Monday, January 11, 2010

Retail Therapy: Are You a Shopaholic?


Do you shop for therapy or necessity? In a day and age where there is so much to do, see, buy and become, it isn't surprising that we as North American's purchase tens of thousands of dollars per year in stuff per household. We never actually realize how much we have consumed until it is time to move! 

Why is it that while others have so little we all continue to spend like money is going out of style? Some shop for groceries, which are a necessity. Some shop for Christmas gifts, birthday presents and others just shop to shop. That's right, shopping as a form of entertainment to pass the time. Find out if you are a good shopper or if you are shopping for therapeutic reasons that you may have never even considered before. Shopping is fun, just don't make it all that you do for fun.

Signs that You Might be Shopping for Therapy

1. You shop after you get really disappointed, angry or need a breather. 

There is nothing wrong with going for a nice little window shopping experience now and then. There is a problem when you use it as a way to escape a current situation or reality. Many women in particular shop after a boyfriend has dumped them or they didn't get the promotion they were expecting. Some do it in the form of changing their image such as their appearance (clothes, hair, shoes, accessories) and others just simply buy whatever they see. These items in some way make them feel like they have replaced something that is missing in their life and heart. 

Like food to some people, shopping can act as a comfort. Often afterwards most realize that they never even use or wear these items that hang in their closets with tags. Men are guilty of this too, not just women, and their purchases can be just as expensive, if not more! The midlife crisis comes to mind as we think of flashy sportscars and an older gentleman in one, but younger guys are no different often times. While women generally go for shoes, handbags, clothing and jewelry, men generally go for gadgets, technology, cars and motorcycles. When the initial thrill of the new purchase is over, many are left with a mountain of debt.

2.Shopping for Entertainment.

It's Saturday and you're bored, you call up a friend and go shopping for the afternoon which gets followed up with a dinner and drinks. Does this sound familiar? You intended to just window shop but found that cute pair of heels on sale, a great belt and wandered the mall with a Starbucks' in hand. Then somehow after the shopping is over you are hungry and there isn't anything appealing at home. So, what's a girl to do? Eat out of course, and why not have a special drink to conclude another successful day of good shopping-NOT! 

You need to get a grip and find other forms of entertainment. This is not only costly, but  unhealthy. Why not get in a workout or take a cooking class, do some spring cleaning or spend some time volunteering or honing that new skill you promised to follow through with. Like other forms of entertainment, it allows most to take their mind off any problems and realities that exist. I'm not suggesting that shopping is a sin, nor is getting together as girls do, to have a nice day together. The problem in North America is that this is more often than not the norm, the weekend ritual. I think we are far more educated an interesting than to fill our time with needless, mindless shopping experiences again and again.

3.Searching for a Purpose. Some people truly have never sat down and determined what they want out of life, what their goals are and how to achieve them. Furthermore many are working at a job that does not fulfill them or allow them to be ignited with passion. There is then a longing for purpose in life. Many women are stay-at-home moms and are happy to be, but wonder if there is also another purpose for their life. So begins the next therapy session, shopping for purpose in life. Let's face it, when we clip coupons and look for great deals in the weekly flyers we feel empowered. We often then get it in our mind that we are going to get some great deals and conquer the stores. We now have a purpose, looking for the items on sale! It gives us something to do with our time ,and we experience a sense of reward when we come home with our bargains.Nothing is wrong with coupon clipping, saving money for your family and picking up necessities. When you look for reasons to incorporate more shopping into your day, it is a problem. Now might be a good time to re-evaluate what you want out of life and find a less-costly means of accomplishing that.

Just remember every time you shop, your credit card balance and interest increases, your bank account decreases and you get nothing but a false sense of purpose and happiness. When you pick up each item ask yourself if you really need it or if you simply want it? Next, ask yourself what this item solves and if you can live without it. Most of the items we purchase because they seem like a great deal, or they're the hot new product advertised on TV (think infomercials),  but we never really needed the items to begin with. Think about all the items you bought and have never really used. If you got dumped, shopping might make you feel better for an hour after making your purchases but after that you are still on your own to perhaps think about your current reality.

My goal is to help people in any way that I can. I have certainly been guilty of the first two at some point in time and want to see women in particular excel in life and drop all of the unnecessary things that can often rob us of our dreams, weigh us down and burden us with debt.

Does this describe anyone you know? 

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