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Tips for Shopping Addicts and Shopaholics

Updated on May 14, 2017
janshares profile image

In addition to addressing anxiety and relationship conflict, Janis helps clients look at how poor money management may affect these issues.

Shopping Addicts Overextend Their Credit Cards

Shopping addicts abuse their credits cards by making their balances higher than they can afford to pay.
Shopping addicts abuse their credits cards by making their balances higher than they can afford to pay. | Source

Shopping Lover, Shopaholic, or Addicted

Which description best fits you as a shopper?

See results

Spending Money Gives the Shopping Addict a Rush

Shoppers love to shop, especially during the holiday season. They get a rush from the activity of making a purchase. Nothing compares to catching a sale and receiving a deep reduction on the price of an item a shopper really needs.

Regardless of the time of year, the avid shopper can always find a deal. If a shopping addict sees something she wants, even if it's not on sale, she is compelled to have it anyway, at all costs.

This is the life of a shopping addict or "shopaholic." She sees what she wants, buys it, and eventually begins to wonder if her insatiable need for a weekly trip to the mall or daily visits to online shopping sites is a serious problem. Her shopping activities for the most part, are kept secret, as she becomes concerned about engaging in compulsive, addictive behaviors. Holiday time just gives the shopaholic another reason to feed the addiction.

To understand the psyche of the addicted shopper, read the poem below, describing what some may view as a real problem. "Shopping Spree" is a lighthearted look at what it feels like to have a shopping addiction.

Shopping Addiction Fantasy: High-Heeled Red Pumps

Women love to purchase a nice set of pumps.
Women love to purchase a nice set of pumps. | Source

Perfumes are a Favorite Addiction of the Shopaholic

Expensive scents make for decadent purchases.
Expensive scents make for decadent purchases. | Source

Shopping Addiction Ballad


"Shopping Spree" (JLE1994)


I really love to shop

It energizes me

Like flowers bathing in the sun

I bloom brilliantly


Like the taste of lemonade

Followed by a sigh

I feel relieved instantly

On my natural high


Spending lots of money

No matter how recklessly

Relieves my tension, not to mention

Sets my spirit free


The rush I get is powerful

It sweeps me off my feet

Revolving doors of department stores

Begin my whirlwind treat


The purchase doesn't matter

I need just have a bag

Leaving a mall with nothing at all

Really is a drag


SALE and CLEARANCE signs

Bombard my peripheral vision

Shoes, bags, and jewelry, too

Stimulate my shopping mission


The feel of silk and merino wool

Send tingles through my hands

With choices vast and limitless

Designer and name brands


Sales clerk sings, "cash or charge,"

A verse well known to me

I hear it about a dozen times

During my shopping spree


My venture's end is near

Beginning four hours prior

Dismissing thoughts of how I've made

My credit balances higher


With several bags in hand

I am really tired

Back slightly hunched with numbing feet

Two hours ago expired


But it really doesn't matter

I enjoyed myself thoroughly

I'm satisfied and tension-free

Thanks to my shopping spree

Shopping Addicts Cannot Resist Spending a Fortune on a New Handbag

A soft, colorful hand bag is a must on a shopper's mission.
A soft, colorful hand bag is a must on a shopper's mission. | Source

A Lavish Charm Bracelet is a Shopper's Dream Find

A new piece of jewelry completes an afternoon shopping spree.
A new piece of jewelry completes an afternoon shopping spree. | Source

What is Shopping Addiction?

If you're trying to figure out whether or not you have a serious shopping addiction, do a quick self-assessment based on the following criteria:

  • Frequent shopping at stores and on online (at least weekly)
  • Hiding purchases from spouses/family members
  • Following through on compulsions to buy things you don't need
  • Spending more money than you can afford to spend
  • Going into excessive debt with multiple credit cards
  • Finding reasons to justify a purchase ("I deserve to treat myself")
  • Neglecting other financial commitments (rent/mortgage/utilities)
  • Cluttering your home with bags of new purchases (unopened or with price tags)
  • Shopping when you feel upset, angry, or depressed
  • Feeling guilty and out of control over your ability to limit spending
  • Minimizing the problem despite a pattern that has worsened over time

A Solution to Your Spending Problem

If you've been honest with yourself, you've probably surmised by now that you have a spending problem. How often does it feel like you're riding a roller coaster blindfolded when it comes to striking a balance between your spending habits and your payment of bills?

