Did you know that about 2% of people have a spending addiction. That doesn’t seem very many you might say to yourself, well I did anyway. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry uncontrolled spending has its consequences of debt, lying to spouse and to family, mood swings, low self esteem, massive guilt and more, which can be just as devastating as being addicted to drugs or alcohol.
See if your spending is safe or sinister. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Do you suffer from a shopping hangover, suffer remorse the next day or by the time you get home, on the way home?
2. Are you constantly visiting the ATM machine because you are short on cash or borrowing money for the necessary items like FOOD?
3. Do most of your purchases lie in the back of the wardrobe, unused and with the labels still on?
4. Do you shop because you think you deserve it or are stressed or feeling lonely or depressed?
5. Do you shop for a new outfit every time you are going to a function, because you think what you have is not good enough?
If you answer yes to most of these questions you need to consider:
- Take the time to figure out your feelings. Spending addiction often masks an inadequacy, pain, feeling hurt by some remark, loneliness. Get some quiet time and soul searching.
- Get a referral to a councilor. From your doctor or Salvation Army or call lifeline. There are many organizations that offer this service. Phone someone you trust, a friend before putting a hand in your purse for the credit card. Explain to them your problem, don’t ignore it. It is very real.
- Break the pattern. Change your behavior by making a plan. Take a look at your spending habits be it online, or at the mall. Studies have shown that most of the online spending is done in the evening. If this your issue then don’t turn the computer on in the evenings. Stay away from it. Have a relaxing bath, play some music, read a book. Is mall shopping your problem, then just stay away. Go to the movies if you have the urge to splurge.
- Only use cash. Compulsive spending expert Dr Ruth Engs says this makes it easier to track your spending. Gives you more control.
Learn the lesson – Regret can be a powerful motivator for change. Think to yourself “What is it that I need to do to change this situation”. If you don’t like the feeling of regret, then you must do different, so you are able to overcome this feeling and regain your power.
Don’t dwell on what might have been – Solves nothing. If you have spent on something you regret, take it back to the shop or if that is not possible ‘live with it’ what is done is done. Make the effort not to be in that powerless situation again.
Boost your mood – Give away one chore you have to do today and use that time for quiet reflection. Re frame the events of the day, take deep breaths and clear your head of negative thoughts.
Look if this is your problem, get some help, take that weight off your shoulders. Float, be self assured and know that you are in control, love your life again.