Are You a Shopping Addict?

Odds are that there are a lot more shopping addicts out there than many realize. The society we live in tends to glamorize materialism and keeping up with the Joneses (whoever they are), so that we all look shiny on the outside. The problem with shopping addiction, as just like any addiction, it can end up wreaking havoc internally and externally and you can certainly hit rock bottom.

Compulsive or addictive shopping occurs when you shop excessively, inappropriately, and out of control. You cannot control your impulses and it can cause you emotional and mental distress over time. Your obsessive thoughts keep you going until you can no longer control yourself and then you have to go shopping. It’s really a lot like other addictions in the way you base your life around it.

Shopping to feel better

Shopping addiction can begin by going shopping when you begin to feel a negative emotion like sadness or anger. You feel the feeling and then figure that you’ll feel better if you go shop for something you want. The shopping experience helps you get your mind off of what is troubling you and oftentimes you do feel happier after you’ve bought some items that you desired. The shopping behavior you use to try to help you feel better; to cope. This cycle can continue and become an addiction.

How can you tell if you’re a shopping addict?

There are some signs of shopping addiction that you can familiarize yourself with. Here are several:

You spend more than you want. Now don’t get me wrong. We all spend more money than we want to at times, but someone who is addicted to shopping will spend much more than they want and more often. We might go over a little, but an addict may go 5 times of over their budget and do this every weekend.

Buying compulsively. If you buy things compulsively, even though you don’t need the items, you could be a shopping addict.

You cannot stop shopping. Have you ever told yourself, “This is the last time I’m shopping for a while” and then found yourself back out the next weekend shopping? With money you didn’t budget for shopping? When you are aware that you shop more than you want to, it’s a good sign you’re addicted. You may even have negative consequences (credit card debt, angry spouse, etc.), yet you continue to shop anyway.

You hide your receipts. If you’re hiding your receipts from others, you may have a shopping problem. You don’t want to have to justify your purchases or feel guilty for shopping again.

You don’t have enough money for other bills. If you are out there shopping for items you don’t really need and don’t have money for food, rent, or others bills, you could have an addiction.

You’re miserable and only find shopping helps you feel better. Have you ever seen the show Hoarders? These people have a shopping addiction, as well as some other issues. Things pacify, but do not satisfy, so if you are shopping to try to feel lasting fulfillment, it just won’t happen.

Be honest with yourself when you look over this list. Do you shop more than you should? Do you feel you might have a problem? If so, reach out for some help. You want to get to the root of why you feel that shopping helps you feel better, because really it doesn’t. Dig deep and contend with the addiction, so you can live a life happy and free from addiction.
  • 28 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • I’ve never reached addiction proportions, but I know I have a bit of a comfort-shopping habit. It’s something I try to keep an eye on, especially as it goes against my minimalist lifestyle preferences. I also tend to experience buyer’s remorse so that’s a good deterrent, haha! But yeah, it’s a tendency I need to watch.
  • i think i would be a shopping addict if I could afford it. When I see something that I decide I can.t live without, regardless of how useless it is, I obsess over wanting it. Luckily, I don't have the money to ever buy any of it.
  • I do have a shopping addiction but I am fine with it and it's just a part of my life. I don't buy expensive things or things I don't really love, and I always return things if I get them home and they aren't perfect. I can also spend a day shopping without buying anything and I am just as happy. For me it is almost like a form of meditation, I am so in the moment looking at clothes or household items, that it is a relaxing, stress relieving activity for me. Also in a way it is like an artistic activity for me, finding things of certain colors and textures, etc., to match with what I have. 
  • if you aren't hoarding the stuff you buy, or losing your house because you spent the money on stuff, is it really harmful at also?
  • While I've never really been that interested in shopping myself, I think the original post is right when it says that a lot of people are addicted to it, more than what we would imagine.

    I'm sure we've all heard the term retail therapy, and I know a lot of people that will go and splash the cash on something they don't really need, just make themselves feel better.

