Attention: Money 101 will no longer be available after May 31, 2021. After that time the Enrich financial literacy tool will be available at moving forward.

Spending - Heart Matters


6. Compulsive Spending

Compulsive spending is an addiction to spending money.

For many people, shopping means a trip to the market, new clothes for work or school or maybe needed household goods. For others, shopping can become an addiction and result in a financial nightmare for the shopper and their friends and family

Signs and symptoms of compulsive spending

  • Emotional Spending – Shopping or spending money as a result of feeling angry, depressed, anxious, or lonely
  • Having arguments – With others about your shopping habits
  • Feeling lost without credit cards – Actually going into withdrawal without them
  • Covering your tracks – Spending a lot of time juggling accounts or bills to accommodate spending
  • Buying items on credit – Rather than with cash
  • Feeling guilt – Feeling ashamed, or embarrassed after a spending spree
  • Lying – About how much money you spend or owning up to buying something, but lying about how much it actually cost
  • Feeling a rush – Or a feeling of euphoria with spending
  • Obsessing – Thinking obsessively about money
  • Going over your budget – Consistently creating financial strain as you spend above your income
  • Compulsive buying – You may go to buy one shirt, but you end up with six of them
  • Chronic problem – A continuous problem that gets worse over time
  • Hiding – Hiding purchases as if hiding shame and even opening secret credit card accounts
  • Returns – You return purchases due to guilt and shame, but once back in the shopping environment you end up on another shopping spree
  • Relationships suffer –  As you spend more and more time shopping, you create more and more debt, and cover up debt with lies and isolate yourself

If you think you may have a compulsive shopping problem, you should also speak with your healthcare provider and your friends and family about your issue. Recognizing a problem and taking the first step to seek help is often the first step to recovery.   Visit  for more information.

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