Written by guest blogger, Chenell Tull
With all of the clever marketing you see on billboards, the internet, TV commercials, and even on your Pandora playlist, it’s easy to get sucked into spending money. But some people take this way too far and end up broke because they can’t quit their mall addiction. Are you one of them?
Here are 11 signs you might be a shopaholic:
1. You go to the mall, or shop online when you’re bored, anxious, sad, or stressed out.
When life gets tough, you want new stuff. The mall is your best friend when you’re going through a rough time. There is always something there that can cheer you up.
2. There are clothes in your closet that still have the tags attached.
You are going shopping so often that there are quite a few articles of clothing you don’t even get the chance to use. Yet, somehow there never seems to be anything you want to wear.
3. You have lied about or hidden purchases from your significant other/housemates.
Do you have hiding places around the house where you can quickly discard of recently purchased items before your significant other gets home? They don’t need to know – ignorance is bliss, right? Hiding purchases from your spouse can be likened to cheating on them. It is also one of the many causes of divorce in the U.S..
4. Most of the time, you go shopping alone.
Shopping by yourself leaves no room for judgment from friends and family. It also leaves no limit on the amount of time you can spend looking around. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone tag along, but most of the time you’d rather not have to worry about being criticized for spending so much. Being alone means that no one has to know about your little binge-session – except yourself.
5. You feel a sense of euphoria while you are shopping, but that feeling soon fades leaving you wanting more.
Once you make that purchase and get to your car, those feelings of euphoria start to turn into regret, embarrassment and guilt. You know you shouldn’t be doing this, but it just feels so good in the moment. While you’re at the mall you get to be someone else, and your credit cards help finance your addiction.
6. You justify unneeded purchases because you’re getting credit card reward points.
Maybe those credit card points ended up getting you a free flight to Mexico. If you calculate how much money you spent to get those points, you would soon realize that just buying the plane ticket outright would have saved you thousands of dollars in the first place. It’s like paying for a root-canal just to get a free toothbrush.
7. There never seems to be enough money to pay the bills.
When the bills come in the mail, you get stressed out – sometimes you don’t even want to open them. While going to the mall may be relieve some of your current stress, it can end up causing you ten times more guilt because you now have no way to pay the bill.
8. You and your spouse frequently have arguments over money.
While it may not always seem to lead back to your compulsive buying, it usually is related. You fight, then you get upset, and where do you go? The mall.
9. You end up donating a ton of clothes every few months because your closet gets so full.Donating clothes and money to the poor is a very noble thing to do. But when you’re donating a ton of stuff every few months simply because you have no room left in your closet, there is likely a problem.
10. You have multiple store credit cards and use them regularly.
Macy’s, Kohl’s, Target, and New York & Company all reside in your wallet – they give you discounts so you save money! But, they also give you an excuse to go shopping and spend more money. Get real, you are spending more by having them in the first place.
11. A sale to you means it’s time to go shopping, even if you were just there yesterday.
Needed another excuse to head the mall? “One Day Sale”, “Early Bird Pricing”, and “Limited Time Offer” all mean “Calling all shopaholics, we miss you and want you to come spend all your money here!”
If you can relate to at least, you may want to try and get help to curb your addiction. Try leaving your credit cards at home and only bring a limited amount of cash with you. You know, that same amount you put in your Mvelopes for shopping.
Find productive ways to spend your time that don’t involve going to the mall – go for a run, take your dog on a walk, or read your favorite book. Most importantly – always take a friend of family member with you when you go. Friends don’t let friends blow their savings.
About Chenell: Chenell runs Bright Cents, a personal finance blog that aims to help people eliminate their debt, especially student loans. Chenell, herself, is a recent user of Mvelopes and has eliminated over $22,000 in debt. You can find her on Twitter or via email at Chenell [at] BrightCents.com.