Strategies to End Shopping Addiction
For many people, shopping means new clothes for work or maybe odds and ends for the house. However, shopping takes on an entirely different meaning for others. It can become as destructive as any other addiction types and result in a financial nightmare for the shopper and family alike. This is referred to as compulsive spending or compulsive shopping.
Compulsive shopping and spending are defined as excessive and out of control. As with other addictions, the spending addict continues to spend and shop in the face of adverse consequences. Sometimes referred to as “shopoholism,” compulsive shopping can create massive financial, marital, legal and family problems. These consequences are identical in nature to the consequences created from a process addiction or drug addiction and alcoholism.
There are some indicative behaviors to compulsive shopping to look out for. There are also key strategies that can be implemented for each recognized behavior.
Strategies to Cope with Compulsive Shopping:
- Reduce temptations
- Make lists before going to the store; buy what you need only
- Take a trusted friend with you
- Wait so many hours before purchase
- Do you need this or do you just want it?
- Develop other ways to handle emotions
- Plan other fun things to do
- Learn to ride through urges and preoccupations
- Develop habits in stores
Many key strategies, such as those listed above, will help eliminate some of the key behaviors of a shopping addict. One indicative behavior is shopping or spending money as a result of feeling angry, depressed, anxious or lonely. A compulsive shopper thinks the high of shopping will make these “bad” feelings go away. They believe that if they shop, they will feel better. Compulsive shopping and spending generally makes a person feel worse. A key strategy to help is to first name the feelings. Try focusing on why you shop. If you are shopping to relieve these unwanted emotions, then by recognizing them you can now determine a better strategy to relieve them. Exercise and take a walk when you feel the urge to go shopping. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. Also call a friend and determine to meet up if you are lonely.
Credit Card Strategy
Feeling lost without credit cards and actually going into withdrawal without them can be another sign of compulsive shopping. Also included can be buying items strictly on credit rather than with cash. The average amount of credit card debt in households with more than one card is now more than $8,000, according to CardWeb.com. That’s 167 percent more than the $3,000 average for households in 1990.
- About 43 percent of American families spend more than they earn each year.
- Average households carry some $8,000 in credit card debt.
- Personal bankruptcies have doubled in the past decade.
The best strategy to prevent shopping compulsively would be to determine to use only cash. Cut up all credit cards from retail stores and keep only one credit card for emergency use. This card should have a lower limit as well.
You can also make a shopping list and stick to purchasing only the items on the list. This helps in using cash as well as you can budget specifically for only those items. This also helps in eliminating impulse buys.
You must be accountable to someone. A typical behavior of a compulsive shopper results in lying about how much money has been spent, keeping accounts and bills overdue in secret and even hiding purchases. An online shopping addiction is even harder to see. Call a friend or spouse and allow them to be in charge of your credit card statements and receipts. Call someone to go shopping with you who can help you make determinations on whether you need a certain item or not. Going shopping helps relieve the pressure to overspend. This person needs to be honest with you and someone you can trust.
Shopping Addiction Help
Shopping addiction should be taken just as seriously as any drug addiction. A compulsive shopper brings life changing consequences to their life as well as their family. It is important to find others to connect with so you can share and talk about your addiction.
If you believe you or someone you know has any of the indicative behaviors of a compulsive shopper, there are several counseling options. Call our toll free number at (877) 259-5635 for more information and further help.