Shopping is fun! You can buy whatever you want - whether its clothes, shoes, a new handbag, the latest electronics, homewares, or maybe even a memorable trip. In fact, The occasional session of retail therapy can actually be good for you! But how much shopping is too much? Those of us who have become addicted to shopping can have devastating emotional and financial consequences. According to this ABC article, recent studies also show that about 6% of Australians have a compulsive shopping disorder. And in fact – shopping addiction actually has a clinical name called "oniomania". If you're looking for ways to curb your shopping addiction, you've come to the right place. Here, we'll look at the reasons behind why some people can't stop spending, how it affects your life, and how you can break your addiction to shopping.
Why Some People Become Shopaholics:
Some people become addicted to shopping for a number of reasons:
- To achieve instant gratification or feel good (shopping stimulates feel-good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins and dopamine).
- To avoid doing other things in their life.
- To feel more like their ideal self.
- To attain a socially perceived sense of happiness and success.
- To avoid or ease negative feelings and enhance or prolong positive emotions.
- To be socially accepted.
- To possess certain items because of an unmet need or the fear of losing the chance to obtain the item.
- To boost their self-image, self-esteem, or sense of self-worth; and
- To fill a hole that other aspects in their life (e.g., job or relationship) are not satisfying.
People who suffer from the following conditions and experiences can also become shopaholics:
- Compulsive hoarding.
- Low self-esteem.
- Perfectionism; and
- Obsessions and Compulsions.
Signs You’re Addicted to Shopping
An addiction to shopping can cause significant conflict in your life. For instance:
- Creditors could be after you.
- It could be a substantial source of arguments with your partner.
- You hide your shopping habits or lie about the cost of an item to avoid criticism.
- You could end up borrowing money from your friends.
- You might fall behind at work because shopping takes up most of your time.
- You could feel powerless over your spending.
- You probably don't feel in control at all; in fact, your buying habits control you.
- You can't stop shopping even though you want to and/or you've tried to stop but couldn't.
- You might tend to buy things you don't need or in quantities much more than you planned, even when you know you can't afford it.
- Shopping has consumed your life.
- You have resorted to stealing to fuel your addiction.
- You have opened multiple lines of credit to fund your spending habits.
- You have taken up a second job just to get more income to spend.
- You don't have any more room in your house or apartment because it is already full to the brim with stuff.
- You think and talk about shopping all the time.
- You also spend less time doing the things you used to enjoy because of shopping.
- You shop for emotional reasons.
- When you find a good bargain, it brings you intense pleasure.
- You also get grumpy or upset if you're prevented from shopping.
- Moreover, shopping is the only thing that will help you relax or feel better.
Here are 11 ways you can curb your shopping addiction:
- Work out the reason behind your spending, e.g. your partner works late, so you go out shopping at night, you feel lonely, or you want to blow off steam after getting into an argument with someone. Try to deal with the root of the problem in a healthy, alternative way.
- Ask yourself the following questions before you buy something: "Why am I shopping? How do I feel right now? Do I need this item, or is it just a want? How am I going to pay for it? Where will I put it after I buy it?" Asking these questions will make you think twice before you make a purchase.
- Don't go into stores or window shop.
- If you do go shopping, make a list, and go with someone who knows about your addiction.
- Cut up or freeze your credit cards and pay only in cash.
- Unsubscribe from retail store email newsletters.
- Look at how much you're spending on each item and then check how much you would have saved if you had only bought the things you needed. You can write this down on paper or use an app that tracks your spending.
- Think about what you want to do and where you want to be in the future, and then determine whether the way you are living now will get you there. Setting long-term goals for your money is more likely to make you save rather than spend.
- Reward yourself every now and then with small, inexpensive purchases. Spend your money on things that you enjoy, are good for you, and fill any emotional voids - such as activities and experiences with your family or friends, a gym membership or yoga class.
- Seek the help of a therapist if your spending is affecting your finances and personal life. They can guide you and help you achieve control over your spending habits.
- Attend support groups, speak to a debt advisory consultant or financial counsellor, or enlist a family member or friend as an advocate to ensure that you follow through with your plan to curb your spending.
Curbing your shopping addiction won't be easy, but it'll be worth it in the end. Not only will you be able to save more money, but your personal, social, and work lives will improve too!
If you're seriously struggling with credit card or personal loan debt including debts to companies like AfterPay, Zip and payday lenders we may be able to help you renegotiate your repayments and help you get back in control of the interest! Call us on 1300 003 328 or place an enquiry for a free and confidential debt assessment.