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Thread: Impulsive Shopping

  1. #1
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    Impulsive Shopping

    I've started this thread because I've noticed I have a very severe impulsive shopping problem. I will buy something today, only to regret it tomorrow, either because I don't really like it or because I didn't really need it. And many times I can't return these, either because it was on sale, it can't be returned for my money, because there was nothing better at the store to exchange it for, I've removed all the tags, or too much time has passed since I bought it. Then I'm consumed with this horrible feeling of guilt, like I've just thrown my money to the trash and sooner rather than later I will give away this new acquired item because I hate to accumulate stuff I don't use in my closet.

    I think I've been like this as long as I can remember. It's gotten so bad, that sometimes I will keep something in my closet for months, not having worn or used it once, and sometimes it even still has the tag on it.

    I've only recently come to realize this is actually a serious problem, before I would just think I was very indecisive. Does anyone else have this problem?

  2. #2
    FORT Fogey lambikins's Avatar
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    happybanana: It's not so much called "impulsive" buying (which many people do and are quite happy with the results) as it's called compulsive buying and it's the symptoms of some pretty serious psycological disorders. My Mom had it and it got worse and worse with time; she had new things (never opened or price tags removed) in all the closets, under the beds, filling the basement, in rented storage areas, etc. She even had part time jobs just so she could have money to buy THINGS! She never got better because she never felt that there was anything wrong with her, which is why she died a 5 times divorced lonely old lady. I took nothing from the estate when she died.

    Here's some information on the disease and a link to the page with multiple links on the bottom. Good luck! We need you to truly be a HAPPY banana, again!

    "What is compulsive shopping and spending?
    People who "shop 'till they drop" and run their credit cards up to the limit often have a shopping addiction. They believe that if they shop they will feel better. Compulsive shopping and spending generally makes a person feel worse. It is similar to other addictive behaviors and has some of the same characteristics as as problem drinking (alcoholism), gambling and overeating addictions.
    Compulsive shopping or spending can be a seasonal balm for the depression, anxiety and loneliness during the December holiday season. It also can occur when a person feels depressed, lonely and angry. Shopping and spending will not assure more love, bolster self-esteem, or heal the hurts, regrets, stress, and the problems of daily living. It generally makes these feelings worse because of the increased financial debt the person has obtained from compulsive shopping.

    How can you tell if you are a compulsive shopper?
    Shopoholics, when they are feeling "out of sorts, shop for a " pick-me-up." They go out and buy, to get a high, or get a "rush" just like a drug or alcohol addict. Shopping addiction tends to affect more women than men. They often buy things they do not need. Holiday seasons can trigger shopping binges among those who are not compulsive the rest of the year. Many shopping addicts go on binges all year long and may be compulisve about buying certain items, such as shoes, kitchen items or clothing; some will buy anything.

    Women with this compulsive disorder often have racks of clothes and possessions with the price tags still attached which have never been used. They will go to a shopping mall with the intention of buying one or two items and come home with bags and bags of purchases. In some cases shopololics have an emotional "black out" and do not remember even buying the articles. If their family or friends begin to complain about their purchases, they will often hide the things they buy. They are often in denial about the problem. Because they can not pay their bills their credit rating suffers, they have collection agencies attempting to get what is owed, may have legal, social and relationship problems. They sometimes attempt to hide their problem by taking on an extra job to pay for bills.

    How do you control and treat this condition?
    It is recommended that spending addicts seek professional counseling or a self-help group to deal with this problem. Addictive behaviors tend to come in clusters, so if you have an eating disorder, a problem with drugs or alcohol, or gambling, you may be a candidate for shopping addiction. Many communities have credit counseling centers that will also help with shopoholism.

    How do I prevent shopping binges?

    Pay for purchases by cash, check, debit card.
    Make a shopping list and only buy what is on the list.
    Destroy all credit cards except one to be used for emergency only.
    Avoid discount warehouses. Allocate only a certain amount of cash to be spent if you do visit one.
    "Window shop" only after stores have closed. If you do "look" during the day, leave your wallet at home.
    Avoid phoning in catalog orders and don't watch TV shopping channels.
    If you're traveling to visit friends or reltives, have your gifts wrapped and call the project finished; people tend to make more extraneous purchases when they shop outside their own communities.
    Take a walk or exercise when the urge to shop comes on.
    If you feel out of control, you probably are. Seek counseling or a support group such as Debtors Anonymous."

    http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/hints/shop.html
    Still crazy, after all these shears

    "lambikins, put the crack pipe down and back away from the keyboard." Unklescott

    "lambikins... I have come to the conclusion that you are the Jedi Master of the Kitchen on FORT!" SuperBrat

  3. #3
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    lambikins, you're right, I meant compulsive shopping. I never realized it was such a serious disorder that could get so out of control. I identify with many of its symptoms, for example I believe that I will feel better after I shop, I feel worse afterwards instead of better, it is mostly during the holiday seasons, I get a rush when I buy things, sometimes I'll go to the mall for one specific thing and end up buying other stuff, etc.

