This is Part 4 of Fighting the Shopaholic in You. Eventually, regardless of our reason for shopping ‘til we drop time and time again, we are forced to face the clean up. The emotional aftermath. The financial mess. Call it what you will. Here are some examples of situations that eventually catch up with a shopaholic.
Overspending on Credit Cards.
For those shopaholics who have not yet inherited millions of dollars, they may often overspend on credit cards. It may start with pushing one credit card to the limit, and then over that limit. Then when payment is due, sometimes only the minimum can be paid, and that bit of free credit available is soon used up again. If a shopaholic has a good credit score, she can open a second or third credit card easily. Soon they’re all full and it becomes a game of paying down enough to keep the credit card companies happy.
Hiding the Evidence.
It may start with hiding the bill so the cost of a purchase isn’t questioned. Stage two might be hiding the entire credit card statement. Stage three might be sneaking in purchases, hiding them in the closet and then wearing them nonchalantly is if she's always had them. Avoidance is a tactic, but definitely not a solution. If a shopaholic has a partner, overspending and hiding the evidence contribute to really strained relationships based on financial stress, dishonesty and shame.
The Emotional Spiral.
Shopping is the quick fix for whatever ails the shopaholic. But the emotional issues return, and, the bills/deception just make matters worse. A shopaholic may become depressed over money owed as well as the restriction on her behavior once cards are tapped out. She may be embarrassed and avoid the issue. Or, she may become really defensive and lash out in anger against any one questioning her judgment and independent actions.
Whether we are a severe shopaholic or simply have tendencies to waste some of our savings through reactive retail therapy, it’s worth analyzing why we’re driven to do it. The last stage is correcting the behavior. It of course is the toughest.
Carrie Rattle is a Principal at BehavioralCents.com, a web site for women focused on the psychology of money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence. Thoughts always welcome: email@example.com.