  • I treat myself to a shopping spree once in a while, probably twice a month. It's one way of rewarding yourself for working hard. But yeah, we are striving for money every single day, so I think we should know how to spend them wisely, and it's better to save some of them for the future.

  • I love shopping but I don't see myself as an addict. (*in denial) Haha! Seriously. I only shop when it's on sale. I only
    shop for things that I need. I have not yet experienced or going thru some of the symptoms posted here. But I sometimes
    tend to buy compulsively when buying things for the kids.
  • I think my sister is a shopping addict, the last thing I heard from her is that she had some really serious debts.  She organized parties with her husband every weekend, just to keep up with the johnsons!   They just wanted to impress their rich friends, but bummer they aren't rich like their friends, so they shouldn't be offering those parties so often! 

    As for me, I'm trying to save for something really important (my surgery), but form time to time I like to pamper myself by buying myself something nice, like a new lip stick or a new nail polish. I think I can control myself pretty well :) 
  • I think for a while I was, to a degree - I tried to get joy from buying things. If I was lonely, I'd shop. If I was sad, I'd get the picture. It was just another void filler, in the same way that alcohol had been for me. It was about realizing that things weren't going to give me anything more than a temporary high, until the thrill wore off and the buyers remorse kicked in.
  • I think I would be if I had enough money to go shopping, lol. But in my personal opinion, the only reason you should shop is because you need something. If you go shopping to fill a void or because it makes you happy then it is not a healthy habit to have. Happiness and contentment should never be equated to material things but should be derived from social or spiritual fulfillment.
  • I was worried that I might have become a shopping addict about 10 years ago. I lived right by a local mall, so I would often go there after work just to walk around and browse the stores for anything new or interesting. It seemed harmless at first, since I was just getting out of my apartment and getting some exercise walking around instead of sitting in front of a computer all day long. But I did end up getting carried away with shopping in the process.

    I was going out a lot, usually several times a week, out to dinner or to bars with my boss and some mutual friends of ours. Because I was going out so often, I was getting paranoid about being seen wearing the same things all the time, so I was constantly buying new clothes each week until my closets became so full I had to start giving stuff away.

    Similarly I also got hooked on colognes, and had like 40-50 different bottles of them at one point. Everytime something new came out, I had to try it out. I would often get bored of the colognes I had, and stop using them after a few times, only to buy several more new ones.

