Updated: Mar 14, 2021
Are you addicted to shopping? Need help on how to stop? What is the difference between a shopping addiction and shopping therapy? If you wish to have an answer for all these questions then you are reading the right post! In today’s consumer-driven society, people see shopping as one of the most enjoyable activities and it generally makes them feel good. It gives such a happy feeling that it has also been used as a therapy to fight sadness lingering.
On the other hand for some people unfortunately it can turn out to be a negative experience as it can get out of control. Of all shopaholics, 90% are women and nowadays it is even harder to control it during this pandemic. People tend to shop more online getting too excited and losing control on how much they are spending. So first of all, let’s talk about what a compulsive shopping disorder is, what the causes are and how to fight it. Also I will be listing different kinds of shopaholics and where their addiction comes from.
What is a compulsive shopping disorder?
Compulsive shopping disorder is an addiction to shopping which is usually caused by a feeling of sadness, rejection and low self-esteem. In more serious cases it can also be caused by depression or by a trauma experienced either in your childhood or in your adult life.
How to identify if you are a shopaholic?
There are many signs to look for to find out if yourself or someone you know is a shopaholic. Please find the main ones below:
- One of the biggest signs to look for would be when shopping is triggered from a moment of anger, deep sadness or from a feeling of loneliness. Shopaholic people find it very hard to control their emotions and they usually tend to be very impulsive individuals. Shopping for them is like a distraction, it makes them feel less lonely as they will be surrounded by people plus they will be getting the attention from the shop assistants. Also the adrenaline rush which they get by purchasing items will fill up, even if temporarily, that emptiness that they feel inside them. That is of course more of a feeling than something real because that emptiness will come back soon after the shopping is over and this is because the underlying problem
- They usually have financial issues as they tend to spend more than they can afford. They use credit cards or debit cards as it is not just the quickest way to pay for their purchases but also because they can’t have a clear vision of how much they are spending. There are 3 main different types of shopaholic which determines what they tend to go for whilst shopping: compulsive shoppers, flashy shoppers and bargain shoppers. The compulsive shoppers have the tendency to shop when they feel emotionally distressed such as feeling sad, depressed or angry. Flashy shoppers seek nice, expensive, new and luxury items and most of the time they do it to impress other people. Lastly bargain shoppers always look for sales even if they don’t really want the items. My advice to you is to not get caught up into the sale deal. In my experience I don’t believe that I have ever been addicted to shopping. Sometimes I can go for months without shopping and I don’t miss it. There was a time though when I was in my late twenties when I felt deeply sad and lonely for many reasons and I used shopping more often. The main issue was that I lost a well paid job during the credit crunch and moved into a low paid one whilst moving into a new flat. So what I did was that instead of spending less, I ended up spending the same and as I couldn’t really afford it I ended up using credit cards. I always used to pay the whole amount every month so I was unaware of what it would have really meant paying only a small amount towards the monthly balance. I wasn’t exactly addicted to shopping as I wasn't buying clothes all the time but it was a combination of things also needed for my new flat, food and other things. What I really did wrong was that I spent money that I couldn’t financially allow myself to spend. I was occasionally buying expensive clothes but mostly i would buy clothes that I didn't really love but just bought cause they were on sale. Fortunately this period only lasted for a few months but it still made its negative impact in my life. It wasn’t hard to stop as one day I just thought that investing money is so much more fun then blowing it all! I still of course love shopping but i have a small budget every month, besides when you do it less often you start to appreciate it more.
If you are experiencing some financial difficulties or would like some ideas on how to invest your money you might want to first check out the post “How to resolve your finances and get back on track”.
- Shopaholics have the tendency to buy more clothes even if they already have a massive collection of them at home which have not been used yet. If you go in a wardrobe you'll find many clothes with the tags still on them! They basically live the life of the rich but they are not wealthy.
-If you are a shopaholic you will often have a feeling of anxiety when you don’t shop for a while or sometimes even for a couple of days.
- The good news is that there are many ways on how to stop a shopping addiction:
- The main one is to understand what triggers you to go shopping and what unsolved emotional issue you might have. You could speak with a friend or you might prefer to speak with a professional but my advice is to find the truth from inside you. Even if I agree that having some support system or advice from a friend or a family member can help only you can really help yourself. If you don’t change, if your bad habits don’t change then your life will not change for the better either. Face your fears, understand them, don’t be afraid or be ashamed of what you have done wrong or doing wrong but understand that we are humans and that we are not perfect.
- Unsubscribe to magazines, newsletters or any other monthly subscriptions as they can be a tease. They can encourage you to buy more clothes, bags, belts, shoes, jewellery, perfumes and everything else that you wish to purchase.
- Make sure that what you buy is really what you want. I have become a fussy shopper and in a way I am glad as that helped me to not overspend and to only buy something that I really love and where I feel myself wearing it.
- Paying for your items using cash instead of credit cards can really help to be vigilant on how much you spend and you could ideally put the exact quantity of money that you can afford to spend in your purse. I have a monthly budget for how much I can spend for clothes, bags, stationary, ballet shoes etc but sometimes I don’t use it if I don’t need to. I enjoy saving more money with the intention to finally invest it as that is a great way to build your wealth or to create stability such as buying your own home.
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