A Nation Of Shopaholics: 2 Million Aussies Struggling With Shopping Addiction
The Herald Sun reports the worrying statistic above, against the backdrop of exponentially rising personal debt. More and more of our compatriots are beginning to realize, “I have a money spending problem” and “I need to stop spending money”.
People shop – it’s a fact of life. But when does a necessary act and pleasant pastime morph into an addiction? Psychologists compare shopping to an escape from reality, similar to that offered by gambling, alcohol, and illicit drugs.
If it makes you happy, can it be that bad? Affirmative, says The Huffington Post Australia. There can be too much of a good thing. The desire to shop trumps the need to budget. A shopaholic cannot control their spending. They shop and buy in a compulsive manner. On some level, a shopaholic realizes the fleeting pleasure will soon give way to regret and financial issues, but they just don’t know how to stop spending money.
“Win or lose, we go shopping after the election” – Imelda Marcos
Oniomania or compulsive shopping is a bit tricky because it is a socially acceptable mode of behaviour. We are bombarded by ads trying to convince us how happy buying something will make us.
Many experts disagree that habitual overspending is an addiction. For something to qualify as an addiction, it needs to involve a psychoactive substance that causes symptoms, such as withdrawal. Oniomania has yet to be entered in the diagnostics manual of diseases, not least because of disagreement on how to classify it.
A typical symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder can be spending money. Excessive spending and depression are directly linked, with one giving way to the other and vice versa, like two sides of the same coin. Some specialists categorize shopping addiction as an impulse control disorder like compulsive stealing. Others classify it as a behavioural addiction similar to gambling.
How to Quit Shopping: Think About How You Started
Maladaptive shopping patterns begin to form in one’s late teens or early adulthood. The transition to shopaholic often runs parallel to the development of other disorders, including eating disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, personality disorders, or substance use disorders.
Consumerism has become the epitome of modern life, but shopping addiction is not a recent phenomenon by any means. Since it was diagnosed, we’ve begun to unravel its mechanisms. Excessive, impulsive spending produces a temporary high. By the time the item ordered arrives, many shopaholics already feel unhappy with it. It’s almost as if one is doomed to relive this over and over because they just don’t know how to stop being compulsive.
5 Reasons People Get Addicted to Online Shopping
“When you’re shopping you forget about eating!” – Jennifer Hudson
Shopping addiction gives a person an excuse to put off addressing pertinent issues in their life, such as getting out of a bad relationship or looking for a new job.
Shopping stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, bringing about sensations of joy and happiness.
A shopaholic attains social acceptance and with it, a perceived (not real) sense of accomplishment.
Shopping can improve (temporarily) one’s self-confidence, self-esteem, and even sense of self-worth. It makes up for something that is missing in your life.
Need to Possess
Shopping addicts have a pressing need to possess certain items. They feel that if they don’t get the item they want now, they’ll never get it and miss out.
The Neural Pathways of Shopping Addiction
Do I Need Shopping Therapy?
Specialists believe people who have problems with shopping could benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy. It works by engaging the prefrontal cortex, the most “advanced” part of the brain that’s responsible for strategic thought and planning, to help the shopaholic begin to exert more control over their behaviour.
Even with therapy, online shopping addiction can be difficult to overcome because triggers are everywhere. Additional measures need to be taken, such as blocking problematic websites.
How to Curb Spending? We Don’t Ask Ourselves at First
Shopping addiction can have devastating financial and emotional consequences. The potential for addiction is there when purchases are made for emotional and not pragmatic reasons. You buy something because you want it, not because you need it.
You may be addicted to online shopping if you get upset when something prevents you from making a purchase, such as an interrupted Internet connection or another technical issue.
How to curb spending is not an issue that concerns you, at least initially, because shopping is the only thing that makes you feel good.
“My husband and I are doing a workshop. He works and I shop” – Unknown
With time, shopping can start causing problems. The bills start piling up, creditors are after you, you’re asking friends and relatives for loans, arguing about shopping with your husband or wife, or falling behind at work because you spend most of your time in the office browsing through online stores. Before you know it, shopping has consumed your life. You’re talking and thinking about shopping all the time. You have stopped using the Internet for any other reason. You have no other pastimes or hobbies anymore.
