While almost everyone has made an impulse buy and then thought better of it later on for some people this can turn into a lifestyle where they become addicted to shopping. The most common problem for people that become addicted to shopping is the debt that they accumulate that destroys their finances. It is important to identify if you are starting down this road and to make changes so that you do not fall into this trap.
A recent psychiatric study from Stanford found that more than five percent of people, with slightly more females than males, where identified as compulsive shoppers. If you find yourself unable to stop making purchases even when they are not necessary then you are at risk of ruining your finances. There are many reasons why people buy things compulsively and they generally give you a rush or a feeling of happiness. In many cases, as with many other sorts of addiction after the rush wears off you are left with the unfortunate consequences.
Danger Signs of Shopping Addiction
There are many signs that you might be having a problem and it is important to take a step back and look at your situation without emotion. We all feel good when we buy something nice or new and that is natural but if you find yourself looking for anything to buy just to recapture that feeling then you are showing a classic sign of being addicted to shopping.
Having more than two credit cards is also a sign of problems. This includes store cards which can have repayment conditions that can be even more onerous than your average credit card. You may have so many cards that you have no real idea of what you owe or to which company then this is a sure sign of problems.
Do you have unused items that you have purchased? This is a classic sign of being addicted to shopping. Purchasing items that you don’t need and may not even be able to use is a sign that your addiction is driving your purchasing decisions.
Hiding purchases from your partner or friends and family is also a sure sign that there is a problem. When you feel guilty after a purchase then you know that you are doing something wrong. This can actually exacerbate the problem as then buy even more to try and feel happy, falling into a circle that keeps on going around and around.
- Shopping makes you feel good
- Lots of credit and store cards
- Don’t know how much debt you have
- Have unused items lying around
- Feel guilty about your purchases
- Hide your purchases
If you have any of the signs on the above list then you need to think about your purchasing behavior. If you have several or all of these signs then you need to make changes today.
Combating Shopping Addiction
The good news is that you have already made a significant step by admitting that you might have a problem. This is the first step in making a change and by knowing that you have a problem making purchases you can take action to stop being addicted to shopping.
That great feeling you get when you make a purchase is your endorphins and you can give yourself a similar feeling by doing some exercise. If you start to get an urge to buy something a 15 minute workout session or a few small squares of chocolate can replace the need to whip out you credit card.
Now that you have got away to deal with the compulsion to buy things it is time to face the music. This means totaling up all the debt that you owe and devising a plan to pay it back as quickly as possible. You might be able to payout some of your higher interest debts by transferring them to lower interest cards. Once one card is paid off then it is time to cut it up or if you want to keep it for emergencies then a great idea can be to freeze it in a block of ice. This means that if you need it you can get it in a few hours but not straight way so that you have time to fight your feelings of being addicted to shopping.
Introducing a system to your shopping can be a great way to combat compulsive purchases. If you only purchase what is on your shopping list then you can very quickly turn around your addiction to shopping. Be warned if you are going to do this it needs to be 100% even if you have forgotten something or there is a really great buy if it’s not on the list you are not buying it. This is one of the best ways to halt addictive behavior but it takes commitment.
- Admit you have a problem
- Find alternative positive feelings
- Face your debt and plan how to pay it off
- Kill the cards!
- Try systematic shopping using a list
Everyone is different so you should try a variety of different ways to deal with being addicted to shopping. Making the effort will be worth it and when you have your spending under control you can start planning for a positive financial future.