CNN Money is featuring the story of a compulsive shopper with an addiction to the activity. She’s 36 years old (which, as I get older, seems increasingly younger) and her shopping spree began when her fourth child was born and she stopped working to live off her husband’s $140,000 annual income. This provided her with more time to shop at Gymboree.
Some time later, the $140,000 per year turned into $70,000, but the spending habits between the couple remained the same. “I haven’t balanced my checkbook in four years,” confesses [the husband]. Add a staggering $600 to $700 a month in bank overdraft fees to their mountain of debt.
Yikes! They’ve since turned the corner, have stopped spending, and are on their way to repaying debt. Here is their financial planner’s advice: Cut expenses further, renegotiate debt, save for the future, and stay sober.
Are you a shopping addict? CNN provides five signs that determine if you may be in trouble (taken right from the article):
1. You get a “rush” from shopping. Buying gives you a “high” or a “pick me up” similar to downing a few alcoholic drinks.
2. You buy items you don’t need. Your closets are full of unused possessions that still have the price tags attached.
3. You keep purchases secret. You lie about how much you’ve spent or what you’ve bought, and hide packages and receipts.
4. You buy with money earmarked for bills. Your debts are mounting, you’re maxing out credit cards, and collectors are calling.
5. You feel guilty and ashamed. Your shopping habits are causing problems in your relationships and interfering with work, but you still can’t manage to stop.
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published July 22, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.