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Is online shopping the next danger zone for compulsive buyers?

It might be easier to kick our shopping addictions if the temptations existed only outside our of homes, but with the growing popularity of online shopping, we’re not even safe there.

Though there are several papers that focus on compulsive shopping, not as many have factored into their research the impact of online shopping. However, I recently read a paper by Susan Rose and Arun Dhandayudham that focused on just this. They explored some of the positive and negative feelings people experienced when online shopping, and how might these emotions trigger a compulsive buying binge.

This study cites seven variables that can predict the likelihood of someone developing an online shopping addiction: low self-esteem, low self-regulation, negative emotional state, enjoyment, female gender, social anonymity, and cognitive overload. The main finding of their research was that, just like with regular shopping addictions, the actual experience of shopping online may provoke enough negative behaviours that a shopping addiction is induced.

These results weren’t necessarily surprising, but important to be shared nevertheless. If you have any clients (or perhaps you yourself) whose main downfall comes when shopping online, sharing these findings with them may be beneficial to their treatment plan.

Are You A $mart Woman?

If you already consider yourself one, The $mart Women podcast series will help you maintain your smarts, and if you’re not, the series will help you become one.

Sponsored by Payne Capital Management and hosted by Michelle McKinnon, the series seeks to help women “get smart” with their money and is a great resource.  Recently, I was a guest on this series and was able to go into depth on a variety of topics related to overshopping that may be of help to you and your loved ones.

Listening to the Podcast Will Give You Insight Into:

  • How to tell if you’re a shopaholic. For example, if you can afford what you buy, could you still be a shopaholic?
  • How to dial back your shopping. Michelle’s own shopping experience prompted her important questions on this subject.
  • How to evaluate if your purchases are necessary.  I explain the model I’ve developed for recording and evaluating expenditures in such a way that you get to see very clearly what you could be saving each week if you were only buying things that were necessary.
  • Male shopaholics and how they differ from female shopaholics.
  • How to promote lasting change. I talked about what my experience has been in terms of how people make changes and what the necessary steps are to promote lasting change.
  • Why it’s so hard to face this problem and how to find effective help once you do.

In addition, I talked about my own journey from compulsive buyer myself to specializing in studying and working with compulsive buyers.

You can listen here to learn more.

For Smart Cookies, Less Spending and More Saving is a Piece of Cake!

How do you rationalize your overshopping and overspending?

Do you talk to friends about this?  

Do some of them do the same thing?

Stopping overshopping and ending overspending can actually be easier when you’re joining with others that are facing the same challenges.  The “Smart Cookies” are a group of five young women that have proven this very point.  Inspired by Oprah’s Debt diet series, they came together with a common goal of less spending and more saving.  Weekly meetings and making small changes in their everyday routines resulted in enormous differences in their lives.  You might want to try this with friends who are also struggling.
To learn more, click here.

Are You Using This Prescription Drug? It Might Explain Your Compulsive Shopping

Are you taking Aristada or Abilify?

Have you begun to shop compulsively, or has your compulsive shopping gotten more pronounced?

Both of these medications, sold under the generic name aripiprazole, have been associated with compulsive shopping and spending, as well as other compulsive behaviors such as binge eating, gambling, and sex. Until now the only side effect listed on the drug’s label was compulsive gambling, which according to the FDA, does not sufficiently convey the scope of what users could experience from using the drug.  Additionally, a class action suit has recently been launched on behalf of Canadian Abilify users.  While none of these compulsive behaviors are a frequent side effect and they cease when the medication is stopped or the dose is lowered, beginning now, the drug’s packaging and patient guides will add new warnings about these other potential side effects.

To read more, click here.

Are You Losing the “Rewards Game”?

We live in a world where it is now common practice for airlines, hotels, and even credit cards to offer us perks to encourage us to spend money.   Using these programs may not always be as good of an investment as they seem. While healthy use of a reward program can be smart and effective, many people find themselves instead struggling against the pull of the “rewards game” and dangerously overspending.  To learn more, click here.

How to Avoid the “Perfect Storm” of August Shopping

August is a time of huge seasonal pressure, when back-to-school deals, end-of-season sales and the fall fashion push all come together to create the perfect storm for overshopping. “Great deals” at the end of the season make it easy to think that stocking up for next summer makes a lot of sense, especially because the sales are so good. There are problems with this strategy, though. To read more, click here.
Wishing you a relaxed, temperate end of summer, with no perfect storm in the forecast.

