How can some people manage their money while others go thousands of dollars into debt? Learn about this process addiction, how to identify the signs, and what you can do to recover.
America breeds shopaholics: spending is embedded in our culture. Politicians encourage spending as a patriotic economy booster. Social worth is gained through consumerism. Advertising tells us exactly what shopaholics feel: shopping will make us happy.
Being addicted to shopping is bigger than over-buying gifts at Christmas time. Compulsive spenders treat shopping like drug addicts treat chemicals. When these addicted people shop, endorphins and dopamine are unleashed and the shopper feels good. Shopping becomes their main coping mechanism. There becomes an inability to control their shopping, despite feelings of guilt or remorse. Shopaholics spend hours they aren’t shopping obsessing about money or things they want to buy. They endlessly chase the shopping buzz into the depths of credit card debt and personal consequences.
Symptoms of Shopping Addiction
Hiding your shopping habits from friends and family
Compulsive buying (for example, going shopping for a pair of sunglasses and coming home with shoes, shirts, bags, and jewelry)
Spending above your income
Shopping for the purpose of improving your mood
Constantly obsessing over money
Lying about how much you spent on your last shopping spree
The Shopaholic's At-Home Cures
If you feel your spending habits have spiraled out of control, here are a few tips to curb them:
Eliminate the credit cards. The notion of "invisible money" enables and inspires overspending.
Cash only. When you carry only cash, you can't spend money you don't have. You will also literally see and feel how much you are spending.
Keep a shopping journal. Tracking your spending shows you what's really going on. Many shopaholics don't look at what they're spending at all, while others don't factor in the "little things" like eating out orknick-knacks.
Tax yourself. Force yourself to save a percentage of what you spend.
Ask yourself, "do Ireally need this?"
Stay out of malls and other places where you usually shop the most.
Retail Addiction Help
How do you cure a shopping addiction?
Professional counseling can help you get to the root of why you find a need to shop.
Treatment. There are now treatment centers for spending.
Support groups. Debtors Anonymous is a 12-step group that meets regularly, allowing shoppers in recovery to share and grow with each other.
Credit counseling. Many people who seek treatment have an average debt of around $70,000.
When you have to hide trips to the mall like a dope fiend hides his drugs, you know that shopping has become a problem. Treatment and support have helped thousands of other over-spenders to get back on the track to financial and emotional stability.