Deal with it

Published on July 1st, 2015


6 ways to identify a shopping addict

Here are surefire ways to identify a shopping addict and get them help before they are completely broke and depressed.
by Reyna Mathur

All of us know at least one person who is so addicted to shopping, he or she will not think twice before spending even when they are broke. Do you identify with this scenario: A young girl works in a private firm. In her spare time, she surfs shopping sites and keeps adding items to her virtual shopping cart. Not a single day passes without her buying something for herself, and when packages arrive at her home and office on a daily basis.

Then her credit card bills catch up on her. Soon, she buys many credit cards to settle the bills on the previous ones – and also to increase her spending power. The situation soon lands her in huge debt, but through it all, she still can’t stop shopping.

If this sounds familiar, you or someone you know is a shopping addict. It is a dangerous addiction that lands people in a severe financial crunch, but like other addictions, this one too compels the victim to give in to his or her constant urges to acquire the next object of their fancy. Unfortunately, most people don’t take this addiction seriously enough, and fail to see that it is a form of mental illness.

It is easy to tell when a person is a shopping addict.

1. Constantly wanting to buy things. All of us like to shop, but some people take it to another extreme level by buying something, big or small, every single day. If they pass by a store and see something on display that they like, they will buy it immediately without considering if they have enough money for it.

2. They are unable to rest till they buy what they want. There have been cases where shopping addicts have reported insomnia, anxiety and depression to their doctors and therapists, all brought on by their inability to buy something they really liked. They see it as a personal failure to be unable to gratify their own wishes, and this leads to feelings of inadequacy and unhappiness. In the West, there are support groups for people falling under this category, where people come together and share their fears and insecurities about themselves related to their finances. Many of them express a wish to get professional help after finally understanding that they are in the grip of an illness.

Shopping addicts3. They don’t much care how much something costs. All of us are fitted with an invisible ‘radar’ that alerts us when we are considering a purchase. The voice in our heads cautions us with questions like, ‘Can you afford this new TV? Shouldn’t you first pay off your maintenance bills before buying that dinner set?’ The difference with a shopping addict is that he or she can choose to ignore this radar at will, often leading them into a deep financial pit where they flounder but cannot come out of.

4. They are the biggest consumers of EMI spending. Many e-commerce sites have smartly tapped on to people’s tendency to purchase something expensive if there is a reasonable monthly EMI attached to it. A shopping addict will normally explore this option, because it means they can adopt the same principle and buy several more items that month.

5. They borrow money to go shopping. We are conditioned to spend only what we have in our pockets, so it goes against the grain to borrow money. However, most of us borrow money for sudden unavoidable expenses and we set targets to repay the money back as soon as we can. But a shopping addict, normally running short of money owing to his or her spending habits, has no qualms borrowing money to buy a new mobile phone or an expensive saree or even to go on a trip. There is a very high chance that the money will not be repaid on time, because the person will never have enough cash to pay back the loan in time.

6. They don’t use most of the things they buy. For a shopping addict, the thing is in acquiring the object of their affections, not necessarily in using it. With so many purchases piling up one over the other, it is little wonder that they get around to using even half the items that they buy so passionately.

(Pictures courtesy Images are used for representational purpose only)

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