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Customize your Budget – Don’t Develop a Shopping Addiction

Signs of a Shopping Addiction

Like any other addiction, it can be difficult to recognize when you’ve truly crossed the line into the dangerous territory of “shopaholic.” It’s one thing to recreationally shop at the mall on a Friday night and do a bit of end-of-week splurging, and another to make it a weekly – or worse, daily – habit. This habit, as has been seen in financially devastated households across the country, can culminate to cripple not just your budget, but your entire family’s budget.

Below are five tell-tale signs you may belong to the 6 percent of Americans who have developed addiction to shopping:

  1. Impulse shopping. Perhaps the most common sign of being a shopping addict is the tendency to purchase items you didn’t intend to buy, instead acting on a general whim. When the sales clerk approaches you and tries to sell you a product, are you more likely to say “no thanks” and walk away, or find a justification to buy the item against your better judgment? You may notice that you especially have this tendency with a particular group of products you’ve taken a liking to – clothing, electronics, etc.
  2. The “rush.”The next time you find yourself out and about at a shopping center, stop to consider why you’re there to begin with. Have you set out on an agenda to meet a specific need, or are you wandering about in search of something to do – the “rush” of purchasing a product? Shopping is attributed with increases in dopamine levels of the brain upon buying a product, providing a science to what some may incorrectly see as a fickle disease. This dopamine rush can, more often than not, form a real addiction that makes you crave a new purchase much like you would a cigarette.
  3. Stress shopping. Shopping addiction forms when other aspects of life begin to go awry. If you find that you shop the most when your stress levels are high or you flee to the mall post-argument, re-evaluate your shopping habits. You may be particularly prone to this habit if you already suffer from other disorders such as depression, anorexia, or bi-polar disorder.
  4. Your closet is already filled with tagged items. Perhaps the most obvious looking-glass sign that a person suffers from a shopping addiction is the stockpiling of unused items. If your closet is loaded with clothing items that have had their tags attached to them for a long period of time and have begun gathering dust, it’s an obvious sign that a person’s shopping habits are beyond irregular and need attention called to them.
  5. Anxiety. Though not the easiest feeling to pinpoint with the million other stressors in your life, it is likely that your anxiety is a result of shopping (or a lack thereof) if you feel it most overwhelmingly during the days you haven’t gone shopping. Consider it a withdrawal that can drastically alter your mood and ability to concentrate.

This addiction, referred to by psychologists as Compulsive Buying Disorder, can lead to a frenzy of financial distress, as you find yourself signing up for credit cards you can’t afford (especially retailer-specific cards) and re-allocating funds meant for essentials so you can purchase that “must-have” cardigan carefully placed in the shop window for your eager eyes to ogle. To help prevent your addiction from moving any farther along its trajectory, consider taking small steps to changing your habits: carry a set amount of cash everywhere you go, change daily routes to avoid stores, exercise, and more. The proactive steps just may save you a bundle in the long run.

Garfield Refining is a Philadelphia based precious metal refinery offering nation-wide service. This 120 year old refinery buys and refines gold, silver, platinum, and palladium and services both B2B and B2C markets. For live gold prices check out @GarfieldGold on twitter.

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September 19, 2012 um 7:44 am
Miscellaneous Finance
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