Another American Thanksgiving is upon us, and we Canadians due to our proximity to the US have been subjected to countless of feel good Thanksgiving television specials (my favorite is the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special) , as well as the ads promoting those incredible, incomparable, BLACK FRIDAY sales marking the beginning of the marathon Christmas shopping season. Here in Canada besides the fact we celebrate Thanksgiving in October and it falls on a Monday (we do love our three day weekends), Canadian retailers in recent years have jumped on the Black Friday bandwagon, offering crazy one day only savings; and just like our neighbors to the south we flock to the malls to take advantage of these savings. The holiday season in general can be highly stressful and challenging, if however you suffer from a shopping addiction the season can be horrific.
On the surface, being a shopaholic sounds trivial, something everyone has suffered from at one time or another, such is not the case. Compulsive shopping is like any other addiction, the individual feels a certain euphoria when making purchases, and like any other addiction they are also subject to the destructive behaviour and consequences associated with an addiction.
What are the signs of a shopaholic?
- If you find that you constantly overspend and take money from your budgeted expenses to cover a shopping excursion than you may be a victim of shopping addiction.
- Compulsive purchases. If you compulsive purchase items despite a need to buy something or if you notice that you buy ten pairs of shoes at a time instead of just one, there could be a problem.
- Chronic shopping. If you notice that you don’t just overspend once in a while or you don’t just over shop once in a while than you may have a chronic shopping addiction problem.
- Lying about the problem. Do your friends or family members constantly want to know where your money is going but you tell lies about it? If you lie about your shopping in an effort to cover up what is really going on there could be a problem.
- Shopping, guilt, shopping, guilt. According to Columbia University, shopping addicts usually feel guilt, anger, and/or sadness following the initial euphoria of shopping. If your shopping leads to guilt and yet you shop again, you could have a problem.
- Broken relationships from shopping. Does your spending or desire to shop lead to broken relationships? If your desire to shop has caused havoc on your relationships and despite your desire to do better you continue to shop then there is a problem.
- Consequences don’t help.If you know that there will be consequences if you shop but you still decide to spend money than you are stuck with the consequences. The consequences may include relationship troubles, financial troubles, regret and guilt.(1)
We would like to add not everyone who enjoys shopping suffers from a shopping addiction. The traditional or occasional shopping degree does not signify an addiction, nor does the occasional splurge that can be paid off. If your shopping habits become uncontrollable, and destructive to yourself and your family then you need to seek the help of a mental health professional.