How to Break a Shopping Addiction
For years, medical advertisements have warned about the perils of substance abuse, attempting to frighten viewers with images of irreparably damaged organs and people who more closely resembled a California raisin than anyone's relative. The theory behind such warnings is that addictions to these substances can be harmful for your health, as well as an expensive habit to keep. Unfortunately, some addictions remain unchecked such as shopping addictions.
Shopping addictions differ greatly from “mainstream” addictions in that while there are no immediate risks to your health, as there are with substance abuse problems, the stress from continually trying to overcome a seemingly insurmountable amount of debt can have serious adverse effects on your health in the end. Additionally, the pressure to keep your excessive spending and the purchases that come as a result can severely damage your relationships with them. In fact, studies show that 57% of married couples divorce because of financial issues. How can you avoid this crisis and put your life back on track? The following suggestions will help you get back on the path to financial stability and contribute toward a stress-free lifestyle.
Step 1: Get rid of all credit cards.
See no evil, do no evil. Of all the ways to spend your money, using a credit card is probably the worst.. Without the actual presence of diminishing money to serve as a reminder of how much money you are spending, you will generally be more likely to spend more than you actually have. In addition, every time you use your credit card, you are not only paying on what you owe, but on an interest rate set by the issuing company, which is often very high. To avoid having your shopping-driven debt balloon further out of control, cancel your existing credit cards, so that you won't be tempted to add more expenses. Without the use of a credit card available to you, it will be much more difficult to spend frivolously.
Step 2: Make a plan and stick to it.
Once you have canceled your credit cards, it is best to set a budget for yourself. Make a list of all of your expenses, and divide these into categories based on their necessity, ranking from “essential” to “unnecessary.” Items which fall under the “essential” category should receive the most attention from you and should include expenses such as bills, basic needs (for example, food and clothing), and medical expenses.
These expenses should be paid for in cash, if possible, but under no circumstances should the presence of an item like clothing under the “essential” category be misconstrued as an excuse to overspend on purchases, which are not directly used for daily survival. Remember: a budget is a guideline for maintaining a realistic spending limit. Therefore, do not go over budget, or your work to rectify your debt situation will be in vain.
Step 3: Seek professional help.
Again, while a shopping addiction is not technically a conventional form of addiction, it is an addiction nonetheless. As such, it is important to seek professional help that can provide you with support while you embark upon your quest to overcome your addiction and reclaim your life from debt.