Are You Addicted to Spending? How to Overcome Compulsive Shopping

Have you heard of someone who is addicted to spending money or rather someone who is usually involved in compulsive shopping? A spending addict, to put it simply.

If you have not encountered such a scenario before, I know you might be wondering how someone would develop an addiction to spending money.

Spending addiction or shopping addiction is something that exists, and there are several people struggling with it.

All kinds of addictions are characterized by loss of control, obsession, compulsion and consistent use when facing negative consequences. 

People could get addicted to substances, activities or behaviors. 

These activities or behaviors could be normal, everyday habits like going for shopping or eating hence making it harder to identify them as an addiction problem.

When you are addicted to spending money, you will be impulsive in the way you shop and spend as much as you can to get what you want. 

You may at times even buy things you do not need and may never use at any given time. 

It is often believed that more women have this problem compared to men, although statistics show that men and women are similarly affected with spending addiction.

When someone is addicted to spending, he/she pays whatever is needed to get what they want. 

Since there is heavy use and ease in getting credit cards, people with spending money addiction hold the thought that it is possible and okay to keep going on for good. 

When spending money on all things you want, it is like you don’t have control. 

Most of the time, what is bought in regards to compulsive shopping is not even important or necessary. 

This kind of spending behavior could easily lead to bankruptcy.

Read: How to Save Money Live Better

Addicted to Spending

Are you Addicted to Spending?

Some of the basic habits and feelings that seem to be domineering when you are addicted to spending include:

  • Purchasing more items to feel equally satisfied as you did the last time you bought a particular item. 
  • Having a sense of extreme joy while spending money.
  • Feeling embarrassed, guilty or confused after shopping or spending money.
  • Generally spending more money than you can afford.
  • Often spending time shopping instead of with family, friends or on work.
  • Using shopping to boost one’s mood.
  • Buying a lot that it affects your well-being.
  • Feeling irritable or agitated when not able to shop.
  • Being unable to reduce on shopping, even when one tries to do so.
  • Hiding items you have bought or the receipts and lying about your purchases.
  • Buying so much to the point you are left unable to meet daily responsibilities like school.
  • Feeling unstable and lost without credit cards or a checkbook.
  • Always obsessing about shopping. 
  • Spending unusual amounts of time and money buying in catalogs, on the Internet, or other shopping channels.

Since I have now outlined the signs to look out for to know whether you are addicted to spending, I can now move to aspects that trigger compulsive shopping. 

Causes of Compulsive Shopping

Compulsive shopping causes are majorly psychological. 

A person basically has feelings of depression, loneliness, spending money to handle stress, and feels uncontrollable in a certain area. 

This spending addiction is a clear sign that one has deep-rooted feelings they are trying to avoid dealing with. 

Here, the addict uses shopping to help tackle those troubling feelings temporarily.

You become addicted to spending as you try to numb those feelings.

These feelings may include:

  • Seeking of excitement
  • Legitimately compulsive and impulsive.
  • Not being able to tolerate negative emotions/feelings.
  • Perfectionism
  • Childhood emotional deprivation
  • Seeking approval
  • The need to feel an inner void, more of an inside longing.
  • Need for gaining control.

These are things that don’t seem very detrimental at face value, but they can easily instigate the onset of your compulsive shopping disorder. 

Shopping Addiction Long-term and Short-term Effects  

In the short term, being addicted to spending could appear and feel positive.

Many times, you may feel excited after ending a shopping trip. Such feelings, however are normally mixed with guilt or anxiety, mainly resulting in the desire of wanting to return to the store and purchase more.

In the long-term, the effects of a shopping addiction could be different in terms of scope and intensity.

The majority of people that are addicted to spending have financial problems and could end up being overwhelmed with debt.

 There are cases where they may simply max out their credit cards, while in other cases, they would go for a second mortgage on their home or charge purchases to their business credit card.

Your personal and social relationships may also be affected when you are addicted to spending or shopping.

Compulsive shopping could even lead to divorce or distancing yourself from children, parents and other loved ones.

Read: How Much to Spend on Engagement Ring

How to Stop Shopping Addiction

Are you addicted to spending?

Don’t worry since there are strategies you can use to get rid of your compulsive shopping behavior.

From personal experience and conversations I have had with other people, there are seven good strategies you can use to tackle a compulsive shopping addiction. They are strategies that can guide you on how to stop shopping addiction.

1.Track every amount you spend

As a spending addict, it is possible that you do not even know how much you are spending. 

For instance, in my personal experience, when I allowed my emotions to control my financial life, I did not know the number of books I was purchasing. 

But as soon as I began tracking every dollar I earned and used, I became more aware of my spending patterns.

 When you learn your spending patterns, you get the ability to act on them. 

2. Try to avoid temptation 

When you are addicted to spending, among the best ways to avoid spending is by avoiding situations that tempt you to indulge in spending. 

For instance, if you are always buying books, then keep yourself from Amazon and other bookstores.

Stay away from places you often spend, mainly when going through emotional stress.

3. Only carry cash  

Avoid using your debit card or checkbook if you are a spending addict.  

The purpose of this is to cause financial inconvenience on your side. 

If you are a big spender, you should purpose to break the habit, and this will require some sacrifices. 

When you use cash, it constantly reminds you that you are using real money. This is different when you are using plastic money since it might not feel as if it’s your money you are using.

4. Keep your larger goals in mind 

Get into the habit of asking yourself whether what you want will help you achieve your larger goals at all times.

When your larger goals are not very clear to you, you will see no need to save money and will mostly end up spending aimlessly. 

You can start by drafting your personal mission statement so as to have a proper perspective.

5. Destroy your credit cards 

If you are addicted to spending, consider destroying your credit cards so as to help you handle your desire for compulsive shopping.

 Avoid making excuses, and do not write down the account numbers somewhere in case you need them. You should not justify keeping them with the objective to better your credit score. 

If credit cards motivate you to spend, it will do you good not having them. 

When you have figured how to stop compulsive shopping, you will get new cards.

compulsive shopping


6. Practice some mind games

 There are people who don’t find money to be an emotional issue. 

 It is possible for such people to make good choices, and they are not tempted otherwise. 

They are very lucky because it is not the case with most people.

 If you find money as an emotional issue and are addicted to spending, you should find ways of playing tricks on yourself. 

You could, for instance, train yourself to use the 30-day rule, whereby when you see something you wish to buy, you do not buy it but instead note it down on a 30 days calendar. 

If you still want it after a month, then you can proceed to buy it.

You will discover that with this, you will avoid spending on many purchases that you don’t actually need.

This is something that will be of significant help if you are addicted to spending. 

Read: 52 Week Money Challenge: Savings Plan

7. Seek help

 If you find it hard to manage your spending addiction, do not be afraid to seek help. You could approach a family member or a close friend and ask for help in dealing with the spending addiction. 

You may even seek professional help and be ready to go through the process of getting help faithfully and positively.

Spending money addiction is an addiction like any other, so you can easily seek addiction counseling when you are ready. 

In conclusion, there are many people who are addicted to spending money. This is something that can happen to anyone.

As a result, it is not something that you should feel ashamed of. In case you realize that you’re prone to compulsive shopping or spending, the first step is to accept that you have a problem.

Just like any other addict, spending addict has to first accept that they have the problem for them to start finding a solution. 

If you are addicted to spending, this will be your first step to overcoming the addiction.  

Leave a Comment