The 3 Secrets To An “Amazon-oholism” Recovery

Oniomania? Seems like a reference to an onion fanatic, BUT it’s actually the psychological term for a shopping addiction. “Addiction recovery” usually is associated with drug addiction. Yet, the nature of this addiction is like many others, even though shopping is not a drug. An oniomaniac will feel the pleasure of browsing items (window shopping), as well as the high of making a purchase.  After clicking the “confirm purchase” button, dopamine rushes through the brain, producing the feeling of excitement that you can expect something fun or special in your email.

For some, this rush is addictive.  But the fun of browsing an unlimited number of items can result in overspending or outright impulsive buys. The memory of seeing tons of empty brown Amazon boxes with their infamous smiley logo in a friend’s garage reminded me of an actual inventory storage. It still makes me shake my head in laughter and concern.

Yet, online shopping has swept across the nation like an epidemic. In fact, online retailers are establishing new standards for package delivery. Amazon’s drone service, AmazonPrimeAir, launched during December 2016.  That Hello Kitty Gum Machine you wanted? It could be on your doorstep in less than 30 minutes.

The number of “Amazonoholics” across the world is destined to skyrocket as buying online becomes more and more convenient for shoppers to drop money anywhere they like. No longer does a person have to walk to the nearest store or drive to a favorite mall. Every purchase imaginable is literally at our fingertips via smart devices. In fact, if you’re logged into your account, prepped and ready to purchase—you can use the “1-Click Buy” option, snagging those products you want rapidly and easily.

Here’s some quick advice you can put into motion now to stop being an “Amazonoholic” or impulsive online shopper.


1. Change the One-Click Buy settings on registered online store accounts.

Don’t bother creating an account. Make your purchases as a guest. Just because a company wants to offer customers the option to make buying from them less of a hassle, in the end, they just want your hard-earned money. Amazon’s “Buy Now” buttons can be tempting, and “1-Click Buy” is craftily misleading—you can accidentally purchase something with just 1 tap of a finger. I made the decision to change the debit information on my automatic card purchase option to a card with a very low specified limit.

TIP: Removing the automatic one-click feature in other online stores made me think twice about the purchases I make now. My feelings change when I have my card in my hand and must input information manually. Do I really need a third pair of boots right now? Nope!


2. Get rid of the emails

Yes, unsubscribe from all those email subscriptions. Get out of my inbox! I can be an anxious person, especially when it comes to expecting email. So, while I appreciate the opportunity to get email updates of my order status and packages in transit, the follow-up emails only make me spend more. The accompanying images of suggested purchases made me want to click and view more. Any snippets of what else may interest me, do interest me. Unsubscribe from all email subscriptions. Print out the purchase confirmation. Avoid all coupon buttons and advertisements.  If a product is as outstanding as advertised, you naturally will be compelled to revisit the website on your own terms—you shouldn’t have to be convinced. And you don’t have to log in to check up on your orders or updates. Opt-in to receive updates on tracking information via text message to bypass unintentional “window shopping” after shopping.


3. “Free Shipping for Orders Over $50”

Free stuff! Everybody loves free stuff!

Both compulsive savers and spenders appreciate a good discount or free incentives. Okay, so I used to get too excited about the “Free Shipping for Orders Over $50.” If you only wanted to buy a new sweater, then only order that one item. I would feel pressured to search for more “stuff” to buy just to get the free shipping. That led me to spend more money than the initial shipping cost and original items. There are tons of discount codes for various online stores—try looking for those beforehand.


Overall, oniomania is a sneaky, calculating illness that shouldn’t be distinct from “typical” addictions to substances such as drugs or alcohol. Compulsive shopping produces the same dopamine as a drug. Whether you’re a true compulsive shopper or just someone who wants to be a little lighter in the pocketbook, these strategies are great ways to learn how to shop responsibly again.


Are you an “Amazonoholic”?  What steps are you taking to curb your online shopping addiction?

Zena is a 9-5 working millennial navigating the world of personal finance, budgeting money and living cost effectively. She researches ways to a live healthy and purposeful day-to-day lifestyle.  

P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp!


2 thoughts on “The 3 Secrets To An “Amazon-oholism” Recovery

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  1. Lindsay

    I was getting a box about every other day in December. I justified it because of the new baby. But what curbed my shopping was a “game” I decided to participate in on instagram. I browsed my way into the minimalist community and found out about the mins game, where people got rid of one thing on day one, two things on day two, and so on for 30 days. Truthfully I only made it 18 days but it was enough to break my Amazon habit. I know how much junk I had accumulated and before purchasing most things I now add it to a wish list and review it maybe once a week. It’s amazing how much stuff I am not sad I didn’t buy.


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