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I'm a shopaholic, please help

(68 Posts)
afterthought Sat 05-Jul-14 06:07:39

Just that really, I'm a shopaholic and I can't stop. It has left me in debt which I feel like I'm desperate to get out of, yet even that isn't enough for me to stop.

I shop because I feel useless and worthless 99.9% of the time, having things makes me feel a 'success'. I had counselling but it made it worse.

I need to stop but I don't know how.

Please help sad

CatteLady Sat 05-Jul-14 09:14:48

Sorry you're feeling like this. My horrendous shopping addiction was part of a v v bad bout of depression - only treating this brought out under control.

I've had to stop my Venlafaxine as I'm pregnant, and feeling the twitchy shopping urge once again, despite having far too much bloody stuff already.

TalkinPeace Sat 05-Jul-14 17:52:01

What do you buy?
What prompts to to shop?
Online or bricks and mortar?

Onion peeling : peel off each layer at a time to get to the underlying reason and then you can deal with it.

If the debts are on credit cards, cut up the cards and convert the repayments from direct debits to standing orders.
Once the cards are cut up, you'll have a devil of a time getting new ones.

Then you can start to seek understanding of what it is about yourself that you do not like.

Tell me what is your best feature - in your opinion.
It can be an appearance thing or a skill or a characteristic, but what thing is the 0.1% of the time that makes you feel fab?

afterthought Sat 05-Jul-14 21:19:06

I'm more of an online shopper. I had to go shopping today for things for my Guide camp (always a pleasure as it isn't my money hehe) but I didn't buy a thing for myself. I picked up some bits but put them down - I'm able to talk myself out of things - this is progress in a way - 6 months ago I wouldn't have done. I think anxiety causes me to shop, even though I don't know what I'm anxious about.

It is mostly clothes I buy. I tend to get obsessions - for a while it was coats, now it seems to have moved onto trainers. I have to have something suitable for every eventuality.

The debt is on a loan, but I have a credit card with the option to transfer money at fairly low interest. I have long since cut up the card but most months I seem to transfer as much as I've paid off the loan.

I find it very hard to list anything positive about myself - probably the reason I am obsessed with clothes. I know why I can't - a father who allowed my stepmother to treat me like a 2nd class citizen and a string of emotionally abusive relationships. The only time I feel good is when I am with my Guides and the other leaders - it is the only place I've ever felt I fit in.

TalkinPeace Sat 05-Jul-14 21:40:52

You are a guide leader.
You enrich other people's lives.
By definition that makes you a better person than most because you give up your time for free to enrich the lives of others.
I would NEVER have the patience to put up with other people's shitty kids.
You have my respect.

Your childhood is as past as the Crimean war.
Stop blaming it for stuff and rise above it : become the adult you now are who has the respect and friendship of worthy people
because you are worthy of respect.

Stop buying clothes until you have
(a) sold everything that is still BNWT (in ebay speak)
(b) worn everything else at least twice.

HygieneFreak Sat 05-Jul-14 21:49:45

I think i have a shopping addiction.

I replace stuff in the house that there is nothing wrong with.
I spend alot on 21 month old dd. Particularly clothes, shoes and toys.
I buy alot online, and if i dont like it etc, i just never send it back.

I spend approximately £1000 a month on non essential items.

I just waste money

TalkinPeace Sat 05-Jul-14 22:05:22

That sounds more like boredom than any "addiction"

I'm not the world's most sympathetic person to "shopping addiction" because a lady I knew used it as her excuse for stealing nearly £1/4 million. She comes out of prison later this year.

Excessive shopping comes down to opportunity and boredom.
Reduce the opportunity and find better things to do with your time.
STUFF does not lead to happiness.
Fulfilment leads to happiness.

afterthought Sat 05-Jul-14 22:12:26

TIP - I teach also so most of my life is spent with other people's kids (maybe that's why I need the retail therapy ..... only joking!).

I will try to put my childhood behind me, as hard as it is especially as it still goes on. I wish I could walk away from that side of the family as I keep getting hurt - but like many I find it hard to just walk away.

I have a massive pile for ebay, so that is something to get working on - I'm trying to only get rid of stuff I definitely don't use rather than stuff I use occasionally to prevent my re-buying.

Despite having such an addiction, I manage my budget for bills, food etc really well - it is just that whatever I pay off my debt I tend to spend on random crap.

HygieneFreak - do you know why you shop? Is it causing a financial strain? If I didn't have the debt mine wouldn't be such a problem. I tried to shock myself once by writing down everything I spent - it didn't work though as deep down I knew how much I spent.

HygieneFreak Sat 05-Jul-14 22:18:58

Im not in any debt so its not causing a financial strain.

I think the cause of it is growing up with no money, and having a nmw job and £30 a month spare for a few years.

Then i met dh, and within 6 months his business really took off and i found myself with money to spend that i had never had before.

