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How to spot the signs you’re addicted to shopping & ways to tackle it

For many, shopping in-store or online is an essential and unavoidable part of life, but spending or shopping has become an addiction for millions of Brits.

For most, shopping is seen as a harmless activity, but for those suffering from a spending addiction, it can lead to unmanageable levels of debt, stress, anxiety, depression and the breakdown of relationships.

Online shopping in particular, has proven to give you a dopamine rush, and studies have shown you’ll feel more excited about waiting for your items to arrive than when you buy things in-store.

When we’re feeling unhappy, we tend to feel like we’re out of control. Shopping allows us to make choices and bring back being in control, thus reducing our sad feelings.

Worried you could be addicted to shopping? Here are a few of the telltale signs you may have a problem;

1) You shop in secret and hide your purchases from your loved ones

2) You think about shopping excessively

3) You feel irritable or sad if you can’t shop

4) You feel a rush of adrenaline once you’ve made a purchase

5) Shopping soothes you

6) You have unopened goods building up in your home

7) You regularly buy things you don’t need or hadn’t planned to buy

8) You feel guilty after you’ve been on a spending spree

9) You’re finding yourself in unmanageable levels of debt because of your shopping habits

Ways to tackle your shopping addiction;

1) Admit to yourself and others that you have a problem

The first step to tackling the problem is recognising you have one.

2) Commit to stopping

Make a decision that you’re going to change your habits and tell someone you’re going to do so.

3) Make a list

Create a list of the negative ways your shopping habit has had on you and your loved ones.

4) Identify your triggers

Make a list of what causes you to want to shop. Do you feel like shopping after an argument? Are you more likely to shop after a bad day at work? Once you’ve worked out your triggers, you can work on replacing shopping with healthier habits to help soothe you.

5) Find a healthier activity to replace shopping

Exercising, watching TV, seeing friends, baking – find a new hobby that you can replace shopping.

6) Set yourself a budget

Setting a budget can help you focus on your financial goals and keep you on track when you feel tempted to spend.

6) Remove the temptation

Try removing the app from your phone if you find yourself making regular Instagram purchases. If going to the shops leads to excessive spending, order your food online and avoid the high street.

7) Seek help

There is lots of free advice online if you’re worried about your debts. The Money Helper website lists multiple organisations that give free debt advice.

If your addiction is severe, speak to your GP about getting professional help.

Personal finance expert and editor-in-chief of, David Beard, said;

“Being addicted to shopping is more common than you’d think. Online shopping has evolved so much that it’s never been easier to spend money without feeling like you’re parting ways with your cash.

“You shouldn’t feel ashamed if you suspect you have a problem – you’re not alone, and admitting it to yourself and your loved ones is the first step to getting help. It’s important to take steps to tackle your shopping habits if you’re finding yourself in unmanageable levels of debt. Burying your head in the sand is the worst thing you can do.”