    Luckily, I can't get into financial debt no matter how hard I might try because my credit card has a small limit, and I avoid paying in cash if it's a big sum.

    I will look more into it, and for now I will just hold off on the shopping until I get my act together. I always did feel that I was filling some kind of void when I would shop so much. I think maybe that's what I should try and figure out.

    I think I can still be saved Thanks for the info, lambikins! I appreciate it.

  4. #4
    FORT Fogey lambikins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happybanana View Post
    I never realized it was such a serious disorder that could get so out of control.

    I think I can still be saved Thanks for the info, lambikins! I appreciate it.
    You are so, so welcome, happybanana. I've been blessed with being put into a lot of different situations and if some good can come out of that knowledge, than it paid off.

    I remember when I was working at a Jewish thrift store during my undergrad years. They pulled off of the Lake Shore Drive crowd and also could get tax write offs on donations so we had things there that you would NEVER see at other "thrift stores" :solid teak dining room tables, antique arms, pianos and high fashion clothes, still at thrift store prices.

    There was one youngish woman who would come in....daily...and buy as many bags of clothes as her arms could carry. She was pleasant and nice but I found it odd that I never-ever saw her in any of the clothes she bought from us; I guess I just thought that she was maybe buying for someone else and didn't wear them. Then one day, an older lady comes in; her mom! She begged us to "not sell anything to my daughter any more", as she was a compulsive shopper and had lost 100% of her credit cards, bank cards, etc., through compulsive shopping, and the only place that the young woman went, now, was our thrift store.

    According to the mom, ALL OF THE CLOTHES were bought by the daughter, for the daughter, but it wasn't the clothes she was interested in....it was the BUYING that she wanted. The entire basement of the mom's house and all of the closets were filled to the ceiling with the clothes, STILL IN THEIR BAGS WE GAVE HER, piled, one on top of each other!!! The mom had taken Polaroid photos to show us.

    Well, in those days, shop owners were people first and business owners second, so the shop owner agreed to NOT sell one more item to the 30 year old daughter. That afternoon, she came in and when she came up to the counter to buy her usual 4 garbage bags worth of clothes, we told her we couldn't "sell anything any more to her". She went hysterical, throwing the cash at us and grabbing the bags and running out the door! We never saw her again, so I don't know the ending to this story but it's stayed with me over the past 20 years.

    Remember, happybanana, that you income is directly tied to your buying. The more you make, the more you'll spend. If you don't make a lot now, than you may be spending what you don't think is substantial money, but the percentage of money spent could be high, especially in lieu of the fact that you aren't using 1/2, if not more, of what you buy.

    You also might think of joining a charity organization that is needing clothes so that you can start to donate the stuff you have and get a tax write off on them. At least you can get some of your money back that way and still do someone some good.

    Good luck to you and I sure hope that you get some help on this while it's still managable. Remember, no one does their own dentistry so it's NO SHAME to seek mental help. Sometimes, we need a professional. Love to you!
    Still crazy, after all these shears

    "lambikins, put the crack pipe down and back away from the keyboard." Unklescott

    "lambikins... I have come to the conclusion that you are the Jedi Master of the Kitchen on FORT!" SuperBrat

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    Wow, lambikins, your story proves just how bad it can get if one allows it. Sadly, I think a lot of people don't realize or won't admit that they have a problem.

    I've already gathered several bags with clothes and items that I don't use, many which I never did use, and have given them away to people who do need it.

    My plan is to set aside a very reasonable amount of money that I can spend monthly on shopping. My boyfriend will monitor my spending, so I know I can't cheat. And of course, he will also monitor WHAT I spend it on.

    Thanks, lambikins, for your support! I will keep you updated.