In our society where much emphasis is placed on money, status, credit, image, competition, assets, and ownership, consumers make a lot of purchases to live out these descriptors of success. We wrestle to find answers to why these things become so important to us as we become addicted to the attainment of "things" to define us. The answers cannot be found in how much we have in our wallets, our closets, nor our bank accounts.

The answer lies in this tucked away little place called the "Internal Money Pit." The Internal Money Pit is a deep abyss hidden within us needing to be filled periodically with all the treasures money can buy, and all the status, comfort, security, and gratification these treasures represent.

The problem with the Internal Money Pit is it never gets filled. By the time the comfort gained by the purchases wears off, the emptiness returns and has to be refilled, again, and again.

Repairing the Bottomless "Internal Money Pit"

The solution to your money problems lies first in the examination of your Internal Money Pit. That means taking a closer look at what needs are met and what void is filled when you spend money. This exercise in self-exploration includes looking at the influences of family history and dynamics, life experiences, and past relationships.

It further entails deeper examination of the messages you received about the value of money as far back as childhood and how that conditioning has affected your spending behaviors and relationship with money.

Within that context, you will need to explore (preferably with a counselor) the ways in which external responsibilities (bills, mortgage, car payments) are sacrificed for internal comfort, causing financial instability, and what stressors cause these cycles to repeat.

Once you identify and remove those damaging cycles, you can finally fill the voids with what you may really long for, i.e., a sense of wholeness, self-worth, dignity, self-respect, control over you spending, and ultimately, your life.


Janis Leslie Evans, M.Ed., N.C.C., L.P.C. is a licensed counselor in the Washington, DC area.

Prioritze Your Spending: Wants Versus Needs

Wants
Needs
expensive jewelry
watch replacement
trendy clothing
winter coat or suit
weekly manicure and pedicure
monthly manicure or pedicure
designer pumps
classic pump or winter boots
the latest ipad
a practical cell or tablet
eating out frequently
groceries
Sort out which items are most practical and affordable as you prioritize your spending.

Are you a Shopaholic?

© 2013 Janis Leslie Evans

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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      I think many of us are on the brink of shopaholic but after watching that video we're certainly not there. Your poem says it well and this hub should be an eye-opener for some.

      Needs should always come before wants!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you for those insightful comments, tillsontitan. I appreciate the votes, too.

    • Carola Finch profile image

      Carola Finch 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wish I had the money to shop, period. When I do get some extra money, however, it goes really fast! Guess we need to strive for balance. There are so many people with needs around us, and we should focus on helping them if we can instead of our wants.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I think to a small degree I can see how you could get a thrill from shopping. On the rare occasions that I can purchase something new it is very uplifting. I think though I appreciate it because I so rarely am able to do so. I live on a very meager income and simply cannot buy stuff.

      I have a family member who shops a lot. I don't think she is at an addiction level, but she sure loves it and does it often. Nice transparent article.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Love your perspective the excesses that keep us from service to others. Thanks for stopping by and reading this one, Carola Finch.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you, lambservant, for those comments. Glad you liked the article.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      haha loved your ballad, so true for many! I have gotten to the point of just shopping for what I need, except when it comes to my grands, I cannot help myself. I will see something that I know they will love, and have to get it, within reason of course.

      Excellent article

      Up and more and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Nice informative hub, a bit worrying though. i think my wife is on the verge of being a shopaholic..haha. Nice ballad too. I hate shopping, and even have to be urged to buy things I really need. I'd rather make sure the bills are paid first, and see if there is anything left. Voted up.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Ha ha, yes Faith, I bet the grandkids always win. :-) Thanks for reading, voting, and sharing this hub.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Your article is timely and causes self-examination. I especially appreciate the chart showing needs versus wants. I think it is really unreasonable for someone who doesn't have the money to become a shopping addict; but addiction could be a mental disorder and require help. You gave wise counsel.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks, Jodah. You should have your wife read it. Oh but then she will see your comment and my reply. Nevermind! Thanks for stopping by and for your vote.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      I'm so pleased you like this hub, MsDora. I appreciate your critique. It is true that someone who's addicted is not capable of reason, especially when they're in the moment.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Nice post. Maybe there is a depression part of this and also a stress issue. Shopping to relieve anxiety might be included. I've treated many types of addictions, and they all have that high the momentarily sweeps a person out of their everyday reality. They are also all progressive--getting worse and worse. The shopping habit is hard to break because it is so publicly acceptable. "Go shopping and move on as if nothing happened," President Bush told us after the 9/11 attack.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Hello Dr Billy Kidd and thanks for your visit. Your comments mean a lot as you understand the nature of addictions and have treated many. Thank you for taking the time to read my work and offer validating comments.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Love the poem!

