Derek Thompson encourages compulsive shoppers to window-shop their way to happiness:
[I]n three separate studies, materialists reported significantly more happiness thinking about their purchase beforehand than they did from actually owning the thing they wanted. … The finding that paying for something is less satisfying than wanting it shouldn’t be confused with the idea that buying things makes us sad. It’s hard to find a study showing that “retail therapy” (i.e.: shopping your way out of a bad mood) doesn’t work; most research suggests that a well-timed excursion to the mall can lift one’s spirits. But if [Daniel] Gilbert and [Marsha] Richins are right, then the bulk of the therapy provided by shopping is everything that happens before the check-out counter. You don’t have to go into debt to achieve nearly the same emotional gains from materialism.