After a recent shopping spree, my husband looked over my haul and announced that I was a shopaholic. That’s not a description I take lightly, and I let him know.
He said he was just kidding, and we made up, but it did get me thinking about shopping and addiction.
There’s a big difference between enjoying the occasional bout of clothing shopping and feeling a compulsion to go out and shop, regardless of your financial situation or regardless of whether you need something or not.
Being a shopping addict means you shop, whether you want to or not.
If you’ve ever asked yourself “am I a shopaholic?,” use the 10 points below to determine if you are.
Money burns a hole in your pocket.
That is to say, you might be a shopaholic if you just can’t help but spend any money that comes your way.
You know you should put it in savings or use it to pay down debt, but instead, you use it to buy a new pair of shoes.
You can’t keep track of your purchases.
Open your closet door and take a peek inside.
If you have items that you forgot about buying or that you’ve never even taken the tags off of, your shopping habit might be spiraling out of control.
Shopping gets in the way of other hobbies or work.
If you put aside things you once enjoyed to go to the mall, that is a sign of a serious problem.
If your work starts suffering because you spend time browsing online stores instead of being productive, you’ll want to get help.
You buy things “just because.”
Everyone makes a frivolous purchase now and then. You might be a shopping addict, though, if the majority of your purchases are impulsive.
One sign that your shopping has spiraled out of control is if you keep buying the same type of item, such as candles, sunglasses, or bags, even though you have more than enough.
You purchase non-essential items with little regard for your finances.
If you are accumulating massive amounts of debt because of your shopping habit, but can’t seem to control it, you need to get professional help.
You get a high when you shop or when you walk into a mall.
When you shop and purchase an item, the brain releases dopamine. Over time, the rush of dopamine and the feelings of pleasure you experience become addictive.
You hide the items you buy.
Your friends and family have started noticing that you are spending beyond your means or that you go out to shop frequently.
To get them to leave you alone, you’ve started sneaking your purchases into the house or lying about the amount of time you spend shopping.
If you are shopping online, you quickly close the browser window when someone walks by.
You shop as a way to cope with stress.
Sure, buying a dress or something every now and then as a pick-me-up is perfectly acceptable behaviour.
But, shopping every time something stresses you out or every time you feel down can mean your spending is beyond your control.
You have maxed out at least one credit card.
The limit on your credit card isn’t a goal to be reached. You’re supposed to keep your spending well under the limit.
If you have a stable job and are able to care for your needs, there is no reason your credit cards should be maxed out.
Shopping makes you feel guilty.
After purchasing items, you feel a strong sense of buyer’s remorse. But, the remorse isn’t enough for you to return the items or put your shopping on ice.
If you can answer yes to “am I a shopaholic?, help is available. You can seek out the help of a therapist, who can teach you ways to control your compulsive shopping.
A support group such as Debtors Anonymous can also help you overcome your shopping addiction.
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This story was originally published by Mint.
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