Are You a Compulsive Shopper? Signs and Solutions


Recently, I was on a morning drive radio show. The producer sent me an article on shopping revenge. According to a news report, a whole bunch of us will have a pandemic response of revenge shopping when COVID restrictions are listed. Well, I am not sure if this is an implanted suggestion to urge us to shop or if this is reality. The reason I question this is a lot of people have been shopping on-line due to boredom. Some have even become compulsive shoppers during COVID.

Shopping can be pandemic and non pandemic balm for those who are depressed, lonely and/or anxious. Shopping can also numb out feelings of anger and boredom. And yes, a lot of us have felt all these feelings. But when shopping becomes compulsive, it doesn’t end well. While it serves as a momentary pick-me-u. it ends in depression, financial hardship and relationship problems.

If you or someone you know tends to buy things that can’t be paid for or purchase items that are completely unnecessary, here are possible warning signs that compulsive shopping may be involved:

1)  You shop when you are emotionally upset.

2)  You feel a “high” or rush when you purchase things

3) You compulsively buy certain items like shoes, kitchen towels, etc.

4) You experience financial hardship as a result of too much buying.

5) You argue with others over your spending habits.

6) You frequently purchase items you don’t use.

7) You feel out of control when spending.

8) You spend too much time juggling accrued bills.

9) You accrue an unmanageable credit card debt.

10) You intend to buy one or two items but buy many more.

If you answered yes to several of these questions and need help with compulsive spending, try applying these strategies to help break the cycle:

1) Admit you have a problem.

2) Get rid of your credit cards and pay with cash or check only. Hide one card for emergency uses only. You may want a spouse or trusted friend to keep this card.

3) Make a list and only buy what is on the list. No exceptions.

4) Avoid sales and discount places that give “a deal”.

5) Avoid shopping channels on TV and catalogue and Internet orders.

6) Leave your money, cards and checks at home when doing errands.

7) Substitute another behavior for the urge to shop, e.g., walk, read, meditate or pray.

8) Call someone for accountability when you have the urge to shop.

When dealing with compulsive shopping, get to the root of the problem. Buying things will never fill that empty space inside. When you feel a negative emotion, find a healthy way to cope with it. Then, consider your spiritual life. Only a deeper and more intimate relationship with God will ever satisfy your cravings. Stuff can never fill a spiritual void.  Nor can it meet an emotional or relationship need. What need are you meeting through shopping?

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Dr. Linda Mintle Author, Speaker, Professor, Media Personality and Licensed Therapist Host of the Dr. Linda Mintle Radio Show, Faith Radio It is rare that a trained academic who speaks passionately to the heart of people providing real answers to real life problems is so relatable. Dr. Linda’s fun personality and expertise comes through whether she’s helping her audience stress less or make peace with their thighs! Dr. Linda has her Ph.D. in Urban Health and Clinical Psychology and is a national expert on mental health. She has specialized in the treatment of eating disorders, anxiety, depression and pain management. With 30 years of clinical experience working with couples, families and individuals, she brings her common-sense approach to people who want to live in positive mental health. Dr. Linda is also a bestselling author with 20 book titles to her credit, a radio host of the Dr. Linda Mintle show, professor, national speaker, winner of the Mom’s Choice Award, a national news consultant, featured writer for Beliefnet and hosts her own website. Her academic appointments keep her abreast of current research in her areas of expertise. Her media experience includes seven years as the resident expert for ABC Family’s Living the Life television show and regular appearances on network television and radio. It is often said that being with Dr. Linda is like having coffee with a friend. She makes the complicated issues of relationships and mental health easy to understand and applicable to everyday living. The ease she has with people, coupled with her clinical training and experience makes her a sought-after speaker on college campuses, conferences and special events. Whether she is doing a TV skit with Tim Conway or discussing teen violence with Queen Latifa, Dr. Linda will entertain, educate and integrate faith and mental health in everyday living.