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Addictive Behaviours Discuss and receive support for addictions not related to substance use, such as gambling, Internet, sex or work addictions, in this forum.

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I have a shopping addiction. - February 10th 2013, 02:40 PM

I've always liked going shopping but back when I was living at home I didn't have any bills to worry about or rent to pay so I could freely spend my money on whatever I wanted.

Now though I live on my own and I'm buying so many things I can't afford and that I don't need that I'm struggling to pay my bills and my rent. I'm having to ask my parents to give me money so that I can pay for these.

It started out as a coping mechanism to deal with self harm urges. When I felt the need to self harm I would get out of the house and browse the shops. Now I'm going shopping almost everyday and frequently shop online when the shops are closed. I do it when I'm bored, when I'm feeling down and mostly I have an online shopping website open whenever I'm on the internet.

I am trying to limit what I spend but it's really hard. I know I need to do something soon though before I get myself into uncontrollable debt. The debt I'm currently in is manageable and kind of expected for a university student but I'm tempted to just get more and more credit cards so that I can satisfy this addiction.

Help?


   
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Re: I have a shopping addiction. - February 10th 2013, 09:23 PM

Hey there!

I totally get where you're coming from with the shopping thing. Back before I went to school and was on my own financially, I didn't pay much attention to how much I was spending. I just went with it, since I didn't really have to worry. One of the things that has really helped me is budgeting. You have a rough idea of how much you owe when the bills come in, right? Start breaking that money up into sections. Write down how much you need monthly for bills, food, utilities, etc. Put that money in the bank and don't touch it until it's time to pay for those specific things. Take whatever money isn't needed for bills out of the bank and put the cash in your wallet. That's your spending money for the month, so use it wisely.

Ultimately, it just takes discipline. The first couple months of serious budgeting is tough, since it is easy to just slide the card through anyways. But, you have to find a way to maintain self-control. Whether it's by asking someone to help hold you accountable or paying the bills as soon as they come in, try to refrain from using the money not specifically designated for spending. Trust me, it gets easier with time.


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Re: I have a shopping addiction. - February 10th 2013, 11:31 PM

Another thing is making it hard to access your money!

The reality is there's no harm in looking and wanting, but if you always buy the things you desire . . . well you end up with a house full of clutter, for starters.

Anyway for making your money hard to access - there's a couple of things I can think of - one, which was suggested to me a long time ago, was fill a container of water, and put your cards in the water, then put that container with the cards and the water in the freezer. That way, next time you want to make a purchase, you have to wait for the water to melt. And you're not allowed to cheat with making it melt. However that won't work if you've memorised your card numbers.

The other option is, make in financially painful to access your money. You can set up purely electronic accounts that your bill money gets put into and your bills are payed via automatic payment, where if you make a withdrawal that's unplanned, you get charged for it. Having separate accounts for bills and spending money is a good idea anyway, because as said previously then you know what you have to spend and you can't accidentally dip into your bill money for leisure.

And finally, be realistic about being an adult. There's an order of importance -
RENT - you want to keep a roof over your head. You don't want to have to go back to your parents and explain to them that due to an addiction, you weren't able to pay rent and got kicked out. Rent always, always, always has to come first.
Amenities - Power, Water, Phone, Internet - these are your regular "bills". Keep on top of them, and you won't get late fees, or get your access cut off. I've had my phone cut off before (bad planning, mania, etc) and it feels AWFUL. It also affects your credit rating.
Food and transport - these come last because if your bills are more than you expected, you can always live off noodles and bananas for a week, and with transport there's always a way to cut costs or to get a ride with someone sometimes.

After all that . . . then you have the money you can spend

If you're having really serious trouble with this, and none of anybody's suggestions sounds doable, then I would very strongly recommend seeing a counselor or something, because it might be something more related to impulse control in that case. But do as much as you can, and if that's not helping, and you're still trying to get more imaginary money (let's be honest, the money on credit cards doesn't exist until you pay it back), then you might need more assisstance than what we can provide on the internet.

   
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Re: I have a shopping addiction. - February 11th 2013, 06:45 PM

I actually have very similar problems: I think that shopping became my coping mechanism to deal with my anxiety and depression in my second year, I was doing bad in school, I didn't even want to be in university but I was also conflicted with the "I can't be the only one in my family to not have a degree" etc. So I would just go to the mall, I'd buy movies or what ever else and ended up with all this shit I didn't even need--I swear to god the majority of the DVD's and shoes I own I bought 2 years ago. I'd also buy shit loads of music and stuff. I'd do all this stuff without even thinking about it. I feel like I improved since I found other outlets for my stress; for example, I love swimming, running and yoga. These things also cost money if you need a membership for a studio or shoes or what ever but the cost tends to be more limited and things like running is possible to do outside so as long as I have clothes/shoes for it I am set. Also, for example, my plan is to learn as much yoga as possible between now and April and when the ground is dry enough I want to do things like doing yoga in the park . So I think that finding a "healthier" outlet would definitely help.

I think that calculating a budget would also be good. Calculate how much rent, gas, food, car insurance, internet, phone, hydro, water, house insurance, pet food etc is. What ever necessities you have to pay for, add it all up. Then what ever amount of money you have a month (ex. 2000) subtract your "necessary" costs from it (ex. 1500-2000) and see how much you are left over with to spend. Say 500 (according to these random numbers. Now if you are like me, I force myself to save $100 a month in a tax free savings account so that I can't blow though 100% of my money and will hopefully have enough saved to get by for a bit once I am done school especially given how few jobs are out there it may be a while before I get anything raking in the big bucks. If you don't do that you could try it. Even if you only put $20 a month in. Then say ok you have 500 per month. And then make a list of things you want. Like say you want a certain new movie, a certain pair of shoes, and wirite it all down and buy as many of them as fits into your budget, but then tell yourself you can buy more once you have the spare money again.




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