I dont buy clothes for myself, but i buy dd nice things and lelli kelly shoes even though she gets 7 weeks out of each pair.

Its stupid really.

afterthought Sat 05-Jul-14 22:19:09

You're right - stuff doesn't make anyone happy. I can understand why you wouldn't be sympathetic to shopping addiction - it isn't an excuse to steal. I may have debts but at least I know I've never stolen off anyone. I used to think 'shopping addiction' was one of those made up things where people try to excuse their overspending as though it isn't their fault. Part of me still thinks that's true and I don't understand why I keep doing it.

TalkinPeace Sat 05-Jul-14 22:21:18

All teachers have my respect : DH qualified as a secondary teacher and spends much of his time in schools. Its a bugger of a job.

Families are a PITA : I have a dire relationship with much of mine, but concentrate on breaking the links and having a fab relationship with DH, my kids and those of my family who are worth it. The rest are kept at arms length - it hurts less.

Go for it on the ebay stuff : selling is a real buzz, better than buying IMHO

Heatherbell1978 Sun 06-Jul-14 09:20:02

I sympathise OP and I'm guessing there's something in your background thats caused it? I'm not a shopping addict but I'm frivolous with my money or at least I was. I have a good job and spent years when I was single flashing money on 3 holidays a year, constantly buying clothes and generally just not thinking about saving. Bonuses then dried up, and I had to start tightening my belt and now I'm married with a baby on the way but always think back with regret about the thousands of pounds I wasted over those years as I could really do with some of it now. I was bullied a lot as a kid in high school because I never wore the 'right clothes'. My mum just didn't care about that kind of stuff and although my family was well-off, I was sent to school in hand me downs from my older brother. I think that triggered the clothes obsession. Even now I get a bit obsessed with 'needing' something but my trick is to wait a few weeks before buying and most of the time, I've moved on. My DH is good with his money and being pregnant has made me focus less on myself too. Hope everything works out for you.

afterthought Sun 06-Jul-14 18:42:34

Heather - a lot of your post rang true for me (except for having money to spend - mine has always been on credit cards). I have a good income now, but am so poor because of the debt.

I have so much stuff and it doesn't bring me pleasure. I'm actually embarrassed by it. I don't want people noticing all the new stuff I have all the time, so there is only one way to stop it.

I've had a massive clear out today - some stuff has gone to charity, some on ebay. Normally, when I ebay I put everything on at 99p, but have put stuff on at the minimum I'd be happy with once fees are taken care of.

I had a few errands to do today so I went out without my purse. They were only local so no danger of getting stuck somewhere with no transport.

I need a new mantra - 'this stuff will not make me happy!'.

TalkinPeace Sun 06-Jul-14 20:58:59

no stuff will make you happy
DH and I are rather obsessive collectors, we have a house full of certain items
they are all things that will either grow or are unique
and we buy them with spare cash
so they bring us amusement and some are investments (bought ten years ago for £185, current market price over £2000 but not for sale)

but clothes and non permanent items have never appealed.
FFS I've got £30k burning a hole in my pocket to buy two new cars and I just want to keep our current ones!

afterthought Sat 12-Jul-14 21:08:55

Today has been somewhat stressful (over something really small). I have a Guide camp coming up soon and all day I've been stressing about getting a new pair of wellingtons as I don't want to take my 'nice' ones in case they get ruined.

My mum had a massive thing about not using new things and keeping them for best, I think it rubbed off on me. Today I had a revelation. I'm not going to buy a new pair of boots for camp (after all, wellingtons are meant to be worn in a muddy field); but I will take my nice ones and if they get ruined (unlikely) I will replace them.

I have a massive stockpile of stuff I've accumulated for when my stuff gets ruined. My stuff doesn't get ruined as I look after it. I never have that joy of getting something new when I need it as I just go to my stockpile. Also, when I buy something, it doesn't get used straight away as it goes bottom of the pile. My counsellor from a few years ago thought I had issues to do with loss (due to family circumstances) and it could be manifesting in this way.

For now, no more stockpiling.

TalkinPeace Sat 12-Jul-14 22:33:49

THat is a rather excellent mental breakthrough. Well done.
"Stuff" is for using or for hanging on the wall and looking at.

Heatherbell1978 Sun 13-Jul-14 20:22:26

We'll done afterthought, definitely sounds like progress! I do something similar like when I find a really nice pair of pumps for example, I feel the need to buy another pair in a different colour incase the others get 'ruined'. Or if I find a top that fits well, I'll consider buying it in a different colour for the same reason. Struggling a bit at the mo with maternity wear as I know I shouldn't be buying too much stuff I won't wear again so it's kind of forcing me to wear the same stuff a lot. My revelation is that clothes can be washed!!

afterthought Sun 13-Jul-14 20:44:38

I'm glad it isn't just me that does it. Trouble is I accumulate so much, by the time I've worn out the original, my 'surplus' is completely out of fashion!

