes, and what I’ve learned from them.

Hopefully, if you are trying to overcome compulsive spending, you too can gain some insight and learn from some of my mistakes.

1. Not Reading Return Policies

People who spend on an impulse get burned a lot because they forget to read return policies. They’re so eager to get the item out the store that they don’t think about the difficulty of returning the item if they change their mind. This happened to me. A lot!

It all boiled down to me being too lazy to check stores’ return policies. You’d be surprised at how many different stores only offer store credit or only give you a 14-day window to return a new and unused item with the receipt. I now save all of my receipts and read return policies before I buy. Being a shopaholic, I would sometimes buy things with the intent to return them in addition to not reading the return policies. This is a huge no-no!

2. Not Checking on Price Matching Policies

Another thing I ignored was a shop’s price-matching policy! A lot of stores have them like Nordstrom, or even online stores like (where I used to buy a lot of my shoes). It’s really easy to find cheaper prices online through Google, and you just have to make sure that the store you are trying to price match has the same size/color you are ordering in stock.

It definitely requires more research than going to the mall and buying stuff on a whim, but the consequences of not checking these policies are severe. Think about how much money you could be paying extra! The store obviously offers these deals because it can afford to, meaning that they’re selling waaaay above cost. Don’t let yourself get taken for a ride!

3. Not Trying Clothes On

I think this one is obvious, but if I am shopping at the store, I always make it a point to try things on. For some reason, clothes look so much better just hanging there on the little dainty hanger or stacked up against other pretty items. You really need to see how the clothes/shoes fit on you. Take pictures in the dressing room, since the mirrors could be deceiving. I’ve ended up with a lot of duds just because the lines were too long at the dressing room.

4. Buying Multiples Just Because

I’m sure you’ve all been there before. “I just adore this shirt, so I’m going to buy one in every color available, even if I hate some of the colors.” I don’t think it’s bad to buy multiples if you truly like that item (we all have our favorites), but my problem was that I would buy multiples because I really liked the item. Did I really need that many though? I have multiples of items in colors I don’t like…I only bought them for the style, but I find myself wearing the original one I purchased, not the multiples.

Looking back as a recovering shopaholic, I just can’t fathom why I thought this was okay!

5. Buying the Wrong Sizes

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you just had to have it? Even though it wasn’t in your size? Yep, I succumbed to that trap too. I have shoes in sizes a half size too small for me and a half size too large for me. Where are they now? With friends and family members who actually are those sizes.

I recommend having pictures of shoes that you want in your phone. That way, if you come across shoes that don’t fit, you can remind yourself that there are better options out there.

6. Shopping as a Hobby

I treated shopping like a hobby. This means I was shopping when I should have been studying (browsing online as a form of procrastination), when I was bored (I went to college in a small town), when my friends and I had nothing to do, when my family members and I had nothing to do, etc. Shopping is NOT a hobby! It is something you do to buy things you need that you can afford. Once in awhile you can treat yourself, but shopping shouldn’t be your “fun hobby.” That will lead to bad things.

7. Online “Window Shopping” at Night

Nothing good ever happens on the computer after 2am. Right?! After a night of drunken festivities, I would get on the computer and tell myself I would just “window shop,” but obviously this led to bad decisions. I guess you can also add “shopping online while drunk” to this category.

I know I’m not the only one who used to do this. If you find yourself sacrificing sleep just to window shop online, you better check yourself. Because this could be a sign that you’re a shopaholic.

8. Reading Fashion Blogs Religiously

I remember waking up each morning to get my fashion blog fix. I used to read them often, but now as a recovering shopaholic I’m cutting back. I figured out that seeing regular bloggers wear clothes, shoes, jewelry, make-up, bags and other accessories so well sparked most, if not all, of those urges to buy the same thing.

Call it brainwashing if you will, but if I could, I would turn back time so that my love for fashion didn’t grow so much by reading fashion blogs.

9. Focusing on Trends

Another effect of reading fashion blogs often was the need to keep up with trends. I was constantly on the hunt for the next trendy item, and I wanted to be “ahead of the curve” before others caught on to that specific trend. There were leather jackets, ankle boots, fringe boots, studded clothes and jewelry, mules and clogs, platform sandals…everything! What I realized was that my closet was full of trendy items, but not a lot of classic items. I wasted a lot of money this way.

In fact, I found that many compulsive spenders tend to be fashionistas too. Being into fashion is fine. The problem is that most high-end fashion is incredibly expensive. If you’re one to follow trendy blogs and magazines, you’re likely to be brand conscious too. So you won’t be choosing the more affordable no-brand option anytime soon.

10. Not Keeping Track of My Closet Inventory

Organizing all the stuff you bought on your spending spree can be a lot of work.

