Are You A Shopaholic? Quiz And Facts On Compulsive Shopping

Shopaholics are compulsive shoppers who suffer from uncontrolled overspending. Take a brief quiz and learn if you are a shopaholic.

Take this Quiz: Are you a compulsive shopper?

True or False? Evaluate the following statements:

1. When I am feeling depressed, I usually go shopping.

2. I spend a lot of money that I do not have on things that I do not need.

3. I get a rush when I make a purchase, but I "crash" soon afterwards.

4. I have closets full of clothes that I have never worn, and countless gadgets that I have never used.

5. I often feel reckless and out of control when I shop.

6. I lie to my friends and family about how much money I spend.

7. Even though I feel very distraught about my debt, I still shop.

8. I feel emotionally upset and disturbed by my own shopping habits.

9. After a big shopping trip, I sometimes feel disoriented and depressed.

10. My shopping has caused problems in my personal relationships in one way or another.

Did you answer "True" for four or more of the above statements? If so, it is possible that you have a real problem with compulsive shopping.

What is compulsive shopping?

Compulsive shoppers, or shopaholics, have in recent years been spotlighted on television programs and women's magazines. They have become topics of conversation in the realm of pop psychology. While the media sometimes uses the term loosely or in an off-handed manner, a true compulsive shopper suffers from a very real, and sometimes very frightening, lack of self-control.

Without a doubt, we live in a very "spend-happy" society. As a whole, we are living above our means and many of us are drowning in debt. Many people, no matter their level of income, view shopping as a hobby. They take weekend-long shopping excursions, spend money they do not have, and often regret their purchases the next day. Does this mean that they have a problem? Not necessarily.

A true shopaholic shops out of compulsion. They will make purchases long after they are over their heads in debt. They shop when they are feeling emotionally distressed, and use spending as a coping mechanism. They do not shop because they merely enjoy it, or because they are purchasing things that they have a need for. They buy things because they feel they HAVE to. A shopaholic is out of control.

Tips on Controlling Overspending and Treatment for Compulsive Shoppers

(1) Get rid of your credit cards, checkbooks, and ATM cards before you go shopping. Use only cash.

(2) If you spot something that you would like to purchase, never allow yourself to purchase it on the spot. Instead, walk away and give yourself a "mandatory waiting period" (or if you must-- ask the store to hold it for you. Most stores will hold items for their customers for at least a day). If you still want the item in a few days, then you can go back and make your thought-out purchase.

(3) Make a budget and put it on paper. Give yourself some "mad money" for each month, and do not allow yourself to purchase anything that is not in the budget.

(4) Write down everything you purchase for two weeks; groceries, gas for your car, the electric bill, and even that candy bar from the vending machine! This will make your more conscience of where your hard-earned dollars are going. Being more aware of your spending will also make your more in control.

(5) If you are overwhelmed with debt, contact a credit-counseling agency. There are several non-profit organizations (you can even find some online!) whose goal is to get your out of debt. They will help you consolidate your bills into a smaller monthly payment, and get your credit report in good standing once more. Most credit counseling agencies will also help you set up your monthly budget.

If you found that you answered many of the Quiz questions "True", your may need more than a few frugal tips to help keep your spending under control. If your shopping behavior is interfering with your life, consider counseling. A counselor will be able to help you figure our why your spending habits are so out of control. A knowledgeable counselor can walk you through behavior modification techniques that have a proven track record. Compulsive shoppers sometimes suffer from depression or bi-polar disorder, which can be diagnosed and treated with counseling. Some shopaholics are diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which can also be treated with the aid of a psychologist or psychiatrist. With patience, persistence, and sometimes professional help, compulsive shoppers can get their lives back in control.

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