Are You Giving Your Seasonal Shopaholic Credit Card Blanche?

We’re smack dab in the middle of Chanukah and there’s less than a week until Christmas, still plenty of time to limit holiday overspending and bring more meaning and merriment into your life.  I’ve written a piece, published yesterday in the Huffington Post that just might help you have a good, not a goods holiday–and not wake up to a whopping post-holiday hangover! To read it, click here.
At Stopping Overshopping, LLC, we are truly grateful for all the support you’ve shown us this year. Many of you open our broadcasts, make comments, send emails, and in other ways let us know that what we’re doing has helped you.  It’s music to our ears.
Wishing you a holiday filled with love and laughter…

Are You Raising a Shopaholic? The Story of Four Kids Glorified for Overshopping

Thanks to google alerts, I stumbled upon 12-Year Old Shopaholic and Other Big Spending Kids, an eye-opening and shudder-worthy British documentary, that aired this past June. Glorifying over-the-top spending, this 3-part series profiles four kids, ages 9 to 15 and their well-meaning, but confused and overindulgent parents whose own unresolved issues result in massive overspending, their financial fog so thick that even the one that blankets London can’t compete.

As a psychologist who specializes in the study and treatment of shopping addiction, I found the documentary disturbing, selling, as it does, a bill of goods that proclaims, “whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to shop.” My course of action was to offer a different, more cautionary analysis of these haphazard spending sprees and attitudes to as many people as I could, and what better place than Huffington Post.

To read my post on 12-Year Old Shopaholic and Other Big Spending Kids, click here.

Can Ethical Clothing Help Transform Your Relationship with Shopping?

“I have never been addicted to shopping. And yet I am all too familiar with the overwhelmingly strong pull followed by disgust and self-hatred, with the guilt, with the complete lack of joy in what I consumed.” So begins Emma’s guest post on Recovering Shopaholic, “Can Ethical Clothing Transform Your Relationship with Shopping?”  When peoples’ shopping and buying behavior are resonant with their values, an unhealthy relationship with shopping  can be  transformed into a highly satisfying one, argues Emma.  Ethical fashion,  fashion that’s not produced by child labor, in sweatshops or in such a way that our environmental resources are overstretched,  is better for the planet, the people producing the clothing, and for us because it relieves us of guilt and promotes a deeper sense of fulfillment.  Following your heart and your head toward more ethical clothing choices, no longer tainted by mixed feelings, will break the cycle of desperately wanting something, and regretting the purchase soon after making it. Instead, the contentment that comes from having made the commitment to only buy things that are ethically and fairly produced are a vote for the world you want to inhabit, a path that will land you squarely in the land of “enough.” Limit your purchases to those that feel right globally and personally. Finding clothing that fits our ethical values may take more time–but there’s nothing wrong with discarding “fast fashion”, and adopting a more methodical and mindful shopping style. You’ll feel satisfied instead of sorry because you’re selecting rather than seizing! To read Emma’s entire post, click here.

Hard-Wired for Giving?

Classical economic theory and the Darwinian principle of “survival of the fittest” both suggest that self-centeredness is the way to succeed. Edging out the competition, selfish people take the best mates and the best resources, goes the theory. However, new scientific studies suggest that instead, humans are actually hard-wired to be altruistic.


One school of thought holds that altruism exists to insure the survival of close kin. Another suggest that helping may maximize the survival odds of every member of a society. To improve your own prospects by contributing to the well-being of a strong collective sounds pretty Utopian. Several research studies within the last ten years suggest that giving is rewarding; pleasure centers and areas of the brain that promote social bonding light up when we give. It may, in fact, be our need for strong interpersonal relationships that incline us toward giving.

In one experiment, even though they knew that the money would come from their own “reward” accounts, subjects nevertheless decided to make a donation to a charity, which ran counter to their immediate “self-interest.” For many people, what happens in the brain when we give to charity is actually similar to ingesting an addictive drug or learning you’ve received a winning lottery ticket, suggests one of the researchers, Bill Harbaugh, of the University of Oregon.

Even if it turns out that we’re hard-wired for giving, we shouldn’t minimize the effects that other people’s behavior, our environments and our cherished values have on the extent to which we act on our generous thoughts and inclinations.  That research is suggesting that healthy self-interest and generosity are not strange bedfellows is the best news around!

To read more about this research, click here.