As a woman I am well aware of the dangers that “comfort” shopping can bring. A bad day at work, bad mood, row with the other half or general stress from life; anything can trigger that feeling of emptiness that only a new purchase can fill. And the evidence is clear – I am not alone.

Young women are the fastest growing area of our society who is falling into debt. Many blame low income and part time jobs for the increasing number of women between 25 and 34 becoming insolvent (by entering into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement, a Debt Relief Order or by going Bankrupt).

Then there is the double dip recession, where women seem to have suffered the most. The public sector, an area that was dominated by women, saw two-thirds of jobs cut, leaving many out of work. The Office of National Statistics show that the number of women unemployed increased to 1.1 million in 2012 from 710,000 in 2007.

Low incomes, unemployment and part time work may be to blame, but there is no hiding from the fact that we live in a world where we must conform to a certain image- something that seemingly affects women more than men.

Whether, like me, you are a “comfort” spender or are a shopaholic here is our guide to help you change the way you spend…

  • Budget, budget, budget – set yourself a budget for all areas of your spending and make sure you stick to it.
  • Cut up your cards – if you usually use plastic to pay for things, cut your cards up and only spend cash. This will help with your budget and you will see how much you really spend.
  • Do you need it? – If the answer is no, then walk away. There is a huge different between want and need, there are many things that we want, but chances are, we don’t actually need them.
  • Can you get it cheaper elsewhere? – Once you have established that you need something, don’t just buy the first one that you find, have a look around and see where you can get it cheaper. There is absolutely nothing wrong with looking on eBay.
  • Have you already got it? – we have all done it – been shopping, got home and realised that we already have that item or something very similar. Make it a habit to regularly check your wardrobe, cupboards and drawers, anything you no longer want or need sell on eBay or Gumtree and put the money in your savings fund for when you do need something.
  • Find the route of the problem – identify the root of the problem with your spending and face it head on. If you do not fix the problem then it will keep happening.
  • Seek help to repay your debts – if you are struggling to repay your cards, contact us, we will be able to help. Either call on 0800 316 1833 or fill in our online referral form.