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Are you a shopaholic?
Here's an interesting article by Erin Prater entitled I Hurt, I Buy. I found the article thoughtful and informative; therefore, I'm including it in its entirety.
I Hurt, I Buy
The high price of retail therapy
By: Erin Prater
Focus on the Family with Dr. James Dobson, December 2008
Winter 2005 was bleak and dreary. I was single, new to a large city and occupying a sad excuse for an efficiency apartment. Christmas was nearing, and "retail therapy" wasn't curing my solo holiday blues. It was, however, consuming the remainder of my credit limit.
My Christmas spending couldn't fill my loneliness, of course, but I hoped the momentary thrill of buying things would satiate my deeper longing to be married.
To my surprise, shortly before Christmas Eve, I found my husband-to-be. We married soon thereafter, and I thought my days of emotional spending were over.
But immunity from the temptation of emotional spending doesn't accompany marriage. Communication problems and unmet emotional needs that occasionally burden all marriages can leave us vulnerable to the lure of things.
The good news? Emotional spending is avoidable with a little common sense, communication and contemplation -- all free and readily available.
Using Scotch tape for a Band-Aid
According to the Journal of Financial Planning, many of us use spending as an ineffective emotional Band-Aid. Incidences of emotional spending range from minor (a dog lover buying puppy-printed paper towels when the cheaper, generic variety is just as absorbent) to major (a sexually neglected wife maxing out the credit card at a lingerie store). While emotional spending is usually impulsive, it can reach a compulsive level.
We succumb for a variety of reasons. In fact, you can probably conjure up a justification to spend for each of your emotions. The most common feelings that trigger spending include:
|Boredom (You're seeking entertainment)||Ugliness (You're seeking to beautify yourself)|
|Depression (You're seeking happiness)||Guilt (You're seeking to redeem yourself)|
|Stress (You're seeking relief)||Positive Feelings (You "deserve it" or "earned it)|
|Inadequacy (You're seeking to better yourself)|
There's nothing wrong with enjoying the resources we've been blessed with as long as we're debt-free, tithing and acting generously toward those who are less fortunate. But an epidemic of overindulgence has pillaged the personal finances of Americans. According to the Center for American Progress, household debt averaged 133.7 percent of disposable income in late 2007, a record high. With savings at the lowest level since the Great Depression, many consumers are relying on credit cards to pay essentials such as medical bills, car repairs and rent.
Pain and prevention
Experts recommend redirect spending urges into activities (such as date night with your spouse) that may meet the underlying need. I also find it helpful to pray for wisdom before I enter a store.
Here are some additional tips to consider during the Christmas season (and year-round):
Carefully consider if you're looking to retail therapy for deeper answers. Are you shopping with your head or shopping with your heart?
Erin Prater, her husband and her vast coupon collection
live in Pueblo, Colo.
Let's face it, who hasn't felt like a shopaholic from time to time? We all get carried away occasionally. I felt Erin hit the proverbial shopaholic nail on the head. Hopefully these suggestions on emotional shopping will help all of us with those occasional shopaholic binges.
You might print and keep these suggestions with you the next time you go shopping. A little reminder about the reasons for a shopaholic binge and the prevention suggestions might make our wallets a little fatter and out closets a little leaner.
And, with the economy being what it is, we could all probably use these shopaholic helps.
Go to: ADD-ADHD
Go to: ADD & Organizing
Go to: Causes of Stress
Go to: Clutter Help
Go to: Compulsive Hoarder
Go to: Helpful Articles
Go to: Procrastinate
Go to: What is S.A.D.
A great book to consider is Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self Defeating Behavior.
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