Post # 1
I am going anonymous because there is a lot of shame attached to this for me.
I am 30 years old and have an actual shopping addiction. For years I’ve just said “oh I’m a shopaholic” or “oh I just love clothes” but in the past year I’ve come to admit to myself it is actually an addiction. I don’t mean to use the word “addiction” to devalue those addictions that are related to substance abuse. But I almost use it in the same way. I get urges to shop for clothes that are like an itch I must scratch (mostly online) and this has left me broke. I feel like a monster takes over my mind and convinces me that I do need that item, or that I will just make the money back later somehow.
I was fortunate enough that my parents paid for my education so I had a lot of money saved until about 5 years ago when this started spiraling. I now live paycheck to paycheck and have zero money in savings, credit card debt, and an apartment that looks like an episode of hoarders with piles of clothes everywhere. What prompted me to admit this to myself is that my parents are starting to catch on and I catch myself in lies pretending that my financial situation is okay (it really is not). I am meeting with a debt counselor next week and am also looking into centers in my area that offer counseling for shopping addiction.
I just feel like crap and so ashamed that I have this self-inflicted problem that is ruining my life that I can’t get out of. I’m scared for my future. I guess I was just looking to vent and maybe hear words of encouragement that perhaps I can get through this and one day have healthy finances. Thank you.
Post # 2
No one is perfect, we all have some sort of issues. The first step is admitting you have a problem, and you have made that first step. That’s great! Hopefully the counseling, financial and emotional, will help you
Post # 3
tamtam86 : You have made a start. You don’t have to wait until you see a debt counsellor to take other steps. Start now by going through those piles and sorting out things you can sell. You may even find things with tags on that you can return for full credit.
Good luck to you.
Post # 4
The fact that you recognize your problem and are looking for help is an incredible accomplishment! Hopefully counseling will help you find ways to feel good besides by shopping. Good luck! You’ve shown so much strength by opening up about this.
Post # 5
tamtam86 : HUGS!
Good that you are taking the first steps and meeting with a financial counselor.
Maybe you can also meet with a therapist to discuss what triggers you to spiral out of control.
The good news is that your situation is temporary. With some discipline you can get out of debt. It may take a while but you can do this. Don’t feel discouraged. Take everything one day at a time.
Also, maybe you can consider selling some of the clothes you have. Not just for the money you will recieve but to also declutter your life and space.
Good luck bee!
Post # 6
Don’t think that you’re problem isn’t as “real” as other addictions just because it doesn’t involve illegal activity or bodily harm.
It still sounds as if it is drastically affecting your life, and should be considered very serious.
It’s really good that you’ve finally admitted this to yourself and have help on the way.
The first step is to deal with the shame – shame doesn’t serve anyone. Figure out ways to get rid of it – my favorite (short and compelling) book that deals with shame really well is The Power of Vulnerability.
Also, one thing that helps me when I’m feeling the urge to buy things but know I don’t have the money is a Pinterest board I’ve created called, “To Buy.” I spend the hour or two or however long I need to get rid of the urge online shopping. And at the end of the time, I have every single item I liked pinned to this board, along with size, color, and price. But I haven’t spent anything. Oddly, it’s very satisfying. Every so often (when I have some extra $) I go back through the board to see what of all the things I’ve pinned I still really want, and I buy what I can afford. Most of the time, I delete 90% of the pins because I no longer really like them (like all the clothes piled up on your floor.)
No idea if this would be helpful for someone who has an actual addiction, but you might run it by your therapists to see if they think so.
Post # 7
As the others have said, good for you for recognizing there is a problem. Many do recognize shopping addictions as similar in brain activity to substance addictions. I suggest you view it as an actual addiction and feel the severity of that.
Seeing a debt counsellor is a good step. Other steps I recommend are:
– research addictions. Gambling addictions may be the most similar and may have information that could help you.
– find some sort of counselling or group. A personal counsellor, an addiction counsellor, an addiction group similar to AA but specific to you
– find a sponsor of sorts. Someone you can call when you are tempted or have screwed up. A friend, a family member, a counsellor, someone from an addiction group, whoever makes the most sense for you.
– make lists of what you actually need. Eg. Three pairs dress pants, two pairs jeans, two hoodies, etc
– go through your stuff and donate or sell everything else.
– make a list of what you need to buy going forward. Clothes, toiletries, food, etc. Map out where you will go to minimize temptation. If one grocery store is close to a department store, go to the one that’s next to an automotive shop instead.
Good luck. You can do this.
Post # 8
congratulations on recognizing your problem and taking the first steps to correct it.
take control, stop buying stuff, start saving your money and paying off your debt, sell what you can and use the money you get for savings or to get out of debt
Post # 9
The first step is recognizing your problem so you are well on your way! You also not alone in this, bee. People joke about being a shopaholic all the time, I’ve always wondered if it was a real problem. I was laid off from a job years ago, the first thing I should have done was get my finances in check but instead I went on a series of pity-induced online shopping sprees that almost put me in the red. Thankfully I found another job but in hindsight that was incredibly reckless considering I supported myself entirely on my own. In all honestly I still get the itch to shop but what helps me is I never save my payment info on any site so it’s a little more difficult to hit that “check out” button. I also will sit at my makeup desk or in my closet to keep myself in check about how much stuff I already have and I don’t need more. You will get through this!
Post # 10
You are doing a fantastic job so far of admitting your problem! I love the advice that has already been given. I am adding to it by saying to set yourself some goals. Set short term goals and long term goals (financially and emotionally in regards to your addiction). Some examples would be to save $5 the first week – and keep it. Maybe set up a Certificate of Deposit that you can’t touch for 18 months, but can always add to it and make it a goal to add something each week. Also, write your goals down and cross them off when you accomplish them. Good Luck! You can do this!
Post # 11
I think for the most part a financial councelor and a therapist will be the most help in fixing your financial situation and preventing this from re-occuring, though some good ideas have been floated in this thread.
As for returning the merchendise, or selling it, which I do think will be something you need to do to help your finances get back on track.. do you have a friend or family member who can help you go through the clothes to return/sell..who won’t judge you for your addiction? I imagine that, depending on the nature of your additiction, doing it yourself may not be the easiest.
Post # 12
Well done for taking the first step … it will all work out 🙂
could you make a start by returning anything that still has tags?
Post # 13
Thank you so much everyone who’s already commented. I feel so low that I’ve gotten myself into this hole and ignored the depth of the problem for so long. There are some great tips on here and I think goal setting will be really important for me. I’ve tried to overcome this on my own in the past and every time I relapse so badly that I blow whatever I saved during that “good” period of time. I just really hope I can do this. If not I have no idea what my future will look like. Thank you again.
Post # 14
lucybzz : amanda1988 : chocochai : I’ve started selling a few things on kijiji and Craigslist. I sold a watch just today. I can’t believe what I paid for it and the loss I took on it but I have to start somewhere. If anyone else has tips for how else to sell clothes that would be great too.
Post # 15
I’m not sure what could help your addiction, but you could go on Poshmark and sell some of the clothes you have. That’s also a good place to buy gently used (name brand) clothing for a fraction of what you would be paying at the store. Over the years I noticed that I would feel really great when buying something, and then a day or two later feel guilty about spending the money. Thinking about how I felt after has helped me avoid a lot of purchases.