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How to Fix Your Shopping Problem: 7 Telltale Indicators

How to Fix Your Shopping Problem: 7 Telltale Indicators

I used to have a shopping issue when I was younger. In fact, even though I’ve never had a shopping addiction officially diagnosed, I like to think of myself as a reformed shopaholic. I’m not sure what it takes to earn the “official” label, but I am aware of the profoundly detrimental effects my purchasing habits had on my life. Also, I am aware that I was unable to stop shopping, which suffices for me to state that it was a problem.

But consider this. For years, I was unaware that I was out of control, and I don’t believe I’m the only one. Because mindless buying is accepted in our culture, it’s simple for many individuals to ignore. We all enjoy a little “retail therapy” now and then, right? How do you draw the line, though? If you’ve ever considered this, read on for seven typical symptoms of shopping addiction and what you can do about them.

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Is a Shopping Addiction a Genuine Issue?

Shopping addiction, pathological buying, oniomania, and compulsive buying disorder are some of the labels given to this condition by psychologists. All of these phrases imply that a person’s buying preferences control their daily activities. But is it the same as a physical addiction like those to drugs or alcohol that some people experience? Truthfully, I’m not sure. I’m not a professional; I’m just offering you my perspective as someone who has traveled this route.

Yet I am aware that the effects of compulsive buying can have a negative impact on your life and have serious repercussions. It can be damaging in many ways, isolate you and make you feel ashamed. So, sure, I agree that it is a real issue that requires attention.

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How Can I Tell Whether I Have a Problem with Shopping?

Shopping is frequently a coping mechanism for underlying concerns, just like many addictions. I can attest to this. I utilized shopping for shoes, purses, and clothing for more than ten years to take my mind off my fears and unsatisfying relationships. Overall, I was unhappy with my life and desired a change, but I lacked the courage to make a change. I went shopping instead, and while I wasn’t shopping, I was thinking about it.

I pondered how my new items might improve my life for SO long. Just consider what I could have accomplished if I had invested that time and money in meaningful change-making activities. Sadly, though, I didn’t. Instead, I overspent my means, constantly anticipating that a tax refund or sizable commission check would come to my rescue. Even though I didn’t always enjoy shopping (which is one of the warning signs I’ll discuss later), I clung to the idea that I was “Jen the Shopper” and ignored those red flags.

Such indications merit your attention. I’ve gained so much from overcoming my shopping issue. Living a life not controlled by shopping begins with becoming aware of them and learning how to stop them.

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1. Your memory of purchases fades quickly

The majority of psychologists concur that the transaction is what starts the adrenaline surge (also known as the “shopper’s high”) during the shopping experience. Whereas a regular shopper will be content to take an item home and use it, shopaholics become addicted to the repeated purchase.

Forgetting what you’ve bought can be a sign that something is wrong. When items from online orders that you entirely forgot about show up at your door, your closet is overflowing with unworn clothing, or you have items lying around the house unopened or in their packaging, it may be an indication that you have a shopping addiction.

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2. A bad experience makes you want to go shopping

Shopping’s high is genuine—so genuine that I utilized it to momentarily mask emotions of low self-worth, exhaustion, and uncertainty. Shopping served as a coping mechanism for me whenever I felt awful about something.

The issue is that investing on new items doesn’t actually benefit you in any way. It’s only a brief getaway, and the sensation quickly dissipates. The need to shop also comes back when the bad vibes do, and the cycle repeats.

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3. You feel bad or regret after shopping

Recall how I said that I didn’t always feel good after going shopping? That was because I secretly believed that my habits were out of control. I frequently experienced remorse or guilt about my purchases once the shopping high subsided.

I went beyond in an effort to cover up my shame. I developed a complete persona around my love of retail therapy and enjoyed spreading my favorite proverb, “You only live once. Purchase the footwear! Yet, it was a complete farce. I utilized my exaggerated love of shopping—like the witty kid at school who uses humor to mask their loneliness—to cover up my fear. To be clear, this is not the same as experiencing buyer’s regret after making an unsuitable present purchase. When the purchase is made, you experience a more intense regret that is virtually impossible to articulate. A indication that you use shopping as an escape and are aware of how it is affecting your life is feeling empty or humiliated after you shop.

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4. You strive to keep your purchasing habits a secret

There are many jokes made about this one, which is a red flag. Yet, it is an indication that shopping is a problem in your life if you feel the need to hide purchases from your spouse, family, or coworkers. Ask yourself why you might need to defend your purchase the next time you want to try to conceal a purchase. Is it the feeling that you’re spending too much money, do you think? Do you have too much stuff in your house? Do you go shopping daily?

If you conceal your purchasing for these reasons (or for any other reason that isn’t a surprise gift! ), even if you don’t feel ashamed about the purchase, you are.

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5. If you don’t go shopping, you get nervous

You may have a shopping problem if you experience itchy feet on days when you don’t shop or if you get nervous about leaving the store empty-handed.

I had a lot of trouble connecting my identity with shopping because of this. If I hadn’t or wasn’t shopping, I felt like I wasn’t myself. Despite the absurdity of it, I also felt like a phony if I went into a store and left empty-handed. I used to go shopping at least five days a week when my addiction was at its worst. When I wasn’t shopping, I was planning my next trip by examining my wardrobe or browsing fashion publications in search of my upcoming buy.

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6. Even if you wanted to quit, you felt as though you can’t

I can still clearly recall the moment I realized my spending was beginning to spiral out of hand. During my recent trip abroad with my pals, I did some figure crunching when I arrived home. It was a significant amount, but I’m still too embarrassed to tell you what it was. What’s worse is that I am aware that my friends saw it. I knew something needed to change because it was embarrassing, but I just couldn’t stop. And I can now see that this was a huge warning sign.

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7. Inability to meet financial objectives

Financial difficulties as a result of shopping might be a sign of a shopping problem, just like with other addictions (perhaps more so). I felt I was okay for a very long time since I didn’t have a lot of debt. Though some months were harder than others, I was almost always able to pay off my credit cards. Yet, things were gradually becoming worse.

In addition to not saving for the future, I also felt imprisoned financially. I wanted to quit my work because I detested it, but I was unable to do so because I needed the income to cover my expenses for shopping.

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