Shopping, a favourite hobby of many of us, can sometimes lead to an uncontrollable addiction. For some, the act of buying satiates a hunger that seems to be never ending. Before we know it, we have fallen prey to the dangers of uncontrolled spending.
If you suspect you have a shopping addiction, take comfort in the fact that knowing is already half the battle. Here are some tell-tale signs that can help you know whether or not you are fighting an addiction, and what you can do to prevent yourself from going overboard with retail therapy.
Sign 1: Your home is filled with stuff that remain unused. It is an addiction when you simply feel that you have to buy something, even when you know that you have no real need or use for the item you are buying.
Shopping addicts tend to spend a good portion of their day in the mall, surfing online shopping sites, or watching shopping channels on TV, waiting to find something they can buy. Healthy shoppers, on the other hand, only visit online or offline stores when they already know what they need or want to buy and are just looking for the right item.
What you can do: Distract yourself with other activities. Participate in sports, go out with friends, or join community civic projects and other similar endeavours.
More importantly, stay away from places that tempt you. Ask somebody to block your access to online shops and never give you the password that will disable the blacklisting. Cut off your cable subscription to that home shopping channel. Stay away from malls.
Sign 2: Your credit card bill is so unusually huge, it is causing your family to become concerned. Maybe your family is used to you spending a lot – but not this much! If your recent credit card bills have become much larger than what your family is used to seeing, if you find yourself being questioned for your spending because it is larger than it used to be, then you may have a shopping addiction.
What you can do: Replace your credit card with a debit card to actively limit your spending before you’re completely buried in debt.
If you’re already buried in credit card debt, approach a debt management consultant to help you get out of the hole you’ve dug yourself into. Don’t think it’s a waste of money. It may in fact be the wisest thing you’ve spent money on in the past few months.
Sign 3: You find that shopping is the only thing that makes you happy. This is one of the most definite and dangerous signs of shopping addiction: You can’t distract yourself with sports and friends and other activities because all those other things fail to satisfy you. Nothing feeds your hunger except shopping. When you’re not spending money, you feel depressed.
What you can do: If you reach this point where only shopping makes you happy, you are not just dealing with an addiction; you are probably dealing with depression as well. At this point, you should definitely get professional help as soon as you can. Your doctor could be a source of help. Treat your depression, and control your addiction as well.