    The thing that finally broke me of this shopping addiction was when I took a new job about an hour and a half away and had to start commuting each day. I was so exhausted by the time I got home, I would seldom go out to the mall any more. Additionally, this was around the time that gas started going through the roof, so I had less disposable income to blow on things.
  • If anyone has been on Amazon and completely lost their mind about the great deals being offered, then you my friend are a shopping addict. LoL! I can definitely say that Amazon is my number one visited website of all time. I can;t get enough of it. They even sell canned food items. Hahaha! How awesome is that?!
  • sometimes, when I have some money on my paypal and I feel bored, I just go to ebay or amazon and buy stupid stuff, I don't know if this is an addiction but I been trying to stop this bad habbit because it's just waste of time and money !
  • I think my girlfriend has a small shopping addiction, I always see her online shopping. It makes me worry about the long term. Sometimes I wonder how I could bring it up, but sometimes I feel like it's better to not mention it. She seems to get way to much joy out of it, I would feel bad to ruin that. It's all concerning.
  • Well, at an earlier point in my life I was addicted to purchasing music CD's. This was way back when compact discs were a thing. I would visit anything from 3-5 music stores during a Friday or Saturday and pick up all the singles, albums and remix albums I could afford. My collection of music became so large that I ran out of shelf space. Fortunately, as I grew older and matured my purchasing habits also became far more conservative. 
  • I've seen some stories featuring shopping addicts in the past and although it seems odd to me that someone couldn't control their shopping habits, on a core level I do understand that they have an addiction. It really is very worrying since even though there is no physical harm like most other addictions, the risk of losing a lot of money is greater and sometimes that can prove to be more difficult to get over.
  • @EgyptEllipsis oh, I hear you about Amazon. I have Amazon Prime and I have a love hate relationship with it. I love the convenience, I hate that it's sometimes too easy to shop. That instant gratification I get when I buy things on there can be dangerous at times.
  • Thankfully, I myself haven't been too attracted to shopping (more like looking at stuff). However, I do know some relatives of mine who appear to love buying stuff that they will barely if ever use. This is problematic when one is on a tighter or less stabler budget. It appears to affect more people than meets the eye.
  • I am proud to say that I am not fascinated or a lover of doing shopping. I only do it if I have the extra money and if it is really important to do so. Let us say that I value the money that I am earning from my hard work. I make it sure that every month after all my bills and miscellaneous expenses at home are paid I will allocate my remaining income to my savings for my emergency funds and future needs. I always believe in the saying...."Just live your life with your income"...
  • Its true there is nothing wrong with shopping for what we need, but where does what we need end? As long as you hang out at the mall, you will always find something that you "need" or "absolutely must have" ....because shops at the malls are designed to subliminally hook you and keep you hooked. What helps to keep my spending under control is realizing that I gave a portion of my time in exchange for that money. I can never get that time back unless I save some of that money for the future. Time is the stuff that life is made of and imagine giving your whole life to a job and having nothing to show for it at the end of your life because you were trying to keep up with the Jones's. You have to work until you drop because you did not save for the future. Pretty sad right.
  • When you spend more than you earn, then I think that you do have a shopping addiction. When you spend more money on clothes and shoes than the necessities like bills and food, then you might be suffering from an addiction. When you spend money for unnecessary things but cannot pay for your child's tuition or necessities, then you might have a problem. The thing is, shopping is okay, when done in moderation. Why not reward yourself after a month long of hardship at work, right? But there has to be a limit. That's where you should draw the line.
  • I am not exactly a shopping addict but there were instances in the past when I shopped more than I could chew despite my original goal to stick to the budget. I'm sure many of us have been through a similar situation. We just want to buy one piece of clothing for a particular events but then we suddenly see a dress that's just so perfect and on sale to boot that we can't help buying it too. I'm no longer prone to such an affliction these days although as far as food is concerned, I kind of act like a shopping addict. To bring me back to earth, I always remind myself of my budget or think about people who are struggling to make ends meet.
  • Shopping addiction is particularly harmful because it drives a person toward valuing things too much. As I read somewhere about this consumer culture once "Things you own end up owning you" . So beware or you will become slaves to your material urges very soon.
  • I can't say I am a shopping addict. However, I have a friend, a very close female friend, who can't seem to stop buying clothes. Every single note of money she gets, she collects, without buying food, for clothes. She says it makes her feel happy, look gorgeous, and get a lot of attention from both women and men. If she is sick and can't go out to a shopping mall, she orders online. It is outrageous, she does not have a space left in her appartment any more for anything. I have kept on tellng her it is an addiction but she refuses to see it that way.
  • I'm afraid that I've turned into a shopping addict, even though I'm probably not the typical person. I need to start fighting this. 
    I feel so sorry for your friend, @mayasupernova . I think that she has some other issues that she should work on, like the need to gain attention. She needs help.
  • Yes I agree. We keep on telling her that her body pays the ultimate price, because she is lacking food, and nutrients. Your body needs to be fed, that is how you get your energy to go on throughout the day. If you buy clothes instead of food, then after some time it will be visible on your health.
  • Man, I'm too poor to be a shopping addict! All addictions can be costly (and not only in money), but shopping is really expensive. I can understand this addiction though, and I wonder if I was in a different situation would I turn this way as well. I don't buy a lot of stuff often, but when I do it's always a pre-planed purchase and a really big deal for me, but I always get that high when buying new stuff. Heh, maybe I should be glad I don't have as much money. 
  • I too get a high of excitement when it comes to shopping and I might become a shopping addict if I had enough money to do so too. I guess a real addict though would find money no matter what it took to get it, not unlike a drug addict. There is a lot of excitement that goes into picking out the perfect thing and then buying it.
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