If you don’t feel like cataloging your whole closet, at least organize things by type (long sleeves, shorts, pants, jeans, etc.) so that you know how much you have of each item. I didn’t keep track of just how many pairs of jeans I had and how many white v-neck t-shirts I have. Do I really need that many?!

What are some of your worst shopping mistakes? How do you currently avoid them?


22 thoughts on “Top 10 Worst Shopping Mistakes of a Recovering Shopaholic”

  1. I have so many mistakes. Buying stuff online (because I can’t try it on and I think I just NEED it). Going on shopping sprees when I really only needed one thing. Not cleaning out my closet enough.

  2. I don’t think I have bought something without trying it on since I was a kid. However, if I order online I make sure I can return it in case I am way off.

  3. I would buy long sleeve dress shirts whenever they were deeply discounted to eventually replace my current shirts when they wore out. Unfortunately when I switched jobs I no longer needed those shirts but luckily jcpenneys let me return them.

  4. Great guest post, Erika! I don’t make these mistakes when I shop for myself, but if I’m buying a gift, I very rarely pay attention to prices. I need to buy gifts for people even when it’s not the day before their birthday.

  5. Great post! I am guilty of making shopping a hobby sometimes. I also think in my head I can buy my happiness. Turns out I get a little excited about a purchase however, the novelty wears off way too quickly.

  6. Ugh I have so many shopping mistakes! Great post Erika! Some of my biggest is not trying on clothes. I hate trying on clothes but it’s saved me so much money by trying something on and realizing it either doesn’t fit, doesn’t feel good, or looks horrible! And the inventory thing–that’s something I still need to do! Time to clean out my closets again. Okay, I’m actually going to wait until the end of summer to do that but I can start with an inventory at least.

  7. I would add to the list “retail therapy.” Using shopping as a way to cope with stress in life is literally addictive in the physical sense. You get a “high” from shopping to cover the pain of depression or some other trauma.

    Pretty awesome that you’ve overcome your shopping habits. I know they are hard to break.

    I’ve been blessed in that I don’t have an aversion to being tempted by very many shopping habits, but I know “browsing” online or at the mall definitely gets me in the spending mood.

  8. Well, I don’t really shop. Probably cuz I’m a dude. But, “Nothing good ever happens on the computer after 2am. Right?!” Right on. NOTHING good EVER happens after 2 am on the computer, couldn’t agree more!!

  9. This is a great post! I love the one about not buying every color just because it is available. I recently fell in love with a white lace shirt in store, then I saw a teal one hanging with it and almost bought both…until I told myself to not be a hoarder. After I left the store with just the white one, I was able to sanely realize I didn’t really want that teal color. Teal is actually not a color I wear anyway since I pefer navy. Sometimes I think it is a good rule to walk away from items to see if you’re still thinking about them later.

  10. Great tips, here. For me, it’s buying things just because they are on sale. And then I don’t wear them, ever. I’m the kind of person who would be happy with wearing the same two outfits over and over and over again. I need to just own this fact about myself. It sure would save me money and closet space!

  11. Oh man, I’m guilty of the “it almost fits…” sizing. I have a pair of shoes and two pairs of jeans I’m thinking about putting on kijiji because I find myself getting irritated by the fit when I wear them.

  12. Closet inventory is my thing. I try to throw out something if I buy a new garment. I’m a capsule queen and minimalism is my goal!

  13. I’ve done a couple of those. I think my biggest mistake is impulse buys. I had to have something now, instead of really thinking about it if I had the money, or I really needed the item. I still try to avoid stores like Target, which is the biggest enemy to me when it comes to impulse purchases. It just has SO many things I want to buy!

  14. I have what my boyfriend calls “shopping bulimia” in which I buy things and then immediately feel guilty and take them back within a day or two. It’s something I definitely need to work on. This was a truly excellent post-why were you not in my life four years ago?!

  15. Yep, not trying on clothes can cost a lot. I nearly didn’t try some on the other day, but am so glad I did because none of the clothes looked any good on me!

    I used to treat shopping as a hobby, and still enjoy it but try to limit it.

    Great list!

  16. My Biggest mistake is buying things on ebay because they’re cheap. The turn up and ultimately I don’t like them or they don’t fit. Because they were cheap I can’t be bothered to send them back. I must have enough rubbish/cheap clothes to buy 5 Gucci dresses by now ha

  17. All you described sounds just like me.I’m a shopaholic and I can’t help it.I spend all my money on clothes,shoes and accessories.Once I spend the money I had to buy my boyfriend a birthday gift just because I saw a nice jacket.But I’m trying to restrain myself.Some things are more important than shopping.Thank you for the tips!

Comments are closed.