Though it is one of the most socially acceptable addictions, those who are addicted to shopping can be just as likely to cause harm to themselves and their loved ones. The danger may not be physical, but the emotional and financial strain caused by uncontrollable excessive spending can splinter relationships and cause irreparable damage to the shopaholic’s financial future.
With the vast amount of marketing and advertising surrounding us daily – in print, on TV and radio, and online – it’s difficult to refrain from shopping; however, most of us can control our spending urges and buy only what is necessary and within our budget – with occasional sprees or impulse purchases. For a shopaholic, the compulsion to spend is only exacerbated by the multitude of marketing messages that bombard them daily. They are unable to curb their desire to spend ever-increasing sums on items they don’t need, and willingly incur credit card debts that they may never be able to repay without first seeking treatment and recovering from their addiction.
When should you seek help for shopping addictions? If you think that you, or a loved one might suffer from a shopping addiction, it’s important that you speak to your doctor, or seek help from another source, such as a financial planner, debt counsellor, or even a therapists or addiction specialist. Some options are even available online, such as American Addiction Centers.
If you’re not ready to reach out to someone who will help you on your journey to recovery, it’s very possible to take the first steps on your own. There are several ways you might begin to take control of your spending: you can remove your credit card information from your favourite online shops or even entirely block online shopping sites; you could destroy your credit cards, or render them temporarily inaccessible – a former co-worker froze her credit cards within a block of ice as a means to curb her impulsive spending as, by the time they’d defrosted enough to use, she had time to rethink her purchase. Winnie Sun, of Sun Group Wealth Partners, suggests leaving purchases in a corner of the room for a whole week and says “If you don’t touch it for a week, that means you can live without it.” As returning the items is time-consuming, frustrating and embarrassing, her clients eventually get to a point where they limit their purchases.
If you feel that your spending is out of control, and is putting your financial welfare, or relationships at risk, please seek help for your shopping addiction.