Admit it, you’ve been spending money like crazy lately. Blame it on the change of season (‘cause you definitely need about 5 pairs of new sandals, right?) or whatever else you want, but at some point, constant over-spending can become a serious problem. Most often, it might just be a case of momentary over-spending, but what if it’s more than that? What makes someone a shopping addict?
A lot of people use the term shopaholic as a joke, but in fact, shopping addictions are a real thing, and they can have a seriously negative impact on your life, aside from the more obvious financial consequences. Here are some signs you should be looking out for, if you think you might have a problem.
It’s difficult to control your impulses
Part of being addicted to anything — even shopping— is being fixated on going shopping, whether it be online or in-person. Perhaps more and more, you feel like you need to spend money, even when there isn’t anything that you particularly need or want. When it gets to the point where you can’t seem to stop yourself from making a regular purchase, you may want to take a closer look at your shopping habits because you might have a problem.
Shopping is affecting your behaviour
We’re all a little guilty of the occasional indulgence, but those indulgences should not affect our lives negatively. For example, if you find that you’re needing to lie about or hide merchandise that you’ve purchased, that could be a sign that you need to seek help. Shopping shouldn’t create shame and guilt, unless there’s a deeper issue. Also, if you find that you need to shop more in order to feel satisfied, that could also be a sign that your shopping habit is turning into a shopping addiction.
You have anxiety on days you don’t shop
This is another behavioural sign, but if you find that you feel uneasy when you make the conscious decision not to shop, it might mean that you have an addiction. While a lot of us sometimes take steps to save or budget, or maybe make sure we aren’t over-spending, it shouldn’t have to feel like a terrible experience.
Could there be an underlying issue?
Do you turn to shopping when you’re lonely or bored? If you are struggling with depression, or perhaps you’re extremely stressed, you might be using shopping as a way to self-soothe. Anyone who thinks that they might have depression should also seek help as soon as they can. However, if you think that stress is a trigger for your over-spending, you should try to find healthier ways of managing your stress, such as practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.
There are ways to stop
Of course, there are ways to treat an addiction, but first, you must admit that there is a problem. There are skills you can learn to observe your impulse to shop, and then find a healthy alternative to do instead. You can also do things like freezing your credit cards (I mean literally freezing them in blocks of ice so you can’t get to them), and of course, seeking help and discussing your situation with a therapist or sponsor or even a trusted friend. Whatever you decide to do, just know that there is a way out, and that there are many ways to seek help. And remember, you can do this!