You might not be comfortable admitting a spending problem. But sometimes, there’s no denying the cold hard truth. You can live in denial, but just know that spending problems can escalate. And if you’re unable to control spending, this can impact your cash flow and whether you’re able to qualify for certain loans. Here are 10 tell-tale signs that you’re addicted to spending.
1. You have unused items in your closet
Take a walk through your closet. If you have clothes that you’ve never worn, or worse, clothes with the original tags. There’s a good chance that you have a spending problem. And more than likely, you’re buying more items that you realistically need or can wear.
2. A purchase sparks an argument
It might be difficult to admit a spending addiction, but if shopping sparks an argument with your spouse or partner, this is a sign of issues. You’re spending doesn’t only affect you, but also those in your household. It might impact your ability to pay your share of the bills, and if you and your partner have joint credit cards or bank accounts, you’re spending can impact his or her personal finances.
3. You have credit card debt, mostly for purchases you didn’t need
If you have massive credit card debt or maxed out credit cards, you may have a spending addiction. It’s one thing to have high credit card debt because of a one-time expense beyond your control, such as a major home or car repair. But if you check your credit card statement and notice that the majority of transactions came from your favourite retail stores, it’s time to acknowledge a problem and make adjustments to how you spend your money.
4. You experience a rush or happiness when you shop
How do you feel after you make a purchase? Are you excited? Do you feel a rush? Does shopping erase your problems? Unfortunately, many people shop as a way to feel better. But this is a costly habit that can result in debt. Consider other ways to lift your mood. For example, exercising, getting plenty of sleep and eating a healthy diet can have a tremendous positive impact on mood. Speak with a trusted friend, or ask your doctor about safe herbs or medications to fight depression or sadness.
5. You hide your shopping
Do you wait until your partner or spouse is away before bringing items into the house? The fact that you have to hide a purchase says a lot about your spending. In all likelihood, you know the purchase wasn’t wise, and you know buying the item may cause problems in your relationship. Even if you’re presently able to hide a spending problem, your partner will eventually learn the truth.
6. You feel nervous or loss when unable to shop
If shopping makes you feel better emotionally, not being able to shop can trigger opposite emotions, such as anxiousness or sadness. If you can’t go more than one or two days without spending, and if you start to feel down or sad when you can’t spend, this is a sign of a spending addiction.
7. You can’t pay your bills
Unfortunately, too much shopping can prevent paying bills. If you struggle every month to pay your rent, utilities, transportation and loans, despite earning more than enough to cover these expenses, the problem might be a spending addiction.
8. You feel embarrassed or ashamed after a purchase
Everyone experiences buyer’s remorse from time to time. But if you feel this higher after making a purchase, and then you start feeling embarrassed or ashamed a few hours later, this also indicates a spending addiction. On one hand, you know spending is ruining your personal finances; but on the other hand, you feel powerless to stop.
9. You can’t stop
Maybe you’ve tried to give up spending, only to relapse after a short period of time. A spending addiction is just as serious as other types of addictions, and unfortunately, many people are unable to quit cold turkey. However, with the help of your family, friends and maybe a support group, you can receive encouragement and learn tools to curb spending. Depending on the severity of the problem, working with an addiction specialist might get to the root of your spending addiction.
10. You view shopping as a hobby
If you consider spending a favourite past time or hobby, you might be headed for trouble. The truth of the matter is, your income can only go so far. And if spending is your favourite activity on the weekends or when you’re bored, you could end up with a lot of debt and very little money.
If you have a spending addiction, there’s hope for you. At times you may feel embarrassed or ashamed, but don’t let these feelings stop you from getting the help you deserve. The sooner you overcome this problem, the sooner you can get your finances on the right track.
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