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    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    Good for you, Happybanana. I know a woman that literally fills a room of her house almost to the ceiling with shopping bags full of stuff. She'll go out to Walmart, Target, wherever and just buy bags of *crap*. Just stuff like hand towels, shoes that don't fit, sippy cups, and a whole array of things she doesn't need but were on sale/clearance. Then she dumps it in that room and never touches it again until her husband makes her clear out the room (which happens every few years). It's honestly disturbing, but how do you tell someone that you think they are mentally ill, especially if her family seems to begrudingly condone her behavior? Anyway, it really can get out of hand, so Im glad you're attempting to get a handle on it before it does.

    If you have a really hard time trying to stop, just try this. The next time you feel the urge to buy something you have no immediate need for, leave the store and think about it a few hours. That's a trick I started doing when i realized *I* was buying too much stuff I didn't need. After I'd leave the store, my rational side would usually win the day.
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."- Yoda

    "I'll just see where Providence takes me and try to look like I got there confidently." - Craig Ferguson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer View Post
    If you have a really hard time trying to stop, just try this. The next time you feel the urge to buy something you have no immediate need for, leave the store and think about it a few hours. That's a trick I started doing when i realized *I* was buying too much stuff I didn't need. After I'd leave the store, my rational side would usually win the day.
    I have a six week rule for purchases over a certain dollar amount (it varies depending on what my income is at the time). If I want something for six weeks - a leather jacket, a new DVD player, a really expensive whatever - then I know that it isn't just an impulse buy. Then, if I can afford it, I buy it. I have a problem with impulse buying and I just fight it by staying out of the stores - seems simple, but it works.

    One of my first shopping "partners" as an adult was burning her way through a million dollar plus trust fund and I was spending right with her. I still have trouble going into a store and NOT buying something. One way to fight it is to leave your credit cards at home! Better yet, do what I did and get rid of them!
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  8. #8
    FORT Fogey lambikins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer View Post
    If you have a really hard time trying to stop, just try this. The next time you feel the urge to buy something you have no immediate need for, leave the store and think about it a few hours. That's a trick I started doing when i realized *I* was buying too much stuff I didn't need. After I'd leave the store, my rational side would usually win the day.
    Quote Originally Posted by Critical
    I have a six week rule for purchases over a certain dollar amount (it varies depending on what my income is at the time). If I want something for six weeks - a leather jacket, a new DVD player, a really expensive whatever - then I know that it isn't just an impulse buy. Then, if I can afford it, I buy it. I have a problem with impulse buying and I just fight it by staying out of the stores - seems simple, but it works.
    Both Stargazer and Critical gave you some very good advice, happybanana. I especially liked Critical's Six Week Rule, which rules out all impulsive/compulsive buying.

    Because of how I was raised by my mom, I dragged her compulsive shopping habits into my own life, when I moved away from home, and it was detrimental to my first marriage. We were very wealthy so money was NO OBJECT (which made it even worse) and I had to have the "best of the best" times 3 or 4. I couldn't have ONE sterling silver flatware set...oh no...I had to have THREE of them, to match the THREE fine china sets that I had also purchased. Everything that you could get multiples of, I did. If I liked a top and it was available in 12 colors, I'd buy all 12 colors of them, figuring that I saved money by buying something I looked good in. Same went for shoes, purses and just about everything else. A divorce, 12 years later (for completely unrelated reasons) brought ALL of the extra money and shopping to a halt and it was my bankrupcy that led to my learning how to not overspend, which is something that I should have been taught by my parents, but they were too irresponsible to do so.

    Now, I'm so frugal that I have to think several days about just buying an "on sale" purse for $20.00 bucks that I'd like to own. But the upside of this, is that when my 20 year old truck finally died on November 30, I could write a check for a new car and have the funds to do so!

    A serious word of caution to you, happybanana about "...my plan is to set aside a very reasonable amount of money that I can spend monthly on shopping. My boyfriend will monitor my spending, so I know I can't cheat. And of course, he will also monitor WHAT I spend it on. "

    This is a HUGE can of worms you just. don't. want. to. do.!!!!! First, it's taking complete responsibility for your over-spending off of YOU (where it belongs) and it's giving over responsibility to your boyfriend. He is NOT the person who should be "monitoring your spending"; that, dear friend, is you! Also, secondly, by having your boyfriend be responsible for your actions, it places undo stress on the relationship should YOU decide to overspend and he has to reel you in.

    I know of what I speak. My second husband turned out to be a hard core drinker (he was on the wagon when we met) and when we'd go to a party, he'd have ME be "responsible" for counting his drinks and having him stop when he got to a pre-agreed upon limit. I can not tell you the fights, arguments and hurt feelings that happened when I had to watch him throughout each get together, tell him to stop, argue with him to stop, and then be assaulted with insults such as "you're NOT my mother" and "I know my limit, bitch!"

