Do you bury shopping-spree purchases in the backyard; pretend they came from Goodwill or hide them amidst groceries so your partner won't see them? Then you may be a shopaholic. While this blog may focus on many things related to shopping, I also encourage readers to practice intelligent consumerism: Even coupon use can be abused.
While it's true there's nothing wrong with shopping, a shopping addiction can lead to financial and emotional impacts similar to alcoholism. According to a study conducted earlier this year by American Express, more than a quarter of respondents had misrepresented the amount of a purchase to their partner and 30 percent reported they had hidden purchases.
Even consumers who believe they shop wisely, using coupons and hitting only the big sales, can easily get in over their heads. Just as with alcoholism and other addictions, closet shopping can be caused by a variety of factors. According to Shopaholics Anonymous, this can include:
If you're a closet shopper, you can take comfort in knowing you're not alone. A 2006 Stanford University study found 17 million Americans, or 6 percent of the U.S. population, suffer from this legitimate disorder. Surprisingly, men and women suffer about equally. So how can you tell if you're a compulsive shopper? Shopaholics Anonymous offers the following checklist.
Just as there are many causes and signs, Shopahlcs says the compulsion takes many forms.
Experts agree the hardest part of any addiction is admitting you have a problem. Once you've gone through that process, however, it must be followed up with action. Shopaholic expert Terrence Shulman of The Shulman Center, recommends taking the following steps.