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7 steps to become financially healthy by overcoming shopping addiction


7 steps to become financially healthy by overcoming shopping addiction
All of us sometimes buy on impulse - that pair of shoes beckoning from behind the display case or new goggles that will add to your fashion statement. Problems arise when the purchases shift from impulsive to compulsive. You are no longer a normal shopper but a shopaholic suffering from compulsive buying disorder, characterized as an impulse disorder, just as binge eating, gambling or substance abuse, which can wreak havoc in your life.

Shopaholics bring a whirlwind of emotional and financial distress to their life by simply overspending. They are so addicted to shopping that they fail to see the grim consequences of their excessive shopping and jeopardize their life. Shopping addiction is not restricted to any gender, nationality or race. It's a universal problem and dangerous one. Before it gets out of control, shopping addiction must be diagnosed at right time to get rid of it.

Effects of shopping addiction

There are many negative consequences of shopping addiction that can be emotional, financial, and physical and otherwise making the addict's life hell. Lower self-esteem, guilt feeling, piles of debts, constant anxiety are the effects of shopping addiction. A shopaholic finds himself or herself always in financial mess due to overspending. And in many cases, loss of relationship is reported to occur due to compulsive buying disorder.

Signs of Shopaholics

Do you many items unopened in your house? Do you often purchase things that you don't need or didn't plan to buy? Do you go for shopping to get over your frustration or depression? Does shopping give you rush of excitement? Do you feel guilty after every purchase you make? Do you hide your shopping habit from your family members? Do you feel out of sorts on days you don't shop? If these characteristics sound a lot like you, you are likely to be a shopaholic. Don't worry. There are simple steps that you can take to change your behavior and beat your shopping addiction


Steps to tackle shopping addiction

1) Accept that you are a shopaholic

The way to deal with a problem starts with first admitting it. Don't fool yourself with bags of readymade lies or stay in denial when consequences of your addiction are quite obvious to others. Once you admit that you are shopaholic, you will be able to get to the roots of problem and can find steps to deal with it.

2) Find ways to spend time productively without shopping

Whenever you have spare time use it for your hobby, learning a new language, reading a book, listening to music, or jogging. Just keep yourself occupied with any activity that makes you happy rather than going for shopping.

3) Identify triggers

Identify those issues that push you to barge into a mall and splurge - be it an argument with your spouse, frustration at your workplace or feeling lonely. When you are overcome with these feelings, fight the urge to shopping and look for some healthier way to work it out.

4) Avoid temptation

Simply stay away from places where you spend your money. Don't visit any malls, stores, or boutiques. If you have a weakness for online shopping, fight the urge to visit your favourite shopping sites and if possible stay offline.

5) Carry only cash

Cut up your credit card immediately. No checkbook or debit card for shopping. Sounds inconvenient? But to curb compulsive spending, you need to make sacrifices. Always carry enough cash to purchase things that are on your list. This will save you from impulse buying.

6) Track your expenditure

Shopaholics generally are not aware of how much they spend; they are just oblivious of their spending. So they overspend. Once you start keeping a track of every rupee you spend, certain patterns you will notice and then you can act on them.

7) Ask for help

Coping with shopping addiction can be tough if you're going it alone. Seek help from your friends and family. Consult a professional and reach out to support groups. And don't be shy in taking psychotherapy if problems seem to be too big

With the above mentioned steps you can break free from compulsive shopping. But it is easier said than done. What you need is a resolve that you are going to overcome the problem. After you are off the shopping addiction, you'll be a different person: free and happy in real sense. And your will be better off financially.

if you want to be completely financially smart, then you need to begin with an end in mind. That is you should decide in the beginning itself, what are all the financial goals, you need to achieve at the end.

The author is Ramalingam K, CFP CM is the Chief Financial Planner at, a leading Financial Planning and Wealth Management company

Story first published: Saturday, January 4, 2014, 8:42 [IST]
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