According to a Stanford University study, 17 million Americans or 6% of the population are compulsive spenders or shoppers. Researchers from the University of Florida reported that the average compulsive spender is carrying $23,000 in debt (not including a home mortgage). Compulsive spending can be thought of as a chronic tendency to purchase products far in excess of a person’s needs and resources. Are you a compulsive spender? At what point does a fun shopping habit become a problem behavior that needs to be addressed?
One of the main differences between compulsive spending and non-compulsive spending is that compulsive spending usually results in negative consequences. Some of these consequences are:
• Stress from increased debt or trying to figure out how to pay for everything
• Marital or relationship difficulties due to hiding overspending or lying about it
• Legal, family and relationship difficulties caused by massive credit-card debt
• Guilt and shame associated with the problem of compulsive spending
• Increased anxiety and depression
Compulsive spending is a symptom of a bigger problem. Compulsive spenders use shopping as a way to improve their mood or avoid troubling feelings like depression, sadness, anger, emptiness, boredom or low self-esteem.
Admitting that your spending is out of control is the first step to overcoming a problem. For free and confidential help for you or one of your dependents, contact your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for professional counseling, referrals or additional information. We’re here to help you.