Eventually, shopping takes control of your life. You can’t stop yourself from pressing the “buy” button. You have no power to keep your buying urges in check. You want to stop shopping and spending, but you can’t. You keep buying things you don’t need or in much bigger quantities than those needed. You know you can’t afford it, but you keep doing it.
Tips to Stop Spending Money
How to control your money spending? It’s important to have a strategy. The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to get started. One of these is getting a budgeting app to track your expenses. Here are some more:
When you feel down, know there are alternatives to browsing through online stores. Get up and away from the computer. Go for a walk in the park or to the gym.
Set a period of time, over which you promise yourself not to visit any online stores. This could be 10 days or 3 weeks.
Keep track of how much money you’re spending. Check your bank statements regularly.
Set a financial goal – it should be something that you really want. Concentrate on this when you feel the urge to go shopping.
Use your free time to go through your wardrobe. Sell clothes that you don’t wear or need.
How to Stop Being a Shopaholic for Good
“If it doesn’t make you feel fabulous: don’t do it, don’t buy it, don’t keep it” – lizkzook.wordpress.com Before you buy something online, ask yourself why you’re shopping at all. How do you feel right now? How are you going to pay for the item you need? Do you really need it or do you just want it? Where will you put it when it arrives? These questions may lead you to reconsider an impulsive or compulsive buy.
Some other things you could try
Find out why you’ve been online so much. Is it because you feel lonely? Does buying something online calm you down after a row?
Freeze your credit cards, or outright cancel them. Don’t go window shopping or into physical stores.
When you do go shopping, take someone with you who knows about your problems and is able to spend money rationally. Make sure you can tell the difference between needing and wanting something.
Look at how much you spent on the items you most recently bought. See how much you would have saved if you had purchased only the ones you needed.
You’re probably subscribed to hundreds of online store newsletters. Unsubscribe from all of them. Now.
Invest in positive, constructive activities that you enjoy. Spend time with family or friends or join a yoga or pilates group.
If you’re struggling a lot, join a support group or talk to a financial counsellor or debt advisory consultant.
Shopaholic No More
To put shopping addiction behind you once and for all, think about where you want to be 5 or 10 years from now. What will you be doing? Consider whether your current way of life will get you there. Setting long-term financial goals will lead you to potentially spend less and save more.
Nobody ever regretted curbing a shopping addiction – it turned their lives into a nightmare. Putting an end to the addiction will help improve not only your financial circumstances, but also your personal, professional, and social life.
While you’re dealing with a shopping addiction, get a family member to shop for food and other basic household stuff. Always keep only a small amount of emergency cash on you to avoid impulse purchases. It’s also a good idea to shop with people who are not compulsive spenders because they can help you limit your expenses.
Finally, finding healthy, alternative ways to spend your free time is crucial to breaking the vicious cycle of shopping online to improve your self-esteem. And…it’s still OK to reward yourself with small purchases every now and then.
A Nifty Way to Curb Spending
In times of financial dearth, nobody wants to keep spiralling into debt, so committing to a long-term loan obligation is out of the question. If your savings have been depleted by impulse online purchases, it can take just a few hundred dollars to get by. Help is there when you need it. Check out Niftys emergency funding post.
Nifty Loans is not just another Australian fast lender. What makes us different? Our customers’ financial safety and peace of mind are our top priorities. Apply for a quick approval loan with us now. We’ll make sure you can afford to repay it. We provide full loan details up front and never force unacceptable terms on our customers. In fact, we ask all our borrowers to read their loan contracts very carefully and ask questions.
All you need to apply for a loan with us is regular income, to be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, and be 18 or over. We notify applicants of our decisions as soon as possible, saving them time, worries, and – above all – money.
Credit criteria and terms and conditions apply. Representative example: based on a loan of $10,000 over 36 months a borrower with an excellent credit history can expect to pay a total of $12,389.76. WARNING: This comparison rate is valid only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate with the lender that finances your loan. Interest rates vary subject to a full credit assessment. This represents a comparison rate of 14.49% p.a. and includes all interest and fees included in your loan repayments over the life of your loan. For our personal loan product the APR starts from a minimum of 11.42% (14.49% comparison rate) with a maximum of 21.24% (45.56% comparison rate). The minimum loan term is 9 months and the maximum loan term is 24 months. For more details and examples visit our rates and fees page.