Dear Budget Fashionista,
I am a shopaholic. I love buying clothes, but I still feel like I don’t have anything to wear. I recently spent $1,500 on Bluefly purchasing shoes, a beautiful leather Lamarthe bag and other clothes. When I’m not shopping, I’m thinking about shopping. And I’m not picky! I’ll shop vintage, online, in store, bargain, designer, whatever.
People think I’m joking when I tell them I have a problem with shopping. But it’s starting to feel like a real problem. Do you have any advice for me?
Shopaholics: You’re Not Alone
According to MSN, one in 20 people (women and men) are shopaholics. Although we might joke about shopping until we drop, over-shopping truly is a problem for some. And the consequences can be serious. Over-drawn accounts and maxed-out credit cards are the obvious outcomes. But shopaholics can also lose friends and family and even succumb to poor performance at work because of all the stress.
A Shopaholics Recovery Plan
1. Admit you have a problem
You’ve already made this first step and it’s the most important one. Signs that your shopping is out of control include:
- Overfilled and overflowing closets
- Maxed out credit cards
- You’re taking steps to hide your spending from friends and family
You can learn more about the traits of a shopaholic here.
2. Analyze your behavior
Understanding how you over-shop helps you devise a plan to address it. Every compulsive shopper 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 shop for anything or there is a particular category you love, like jewelry, shoes, or handbags?
3. Name the feelings
Think about how you feel when you’re shopping. Are you feeling unimportant or depressed or angry or lonely? Or maybe you get a rush of creativity when you’re grabbing separates and creating outfits?
If you can name the feelings that drive you to shop, you can think of other, less expensive activities that would fill the same need. You could tackle loneliness by joining a club or social group, for example. Or bolster your feeling of importance by volunteering on the weekends.
4. Value your time
Estimate how much time you spend browsing on the internet or stalking some great deal. How else could you spend this time in ways that would improve your quality of life?
5. Talk to a professional
Ultimately, if you are truly addicted to shopping, you will have trouble kicking the habit on your own. It’s better to get help sooner before you dig too big of a financial hole. You can reach out to a local therapist in your area, or contact The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding.
You may also benefit from the support of others who also struggle with compulsive shopping. Try Debtors Anonymous to find a meeting near you.