The difference between a regular spender and a shopaholic is that the shopaholic will compulsively shop and one purchase will lead to another and another, like an addiction. There is no regard for anything else and shopping will constantly outweigh everything else. If it is not dealt with, one can get deeper and deeper into trouble just like other addictions. In essence, I truly believe that treatment for this problem must focus on the root of the problem itself. Some may resort to shopping out of boredom, anxiety, stress, or just plain materialism.
Here are some tips to diagnose the problem that I hope will help some people out there! A lot of these experiences are personal experiences, so I am speaking first-hand from seeing the detrimental side effects of shopping.
You Know You Are a Shopaholic When...
- You are constantly thinking of what to buy next, even when you just bought something.
- You just spent your next few paychecks via credit card.
- You are paying only the minimum balance on your credit card but keep adding to it by buying stuff.
- You forget that you even purchased items, especially items that you bought online.
- You end up online shopping for hours, and realize the sun is rising.
- You just have to have something, but when you get it, lose all interest in it.
- You buy too many items and then feel guilty about it.
- You find yourself justifying purchases to everyone, especially yourself.
- You open up your credit card statement and feel sick from the total amount due to shopping.
- You hide new items from people because you don't want them to know that you bought something.
- You resort to shopping every time you are depressed, excited, worried, anxious, bored or nervous.
- You return items almost immediately after you buy them.
- You lose interest in items you bought and sell them at a loss.
- Your closet is filled with items that still have the tags on them.
- Your closet has clothes and shoes that you forgot you even had.
- You surround yourself with people that are into shopping as much as you, and all you can talk about is what new item you bought...which proceeds to more buying.
- The thrill of shopping is more exciting than anything else.
- You ask your credit card company to increase your credit limit, just to buy something.
- Family and friends notice you have too many new items in a short time span.
- Family and friends are telling you that you need to stop shopping.
- Family and friends are telling you that you have a serious problem.
- Every time you go out to buy one item, you end up coming home with items you didn't intend to purchase.
- You can't say no to yourself if it involves an item you really want, but don't have money for.
- You think that your life will change drastically because of this new item (thinking a new pair of shoes will change your life, or that new dress will instantly make me feel better about myself).
The hardest part of dealing with it is basic acceptance of the problem, and acknowledging that something has to be done to solve the problem. There are a lot of ways to deal with it though, so don't feel alone. You can conquer it!
I have implemented a few tips myself for fighting the shopping bug and it's actually a very real and on-going process for me, even though I have made huge progress these past 2 years.
If you know someone who is struggling with this addiction, make sure to think twice about encouraging the behavior such as, "At least you are helping the economy!"
Any other shopaholics or former shopaholics out there? How do you deal?