I've been a bit annoyed with my progress on ebay. It is impossible as a personal seller these days. I researched other prices for my items and made sure I undercut the businesses as knew people would be more likely to choose a business. The stuff I am selling is all branded, all new but without tags (obviously new from the photos). I've priced it at 25% of the new price, with free p&p - not a single bid sad

I've reduced the prices a bit, but I'm not reducing them any further. I know everyone wants things as cheap as possible, but I'm fed up with all the really cheeky offers. No you can't have something that is brand new and cost over £100 for £5, with free postage . I'd rather give it to charity!

TalkinPeace Sun 13-Jul-14 20:49:08

10 day auctions, start on a Friday to end on a Monday between 7 and 9 pm, all bids will happen in the last ten minutes
hold your nervve
I've been selling on ebay for 13 years :-)

NEVER drop your price
Tuesday end is even better
BIN is for wimps

afterthought Sun 13-Jul-14 21:28:52

I had set my auctions to end at 8pm on Friday, but nothing sold. I've dropped the prices for the relist, but not too much that it would make it not worth my while. Maybe I'll try a Monday or Tuesday instead.

TalkinPeace Sun 13-Jul-14 21:37:47

Friday is the worst day .... Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, between 7 and 9pm UK
pay for nothing extra
am happy to check your listings if it helps

afterthought Mon 21-Jul-14 19:23:34

Only half my items sold, and only for my minimum price but at least I had set the minimum at a price that was acceptable. I've re-listed to a better end time smile

I finished last month significantly into my overdraft as by the time I got to the point I wanted to change the damage had been done. Normally, I would transfer money from my credit card (low interest) so I can start from scratch. I do that every month though and just end up with a bigger credit card debt.

I have made the decision that instead I will try to get back on an even keel by reigning it in this month. It should be easy. I am away on Guide camp for a week (already paid for) and got a holiday (paid for). Only got 2 weeks to account for. I've paid the bills which has cleaned me out but I'm owed some money for things I've bought for Guides and work and have some stuff on ebay.

I started the month £800 overdrawn, I'm determined to finish at 0.

TalkinPeace Mon 21-Jul-14 22:23:54

you are doing brilliantly.
THe finances will follow but you are getting your head into the right place.
Well done.

Ebay can be a bit scary but you took a good approach and anything is better than nothing when disposing of surplus.

ItsDinah Tue 22-Jul-14 21:03:21

There's been a lot of research,in the USA and Canada, on what therapy works to get alcoholics to stop drinking. They discovered that no therapy made any significant difference to whether or not people gave up .None of the expensive therapies or rehabs worked any better than a doctor just telling you to stop. What did help was making a fresh start. A new job and house had significant effect. You have done the therapy and you know you have to stop. What fresh start could you make? Could you turn over a new leaf and be kind to yourself? You know that it isn't kind to deluge children with stuff as a substitute for true kindness,affirmation and encouragement.

Baden Powell might have advised you to pour a cup of cold water down your sleeve to cure yourself of a bad habit. This was his recommendation to stop boys swearing. Perhaps a photo of Baden on your computer would remind you not to shop online,particularly if you knew you should be spending your time running the local Guiding Archive site or the outreach site for home schooled or getting organised for the car boot sale or charity clothes sale.

afterthought Thu 24-Jul-14 08:10:30

I can imagine that a fresh start really does work and perhaps would be the best thing for me, but it isn't that easy. I love my job, where I live and my Guide group which are the 3 main things in my life so I wouldn't want to walk away from them. The thing that I would like to change isn't under my control, so I just have to live with it.

My fresh start needs to come from within. I think my mindset has changed. I don't spend as much in shops anymore. I think I get embarrassed carrying the bags so I've stopped doing it (the spending money also seems more real). I think I'm getting to grips with the online spending. I spend much less time browsing for things I could buy than I used to.

I don't think having a picture of someone on my computer would work - the problem is too complex for me to just look at a picture and stop. I also don't think I need to guilt myself by saying I should be spending the time doing any more voluntary work (I do enough!) although it is a nice idea. I'm really busy organising our summer camp at the moment and I have had less time to shop so keeping busy is definitely a good thing, but it needs to be something that is guilt free if that makes sense - probably something that is just for me rather than for other people.

I faltered this morning and nearly transferred the money to cover my overdraft form my credit card which is what I normally do as it reduces the anxiety of being overdrawn (ridiculous I know, it is still debt!). But I knew if I did that I would spend all the money I'm owed plus my ebay earnings on more stuff so I'd be another £700 in debt. So I shall persevere with trying to finish the month as close to £0 as I can.

I've also borrowed more to reduce the anxiety of having overdrafts etc which is a vicious cycle. I need to stop getting the anxiety in the first place, which there is only one way to do that. I've tried to do this for years and always said 'this time I mean it' or 'something feels different this time'. I hope I'm right this time, I seem to have a determination I've not had before.

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