Drunk might be funny, but it’s not cool. According to a study of more than 2,000 alcohol-consuming American adults, drunk shopping is an estimated $45 billion per year industry with 79 percent of alcohol consumers making at least one drunk purchase. Some people are buying crazy things: two hundred pounds of bamboo, a World War II-era bayonet, a full-size inflatable bouncy castle, a breast pump (purchased by a dude), the same vest Michael J. Fox wore in Back to the Future, and a $2,200 pair of night vision goggles. While these are certainly interesting buys, they aren’t exactly useful. Here are a few tips on how to stop drunk shopping:
The old cliché is that the truth comes out when you’re drunk. If you’re springing for those Louboutins while tipsy at 2 a.m., chances are you were already eyeing them before and knew you shouldn’t buy them. You could give up alcohol to stop you from drunk shopping, or you could stick to shopping when you’re sober. As nonsensical as it may seem, you’ll make more sound decisions with a clear mind. Yes, you’ll still be shopping, but you won’t be drunk shopping. There’s a difference. Shopping sober means that you’ll be less likely to make rash, impulsive choices. You’ll be in a state to buy something practical that you won’t regret.
Do Not Enter
Amazon is the drunk shopping platform of choice—followed by eBay, Etsy, Target and Walmart. And with all of us very much online these days, visiting these sites is more alluring than ever. So, before you pour that glass of red and settle down on the couch, install a website blocker. If you can’t access a website, you can’t buy anything on it (and your wallet won’t be feeling morning-after regrets). There are a number of site blocker choices out there (with great names) such as Cold Turkey Blocker, Hocus Focus, and Self-Control. Don’t just use these for the major retail sites because they’re the most popular. Tailor the controls to fit your needs and use them on whatever site is your own kryptonite.
There’s an App for That
There are a few apps to help save you from yourself—namely prohibiting you from drunk dialing your ex or posting embarrassing drunk rants to social media (Drunk Dial NO!). For shopping, you can use Drunk Locker to directly block your apps. So, if you have an Amazon app that you’re constantly making drunk purchases from, use Drunk Locker. These apps exist because we regret our decisions in the morning. Think about that next time your finger is getting dangerously close to the Amazon app. It really is like drunk dialing your ex–it’s usually never worth it.
Go Straight to the Source
Shopping requires money and if you don’t have easy access to your money, it’s harder to shop. If your credit card is linked to your checking account, transfer a good chunk of that money into your savings account. You’ll most likely forget it’s there and it will be an annoying hassle to transfer it back. Maybe think about not enabling Apple Pay on your iPhone. For really dire situations, you can shut down your credit card altogether. When you’re able to be out more “normally,” rely on cash (or ask your friends to spot you and Venmo them later). This might sound extreme but chucking your credit card for a while will help you rein in bad shopping habits without being cut off completely. It’s simply a matter of how you access your money, not whether you can. Don’t think of this as going cold turkey or as a punishment, but rather a different way of doing things.
Most of us drunk shop when we’re home and bored. We usually aren’t swiping through the Nordstrom app during a friend’s birthday. If you know you’ll be having a post-work cocktail at home, schedule a Zoom or FaceTime date with a friend. This will veer your focus away from the Internet. And if you aren’t in a social mood, find other ways to distract yourself. Make a nice dinner. Rent your favorite movie. Draw a bath. Take a personality test.
On average, the drunk shopper spends $444 per year. That could be money saved toward a vacation, several spa treatments, twenty tickets to the movies, four nice dinners with a partner, etc., the list goes on. Anytime you get the itch to go drunk shopping, remind yourself what you could be buying with that money instead. Impulse buying that Dad Bod celebrity towel might make for a funny story, but the shine will wear off quickly. You’re better off being smart about your purchases. If you’re still thinking about that towel the next morning or a day later, then you can revisit it.Anytime you get the itch to go drunk shopping, remind yourself what you could be buying with that money instead. Impulse buying that Dad Bod celebrity towel might make for a funny story, but the shine will wear off quickly. Click To Tweet
A version of this article was originally published on Forbes.