To Buy or Not to Buy

About the Book:

In her warm, engaging, and thorough book—To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop (Trumpeter Books)—April Lane Benson, PhD, draws on decades of clinical experience and research to offer comprehensive, effective help that braids together intellectual insights, personal discovery, and a host of proven tips, tools, techniques, and strategies. Demonstrating that “you can never get enough of what you don’t really need,” she invites and enthusiastically guides overshoppers to reclaim control of their lives.

How many of us can clearly identify the cues or triggers that lead to overshopping? Can we see the true consequences of overspending, not just the financial, but emotional, social, and spiritual too? What underlying emotional needs are we trying to meet with this behavior? And how can we meet those needs in ways that enhance, rather than erode our lives?

The premise of To Buy or Not to Buy is simple and compelling: overshopping is a doomed attempt to fill emotional needs with material goods. This is a clear, interactive guidebook for changing all that. To Buy or Not to Buy thoughtfully helps compulsive shoppers go the distance from where they are now to where they want to be—centered, in control, knowing who they are, what they want, and what they really need.

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To read a review by Jaimie Blackman of BH Wealth Management, click here…

To read a review by Dr. Elizabeth Hartney, Addictions Guide at, click here

To read a review of a professional organizer using April’s book with a client, click here…

To read a review by James K. Luiselli, New England Psychologist, click here…

Dig Deeper Into Yourself, Not Your Wallet” Review
in Barnard Magazine, Winter, 2009 (page 15) by Stephanie Shestakow, click here…

Here’s What Colleagues are Saying:

“This is a very good book. I highly recommend it. If you are a compulsive or chronic shopper – as millions are – it may well save your sanity, your relationships, your marriage, or even your life.”

Jerrold Mundis
Author, “How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously and Making Peace with Money”

“With To Buy or Not to Buy, Dr. Benson has written an extremely helpful book for the millions of Americans afflicted with compulsive buying. She shows compulsive buyers how to uncover the individual psychological and social roots of their disordered behavior. She helps them understand that material goods are masqueraders luring them from the real satisfactions they seek in life. She provides wise means to achieve a fulfilling life instead of experiencing the endless dissatisfaction brought by the mindless, soulless pursuit of possessions. Her book provides a rational, practical, clear, step-by-step method to first recognize, second control and lastly abandon the material and emotional poverty of compulsive buying. I recommend it without hesitation to compulsive buyers and to those who love them.”

Lorrin Koran, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Stanford University Medical School

“In this warm, wonderful book, Dr. Benson has given overshoppers an eminently readable road map filled with valuable exercises with which to make the journey from overshoppping and overspending to full recovery and life balance. As a money psychology expert for over 25 years, I particularly enjoyed her use of mindfulness techniques, and exploration of spirituality as part of the healing process. Every overshopper needs to buy and use this book!”

Olivia Mellan
Speaker, Money Coach
Author, “Overcoming Overspending: A Winning Plan for Spenders and their Partners”

“If you shop or spend too much, Dr. April Benson is your friend. In her book, she leads you on a carefully guided journey to recovery for the estimated 25 million Americans who face similar challenges. The path is simple, but not easy. Instead of going to the mall, you will go inside to listen to the “deeply interrelated language” of the body, heart, mind and soul. You will discover distorted thought patterns, such as all-or-nothing thinking, generalizations, and denial. You will consider “how much is enough” and what is true wealth in your life.

Dr. Benson’s premise is profound: the more time, energy, and money you pour into shopping and spending, the less resources you have available to live your life. She wants you to lead a richer life. Your life will be richer when you deal with your “stuff,” both your things and your feelings. Like a diet that includes your favorite dessert, Benson teaches you to fortify yourself with self-kindness, self-care, and self-respect. This defends you against “high risk situations” that can lead to shopping “binges” and their painful “hangovers” and “aftershock” consequences.

Benson’s guidebook is filled with practical checklists, journal exercises, case studies, inner-dialogue scripts, and charts. As the authors of TheSmartestWay to Save, our favorite chart tracks how much you saved–or could have saved–throughout each week. Watch it add up. Spend less. Save more. Live better. We highly recommend this book!”

Heidi Clingen
“Achieve Your Goals With Words”
Allwritey Writing Services | Book and Blog Writing Coach


“…on February 13th, 2014, I found a book that changed my life.  (Side note: I have a friend who jokes that I’m always reading a book that is completely life changing.  That’s sort of true, too.  But this book has begun to give me my life back.  Life-changing almost sounds trite.)  to buy or not to buy:  why we overshop and how to stop. by April Lane Benson, PhD (affiliate link).

Now, I tend to read self-help books like this:

  1. Read first few chapters.  Feel extremely inspired.
  2. Decide to wait to actually act on the information until I have absorbed the entire message of the book (you know, so I know where I’m really trying to get by the end).
  3. Lose interest or literally lose the book halfway through.

Not this time.  I worked through every exercise in this book.  I felt relieved reading about people just like me, who depended on making purchases to make themselves feel better; but who were desperate to stop not because of debt, but because the ‘highs” from shopping just couldn’t compete with the sick, anxious, out of control feeling that took over the rest of life.  (Not to mention all available floor space.)

Andie S., Maryland



To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop
By April Lane Benson

Self Help | $16.95 US $18.95 CAN | paperback original | 6 x 9
ISBN 978-1-59030-599-7

Publication date: December 30, 2008 | Trumpeter Books
Distributed by Random House

To arrange an interview with the author, contact her publicist at Trumpeter Books, at

Or to contact the author directly, please email her at