Updated 26 September 2013

Are you a shopaholic?

The difference between celebrity shoppers and the rest of us? They can usually afford their shopping sprees.

Celebrity shopping sprees often hit the news. Victoria Beckham is estimated to spend £100 000 (R1,6million) per year on her wardrobe alone. The difference between celebrities and normal shopaholics is that the celebrities more often than not have the cash for these shopping sprees. The rest of us do not.

Unfortunately, many people regard compulsive shopping as a joke. "Taking illegal substances in excess is one thing. To shop till you drop arouses only amusement," says psychotherapist Adrienne Baker.

  • Shopping or spending money as a result of being disappointed, angry or scared.
  • Shopping/spending habits causing emotional distress or chaos in one's life.
  • Having arguments with others regarding shopping or spending habits.
  • Feeling lost without credit/purchasing cards.
  • Buying items on credit that would not be bought with cash.
  • Spending money causes a rush of euphoria and anxiety at the same time.
  • Spending or shopping feels like a reckless or forbidden act.
  • Feeling guilty, ashamed, embarrassed or confused after shopping or spending money. Many purchases are never used.
  • Lying to others about what was bought or how much money was spent.
  • Thinking excessively about money.
  • Spending a lot of time juggling accounts and bills to accommodate spending.

  • Pay for purchases by cash or cheque
  • Make a shopping list and only buy what is on the list.
  • Destroy all credit cards except one to be used for emergencies only.
  • Avoid discount warehouses. Allocate only a certain amount of cash to be spent if you do visit one.
  • "Window shop" only after stores have closed. If you do "look" during the day, leave your wallet at home.
  • Avoid phoning in catalogue or Internet orders and don't watch TV shopping channels.
  • If you're travelling to visit friends or relatives, have your gifts wrapped before you leave. People tend to make unnecessary purchases when they shop for other people.
  • Take a walk or exercise when the urge to shop comes on.
  • If you feel out of control, you probably are. Seek counselling or a support group.


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