      And, with all honesty...I used to be one "shopaholic" but I think I've passed that stage already or as my daughter tells me, "SOA" (sign of old age) because I cannot stand the crowd at the mall anymore. Now, I only go if it is necessary and buy what I need unlike in my younger years. :)

      However, I enjoyed reading this janshares and thank you for the education. Will certainly be passing it along.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Hi there, CrisSp! So glad you liked the poem. I appreciate those comments about how you've transitioned from shopaholic to "soa." Lol! Thank you for visiting and taking the time to read and share this hub.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Great hub! My hubby and I have decided to not buy anything we don't need...and guess what...we really don't need much! It is very freeing to be getting rid of stuff and finding more lasting and important things in life...like experiences and time. Great hub!

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Good for you, Sheri Faye. Both of you are on the right track. Thank you for visiting this hub, glad you liked it.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

      A childhood friend had a serious shopping addiction, and then it turned out she also suffered from bipolar disorder. It does lead to a destructive cycle that only brings pain to the sufferer and their family. I hope this information helps many who are suffering from similar issues.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Me too, vespawoolf. Thank you for stopping by and reading this one. Very important subject.

    • VioletteRose profile image

      VioletteRose 3 years ago from Chicago

      These are great tips, thanks for sharing!

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      You're welcome, VioletteRose. Thanks for reading!

    • kerlund74 profile image

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Important for a lot of us to read. I shop a lot, but I always pays my bills. Could need a bit savings as well and that's my issue. I think one shop to get the short kick like when you exercise, drink, eat sweets or whatever. Something is missing and we try to fill it. Worth looking at:)

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      You're right, kerlund74, we try to fill what's missing. Thank you so much for reading, hope it was helpful.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 3 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Janshares, We all need a reality check - very helpful hub. My grandmother rest her soul would always say we couldn't wear more than one dress at time anyway - right?! :)

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      So right, GmaGoldie. Thank you for reading this hub. I really appreciate the visit, follow, and fanmail. :)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Janshares, I wonder if our society with its shallow values has triggered this need to fill our closets and homes with unnecessary purchases. I see these people in the stores, with their shopping carts overflowing and as a guess, would imagine they can't really pay for all that stuff with their weekly paycheck. Accumulated debt for unneeded purchases is not going to fill the emptiness they have inside. You've explained that beautifully with your clever poem.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      PegCole17, you've summarized the message of this hub beautifully. Thank you for that comment, glad you liked the poem. I appreciate the visit from you very much. Thanks.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      jan.....Great work! I am far from a shopping addict. Quite the contrary and it's no secret. .....but girlfriend.....I AM buying those RED PUMPS!!!

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      LOL, LOL, LOL!!! Paula, you have me cracking up. Thanks for the comment. They do look good, don't they? I think they'll be stunning for the fall season. I think I'll go shoe shopping this weekend, thanks to you, girl! I appreciate your visit. :-)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      jan.....Don't forget the black slinky dress, silver jewelry, matching red bag......and the HAT...Have to have a sexy fascinator....tipped to the right.

      Oh...eat your heart out Scarlett Johansen!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i hated shopping because I am not allowed to spend money on the stuff i wanted. I don't have cash nor credit cards, all the money is under my hubby control, even the grocery shopping !

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      Oh no, peachpurple, that's no fun. I hope it gets better. Thanks for stopping by to read ans comment.

    • allamazingstuff profile image

      allamazingstuff 2 years ago

      wow peachpurple, that's not nice! try to find a way to make some money for yourself so you won't be so dependent.

      I try and save a lot of money cooking all the meals at home! This week I spent about £30 for groceries for 2 people. that would have been only 1 dinner out or maybe 2 nights take away.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      Good money management, allamazingstuff. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Enjoyed reading this hub, loved the poem, so nicely said and very true everything went together well, you are very good at writing poems.

      I hate shopping, living in the country it works well as I only go to town when I really need something and most times it is only groceries.

      Tweeted, wishing you all the best.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      Elsie, I appreciate your visit, glad you enjoyed this hub and the poem. You have built-in controls living far away from shopping temptations. :) Thank you so much for tweeting, I wish you the best as well.

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