Whether it’s the latest iPhone, PlayStation, the latest Louboutin shoes, shopping addiction comes in many forms. Do you have the urge to splurge on buying items that are not a necessity? With all the online marketing and ads on social media reinforcing the shopping mentality in us, it’s hard to avoid the temptation. 

Occasional spending in moderation isn’t a bad thing, you’ve worked hard, and you deserve it. But when the urge to buy becomes uncontrollable, it’s starting to disrupt your finances, and your addiction to shopping causes anxiety; some changes need to be made. Shopping addiction is similar to gambling or alcohol addiction, you always feel the urge to repeat, and it can be damaging. 

If you’ve watched the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, starring Isla Fisher, you can see her life spiraling down because of her shopping habits. You don’t want that, right? You can see in the movie she has made changes in her life to overcoming shopping addiction. If you have a shopping addiction or know someone who is a shopping addict, read this article to stop these unhealthy spending habits. 

What Is Shopping Addiction?

Shopping addiction is a global problem; it is estimated that 5.8% of the general population in the U.S. experience compulsive buying. Most people, not all, who experience shopping addiction experience a mental health decline like depression, anxiety, self-esteem problems, or pent-up negative emotions. 

The term “shopaholic” is a slang word used to describe a person with a compulsive or impulsive shopping habit. It involves spending money even beyond their means. It is a behavioral addiction involving compulsive buying just to feel good, avoid negative feelings, and fulfill emotional needs. 

Types Of Shopping Addiction

According to the Shopaholics Anonymous group, there are different types of shopaholics: 

  • Compulsive Shopaholics or Compulsive Buying Disorder: It is characterized by the behavior of obsession with buying and shopping when feeling emotional distress. 
  • Trophy Shopaholics: They are perfectionists in nature. They will not stop shopping unless they found the perfect item. This ends up buying many items without knowing when to get satisfied.
  • Big Spender Shopaholics: This type of shopaholic has the urge to go shopping to keep up with the rich and big spender image. They love flashy and expensive items to maintaining that “rich” image. 
  • Bargain Seekers: Those who purchase items not because they need it but because they are on a bargain or are on sale. 
  • Bulimic Shopaholics: Bulimic shoppers are people who have a strong desire to buy something to feel happy. Once the feelings of happiness wear off, they realize they feel guilty and can’t afford the item and return their purchase. This cycle can become addictive. 
  • Collector Shopaholics: These types of shopaholics do not stop shopping unless they feel complete that their collection is complete. For instance, they shop for the same shoe style of all colors. 

Difference Between Impulsive And Compulsive Shopping

Impulsive and compulsive shopping are used interchangeably, but both are different. Impulsive shopping is making unplanned purchases without thinking twice (if they really need it, or what are the consequences when buying it). On the other hand, compulsive buying is a serious psychological and behavioral struggle where there is the urge to repeatedly buy things until the feelings of unease or anxiety go away. 

How Do You Know If You Have Shopping Addiction?

Like other types of addiction like gambling or alcohol, shopping addicts hide their actions. Addicts may find it hard to admit they have a shopping addiction because, in the first place, they won’t know they have it. How to know if you are addicted to shopping or a loved one is experiencing it? Here are the signs:

  • Hides credit card bills, receipts, or shopping bags. This is a sign they are trying to hide something because they feel guilty and are afraid to get caught. 
  • Spends too much money on shopping even if it’s way beyond your means. If your monthly salary is $3,000, why buy a $3,000 bag, and you won’t have money to pay the rent and buy groceries? 
  • There is the need to buy something new as a reaction to feeling sad, angry, or depressed. 
  • It’s becoming a long-term challenge to take control of buying something new. 
  • Your shopping addiction is becoming the root argument with family members. 
  • In a declining financial situation like going over the limit of your credit card bills, running into more debt, your savings get swiped up in the long run. 
  • You keep on making purchases of things that you don’t need. Just because they are on sale or you think you’re saving because of the bargain. 
  • You hide your shopping from your partner or family. 

How to Stop Shopping Addiction

You can stop shopping addiction. If gambling addiction or substance abuse can be managed, so as shopping addiction. It’s a matter of self-control and making the conscious effort to put a stop to all of this. Here are some proven tips that work to stop shopping addiction. 

Settle Your Finances

If you’ve been stuck in a pattern of piling credit card bills, do the damage control first. Face your debt, and pay up the consequences of the shopping addiction. As you deal with your bills or see your savings all gone, this is a knock into the reality that it really is time to make changes. Settle your finances first for a clean slate. 

Revoke Your Credit Card

If having these credit cards with big-spending limits is tempting you to shop compulsively, then have it revoked or have it cut. If you can’t cut your credit cards because you might need them in the future, at least not place them in your wallet so you won’t get tempted to use them. If you think you have overcome your shopping addiction and you believe it’s the right time, you can always request a new card. 

Pay With Cash Only

Here’s a saying to live by when it comes to shopping: if you can’t pay in cash, it means you can’t afford it. Break the habit by carrying or paying with cash only. You will realize what you can afford, and if you see you don’t have cash in your wallet anymore, you will stay away to shop for things you don’t really need. It may be a challenge, but it really is effective. 

Monitor and Plan What You Spend

By tracking every penny you spend, you’ll be aware of how much it is that you’re spending. Start with a list in your journal; here’s an example:

My monthly salary: $3,000

My monthly expenses:

  • Rent: $700
  • Groceries: $300
  • Utilities: $200
  • Insurance: $300
  • Rainy Day Savings: $500
  • Gas: $200
  • Savings for New Car or House: $500 
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: $300
  • Total: $3000

If you plan and monitor these expenses, you will realize how much you can spend on side shopping. It is important to make a list so you can live beyond your means. If you know you’re short this month, you will avoid the urge to buy things you won’t need. 

Avoid Shopping Sites

If you’re addicted to online shopping, there are three things you can do:

  • Avoid online shopping sites
  • Uninstall shopping apps on your phone 
  • Unsubscribe to emails of shopping stores

These little steps can make a big change. The next time you are tempted, think again and take control of your emotions. If you have the urge to shop, distract yourself. Take a bath, meditate, exercise, play with your dog, go outside and walk. 

Avoid Temptation

If you constantly find yourself hooked on buying impulsively, avoid the temptation. Avoid department stores or shops or stay away from malls. Bring a friend or a family member with you when you got to these places so you can have someone who can control you to spending big. 

Try The 30-day Rule

If you have the impulse to buy something, try the 30-day rule. Give it a month to think; after 30 days, you will realize that you don’t really need it anymore. This is taking control over your shopping addiction. 

Seek Help From Your Loved Ones

If you think you need help, reach out for help to your partner, a family member, or a trusted friend. Maybe they can keep your credit cards for you or accompany you to the mall so you won’t be tempted to shop big. You can ask a loved one to plan and monitor your expenses. Have someone in charge of your expenses and spending until you have taken control. 

Seek Therapy

If you think that things are starting to spiral down and you want to regain control, seek therapy right away. A licensed mental health professional can help you understand why you’re feeling this way. Why are you experiencing anxiety when you can’t shop? Why is it you have these feelings that you want to maintain that big spender image? Is it coming from peer pressure or feelings of low self-esteem? There’s always a reason behind these feelings, and a counselor can help you sort out these feelings. 

Seek Professional Help in Kentucky

Addiction may get the better part of you, but you should not let this happen. Are you looking for a counselor or therapist to overcome your shopping addiction? Invest your time with the licensed professionals of the Kentucky Counseling Center (KCC). Schedule your appointment now.

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