What you need to know:
- Start recording how much you spend on luxury items every month, including clothes and accessories, shoes and bags that are not necessary; electronics like tablets or laptops; makeup; salon treatments or beauty products (even if they are cheap); furniture, etc.
- Find a healthy option that will replace your shopping addiction. For example, you can take up running or some other type of sport; join a book club; volunteer at the local library; try different hobbies like painting or cooking.
Shopping can be addictive. The beautiful designer bags in stores call out your name and convince you that you need them, not to mention the latest shoes and dresses. And before you know it, you've spent more than your paycheck can allow, which can have devastating consequences on your finances.
With many people using credit cards for everyday purchases, it's easy to fall into the habit of overspending especially on luxury items.
There are ways of recovering from overspending and getting back on track with your finances. Read on for some simple steps to get started.
Types of shopaholics
- The Impulse Shopper, who has a quick and immediate response to an appealing offer.
- The Retail Addict who enjoys shopping for its own sake and may buy more than they can afford. They enjoy shopping for hours, filling their home with new items, and the thrill of receiving new purchases.
- The compulsive shopper may shop to escape boredom or unwanted feelings such as anger, anxiety, guilt, or depression. This type of shopping is an addiction that needs professional care for proper treatment.
- Shopaholics shop to show off their wealth and keep up with the latest trends. Unfortunately, they are the most likely to overspend.
- The Bargain Hunters look for deals and buy things they don't need just because they're cheap.
- Hobby Shoppers who shop as a hobby or pastime with no genuine interest in buying anything.
Signs that you are a shopaholic
To find out if you are a shopping addict, take this quiz:
Do I shop to keep up with the latest trends?
Do I spend hours shopping without buying anything at all?
Am I overwhelmed by my debts from overspending on luxury items every month?
Have people been telling me that they worry about how much time and money I spend shopping?
Do I feel depressed or anxious when I cannot shop for a while?
Do I feel excited after shopping to the point of exhaustion?
Do you shop to calm your anxiety or depression?
Do you have more than two "yes" answers? If so, then it is likely that you are an addict. If your answer was only one or two "yes," but it causes issues for those around you and your bank account, read on for some tips on what you can do to get back on track.
Road to recovery
First, admit that you have an addiction.
Next, identify the shopping triggers. For example, is there a specific time of day or week that you are most likely to shop? Do you tend to shop when you are stressed? Write these down and create your shopping plan. If friends influence your expenditure, avoid shopping with them.
Start recording how much you spend on luxury items every month, including clothes and accessories, shoes and bags that are not necessary; electronics like tablets or laptops; makeup; salon treatments or beauty products (even if they are cheap); furniture, etc.
Then, make a budget. If you do not know how to do this, there are websites dedicated to helping people with their budgets for different types of incomes or lifestyles. Budgeting takes time and effort, but it is worth it in the end as you can see where your money has gone each.
Find a healthy option that will replace your shopping addiction. For example, you can take up running or some other type of sport; join a book club; volunteer at the local library; try different hobbies like painting or cooking (which is also fun to do with friends); go on more trips out in nature instead of searching for new things to buy. You could even spend more time with family or friends.
In cases where shopping addiction is caused by a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression, seek professional help from a mental health counselor.
Do not be too hard on yourself if you slip up and overspend. Remind yourself that it is a mistake rather than an addiction relapse. Then, get back to your budget and shopping plan right away. The important thing is not how much money you spend or do not spend, but what your true motivation for buying things really is.