Retail Therapy: 4 reasons why it’s dangerous


Let’s be honest, we all enjoy spending money on ourselves from time to time. Whether we feel like we need, want, or deserve something, obtaining it feels very enjoyable, so we decide to go o retail therapy. And has it ever been easier to spend money than in the era of the internet and online shopping? When every person on the internet is trying to sell you something, you will eventually find something you actually like. But has shopping become like therapy for most of us?

What is retail therapy?

retail therapy

Well, according to Oxford Languages, retail therapy is “the practice of shopping in order to make oneself feel more cheerful”. Basically, it is the practice of spending money for the 5 minutes of joy you get from the purchase. Its main purpose is to elevate a person’s mood. But sometimes we can end up spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need in the hopes of feeling fulfilled. And we can end up regretting the money we don’t have when we actually need them. But there are multiple reasons why retail therapy is not the best choice.

  • It’s wasteful

assorted-color apparels

Even if you’re an environmentalist or not, I think we can all agree being wasteful is not a good thing. Our short-term happiness may result in us buying anything from make-up to expensive body and hair – which all end up going to waste if we don’t use them up and continue to buy more.

However, even clothes can be a wasteful purchase. Whatever is trendy and in style right now, can change in a heartbeat and we might end up never wearing that pullover we got because we liked someone else in it. We tend to outgrow fashion styles pretty fast, as every week there seems to be a new design that’s all the rage. Or sometimes it just looks better on the internet, and we end up never wearing our more or less expensive possessions.

So, make sure you can actually get multiple uses out of the things you invest in. That is long-term buyer’s fulfillment.

  • It’s expensive

retail therapy

I think it comes as no surprise that things cost money. And as I mentioned before, sometimes we buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have. Or end up spending all the money we do have on things we don’t really want or already have enough of.

If we see a celebrity or influential figure owning something, and it interests us, we are tempted to overlook that they promote incredibly expensive brands to the ordinary customer. And we also tend to think owning that object might make us feel better, more important, or richer. But, in reality, we only enjoy it for a little while, as we will always come across something new and expensive, we get interested in.

  • Temporary happiness

retail therapy

I know we all get very excited when we place an order online. The suspense of waiting for it to arrive is always compensated by the rush of adrenaline we get when the delivery man comes. But after opening the package and seeing the products, that joy only diminishes. Not because the product is bad, but because there’s no surprise element to it anymore.

Sure, finally getting your hands on something that’s been out of stock for ages is very exciting. But once you have it, it’s just another piece to your collection.

  • It’s not actually therapy

Person in Black Pants and Black Shoes Sitting on Brown Wooden Chair

Even though the word “therapy” is attached to it, it doesn’t really mean it’s a healing process that makes you a better person. Not even close.

Putting into perspective its temporary satisfaction, it is more of a mock therapy, a false hope. And a wasteful and expensive one too!

However, retail therapy does not actually help you in the long run. It doesn’t fill the void you’re trying to cover up with expensive purchases. You know what they say, “money can’t buy happiness”.

The only person that can help you during a dark time is…you. And actual therapy.


However, sometimes it is good to splurge on something you want, no matter how crazy or unnecessary it is. But be careful to not let it become a habit or something your happiness depends on.


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