    If you and your boyfriend break up, who is going to be "responsible" for watching your spending habits then? A new boyfriend? An exiting friend? No, YOU are the only one who should be watching your spending and monitoring your habits.

    Aside from the good advice above, I'd like to add two things. One: bring a list with you everywhere of what you need and stick to the list. I use this method and with very few exceptions, I stick to it. Secondly, there are times that I fall backwards and get into a rare "shop til you drop" mood. I've found that if I take a shopping cart (like at Walmart), walk around the store, pick out everything that you want....and then walk to your car, driving away from the cart and the store, you can beat it! I've only done this a handful of times, but I've come to realize it's more the "thought of shopping" that I'm needing, not the actual stuff in the cart. Although I feel guilty for the poor clerk who has to put the cartful of stuff away, I'd feel worse having to buy it, and return it the next day, for over-shopping.

    Hope everyone's advice helps you, Dear!
    Still crazy, after all these shears

    "lambikins, put the crack pipe down and back away from the keyboard." Unklescott

    "lambikins... I have come to the conclusion that you are the Jedi Master of the Kitchen on FORT!" SuperBrat

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    Wild thang Rattus's Avatar
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    This is something that worked for me in the past when I had a serious flea-market addiction and very little money and a desperate need to remedy both problems. In Canada we have $1 and $2 coins, but you can use $2 bills instead - when I would go through the change at the bottom of my purse on the weekend, I would put all the toonies ($2 coins), each and every one of them, in a juice can that I had cut a slot in, drained and cleaned, so that I couldn't get them out without too much effort for lazy me to deal with. I had a hard and fast rule that toonies weren't to be spent for anything until I had an overwhelming urge to go a-fleamarketin' (or a-yardsalein'), whereupon I would open the can and discover that I had accumulated as much as $800. I started doing this about ten years ago, and while I'm doing much better financially now and could go shopping for unnecessary junk if I wanted to, I still can't bring myself to spend toonies and so I still collect them in a bank (the unbreachable can is no longer necessary as I have developed will-power), and I have also lost my taste for pointless accumulation. I anticipate having about $2,000 available for my holiday this summer.
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  10. #10
    FORT Fogey lambikins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rattus View Post
    This is something that worked for me in the past when I had a serious flea-market addiction and very little money and a desperate need to remedy both problems. In Canada we have $1 and $2 coins, but you can use $2 bills instead - when I would go through the change at the bottom of my purse on the weekend, I would put all the toonies ($2 coins), each and every one of them, in a juice can that I had cut a slot in, drained and cleaned, so that I couldn't get them out without too much effort for lazy me to deal with. I had a hard and fast rule that toonies weren't to be spent for anything until I had an overwhelming urge to go a-fleamarketin' (or a-yardsalein'), whereupon I would open the can and discover that I had accumulated as much as $800. I started doing this about ten years ago, and while I'm doing much better financially now and could go shopping for unnecessary junk if I wanted to, I still can't bring myself to spend toonies and so I still collect them in a bank (the unbreachable can is no longer necessary as I have developed will-power), and I have also lost my taste for pointless accumulation. I anticipate having about $2,000 available for my holiday this summer.
    What a wonderful, heartfelt and positive story you shared, Rattus! The secret to solving ANY problem is first acknowledging it and secondly, FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!!! I have a similar system, Rattus; to this day, despite a savings account and bank account, I save each and every bit of change at the end of the day and separate it out into Penny Banks/Nickel Banks/Dime Banks/and Quarter Banks. Each "bank" is ear-marked for a different reason: Penny and Nickel for Impulse buying and Dime and Quarter Banks for Christmas Speninding. Each time the banks are filled, I go to the bank, cash it in and put the money in little envelopes. This year, I had saved $1800 in loose change! I spent the Christmas money (as I was supposed to do), but still haven't spent the penny/nickel money, which is really saying something for me.

    My local bank adores my silly system and they applaud it. They say, "Hey, whatever works, keep doing it!"

    Congratulations on your turning your habits around and ending up with such self respect AND $$$$ !
    Still crazy, after all these shears

    "lambikins, put the crack pipe down and back away from the keyboard." Unklescott

    "lambikins... I have come to the conclusion that you are the Jedi Master of the Kitchen on FORT!" SuperBrat

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