Compulsive Buying Disorder: Does it exist?

Elaine King

We all like to go shopping once in a while, it cheers us up because we're buying something for ourselves, for our family or for our friends.

But what happens when shopping becomes a need that you can't control? Specialist doctors in Barcelona have discovered that this feeling of being “high” may become compulsive and harmful. Identifying this financial behavior will help prevent you from entering into a cycle of unnecessary debt and staying alert can motivate you to invest that energy into something that’s better for your well-being.

Are You A Compulsive Buyer?

Answer the following true or false phrases to find out if you’re addicted.

  • You buy things that you don't use in a month
  • You complain that you don't have enough money and that you don't know what you spend it on
  • You spend money on things that aren't useful or that run out quickly
  • You go shopping without a list or a budget in mind
  • Investigating if you can get that product or service for a lower price seems like a waste of time to you
  • You buy clothes and shoes because you like them without knowing if you need them or when you're going to use them

Evaluating Your Results

Your level of addiction will depend on how many phrases you said were true, i.e. if you considered that 3 or more phrases were “true” you must assess your shopping sprees and your budget.

If you said that 3 or more were "true", chances are you're a shopaholic or you're on the road to becoming one. Don't worry! Here are a few tips that can help you begin to change this or can help you help a loved one you know is on this path.

How to Avoid Being a Compulsive Buyer and Improve Your Finances

  • Avoid going shopping when you're too tired, stressed or depressed.
  • Evaluate each purchase above a certain amount, look online to see if that's the best price
  • Avoid going shopping without a list, purpose or budget
  • Write down all your purchases and justify them. If you can't, ask a close family member to help you and then seek an addiction specialist.
  • Try to pay in cash instead of with a credit card
  • Discover groups that specialize in compulsive shopping, such as CAT, here

Most of the time, compulsive shoppers are trying to fill an emotional void in their life with purchases. It's important to identify what that void is and fill it with actions that improve your well-being and spirit, for example: meditating, exercising, eating healthy and helping out in your community. Knowing that a problem exists is the first step to evolving and becoming a better person. If you want to have access to many others tips for a healthy financial life, subscribe to the bulletin here or follow me on Facebook here and Twitter here.

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Elaine King - Family and Money Matters™ 2021