Dear Budget Fashionista,
I am a shopaholic. I love buying clothes, yet I never have anything to wear. I spent $1,500 on Bluefly purchasing shoes, a beautiful leather Lamarthe bag and other clothes. When I don’t shop I feel irritated like a junkie who needs their next fix. I shop vintage, online, in stores. And not only in clothes, the process of buying just gives me a rush and makes me feel happy. I read your book but it just made me want to purchase more items. People laugh when I tell them I have a problem with shopping but it really is serious. I am trying to find therapy for this problem. Do you have any advice for shopaholics? Help!
According to MSN, 1 in 20 women AND men are shopaholics and although we joke about shopping until we drop, it’s really become a problem for many of us (yours truly included).
The first step in developing a solution to any problem is to admit you actually have a problem, which you’ve done by reaching out to me. There’s many organizations available to help you with the psychological aspects of your shopping addiction (Debtors Anonymous as well as local psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists specializing in the treatment of addictions). Most likely, your shopping addiction arose from a void you feel in some other part of your life. Once you’re on the path to addressing the psychological aspects of overspending, you can then start to work on getting your financial house in order. Contact a local financial advisor and read last year’s series on getting your financial house in order.
Here’s some excellent strategies for dealing with complusive shopping from MSN:
1. Admit something’s wrong. If you can’t open any of your closets, your credit cards are maxed out, or you cover up crazy spending behavior, you probably have a problem with shopping. “The first thing you need to do is face up to the issue and admit that you need some kind of intervention,” says Benson.
2. Examine the problem. Every compulsive spender is different. Do you spend only occasionally but in big splurges? Or are you on a constant spend-a-thon, moving from one credit card to the next? Do you go nuts for a particular commodity—electronics, food, jewelry? In order to get a grip, says Benson, “You need to admit the particular nature of your problem.”
3. Name the feelings. Benson suggests asking: “What are you shopping for?” To boost your ego? Relieve depression? Get back at your spouse? Is it a creative outlet or a form of self-expression? Does being at the mall ease loneliness? “If so, see if you can find other ways to meet those needs.”
4. Look at your time. Compulsive spenders face more than financial losses, Benson points out. Ask yourself how much time you spend browsing on the Internet or stalking some great deal. How else could you spend your time in ways that would truly improve your quality of life?
5. Open your horizons. When hearing about shopper Andrea’s passion for fashion, Benson wondered if she could volunteer as a consultant with Dress for Success, a program that helps disadvantaged women find jobs. “You have to have a rich life.” Benson says. “True wealth isn’t 500 pairs of shoes, it’s things that feed your soul.”
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