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smart It Was Such a Bargain: Help for Compulsive Shoppers

Like other addictive personalities, compulsive or obsessive shoppers indulge their passion even as it destroys their closest relationships and sends them into a financial tailspin.

Recent studies suggest that compulsive shopping is a growing problem because of easier access to credit cards at younger ages, the convenience of e-commerce, and the availability of television shopping channels.

Compulsive shoppers often suffer from other psychiatric disorders as well such as depression, an anxiety disorder, or an eating disorder. Most compulsive shoppers do not seek psychiatric care--they view it as a financial problem instead.

To prevent shopping binges:

  • Pay for purchases by cash, check, or debit card.
  • Make a shopping list and only buy what's on it.
  • Put financial goals in writing so you have something to "save" for.
  • Get rid of department store credit cards; carry one major credit card for emergencies.
  • Record every dollar you spend and your feelings about each purchase.
  • Avoid discount warehouses; allocate a certain amount of cash to spend if you do shop at one.
  • Avoid catalog ordering and watching TV shopping channels.
  • Take a walk or exercise when the urge to shop comes on.
  • Find a money mentor; look for a friend or colleague who spends and saves wisely and ask for advice.
  • If you feel out of control, you probably are. Seek counseling or a support group.

USSFCU can also can help lead you in the right direction.

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