I've done a few quizzes to determine if I'm a shopaholic and they agree I'm not an addict. I do display some of the behaviours of a shopaholic—going to the shops (or looking at online shopping sites) often, buying things to make myself feel better, finding ways to justify spending money, sneaking new purchases into the wardrobe so my boyfriend doesn't see them—but others not so much.
According to an expert in shopping addiction who was interviewed by the ABC earlier this year, the five signs you could be a shopping addict are:
Accumulating debt. My credit card balance is higher than I am comfortable with, but it's not out of control. It's nowhere near maxed out and is well below the average Australian credit card debt of about $4,300. Although I have less money in savings than I would like (don't we all?), I have more savings than debt. I don't struggle to pay my bills.
Hiding the problem. Yeah, I do sometimes try to hide new purchases from Luke (which is pointless because he'll always look at me and say, "Have I seen that before?" when I wear something new), but I don't try to hide my spending from anyone else. My friends all like shopping!
Relationship breakdown. Definite no on this one. Luke might occasionally mock me for my extensive shoe collection—especially for the new shoes I haven't worn—but it's not a source of tension. If I weren't paying my own way with rent and bills, he'd be entitled to take me to task, but it's my money and I can spend it how I want!
Compensation for negative feelings. Sometimes I have bought myself something new if I've been feeling down, but mostly I buy—bought—new things just because I like them or want them. It makes me happy to get parcels in the post, to wear new things, but I know that's only a fleeting pleasure, not real happiness. I don't believe stuff can make you truly happy.
Trying to stop but you can't. This isn't my first self-imposed break from shopping. I think I managed it for a month once before. Yeah, a whole month, and then I gave in and bought shoes. But this time is different. Really!
There are other reasons why I don't think I'm an out-of-control shopper. I have gone shopping and come away empty-handed and not bothered. I rarely pay full price for anything. I would never EVER drop a week's wages on ANYTHING (or even half a week's pay). Good shopping opportunities never factor into my choice of holiday destination (even though I will usually do a little shopping while I'm there). I do not consider shopping a hobby and even if I did, it wouldn't be my favourite one.
I ask myself questions before I make a purchase rather than handing over money willy-nilly: Do I really love it? Is it me? Does it fit me properly? Does it go with stuff I already own? Will I actually have an occasion to wear it (goodbye, pretty dress!)? Does it need hand washing, ironing, dry cleaning? Will the fabric wash and wear well? Do I own something like it already (my wardrobe is so extensive that the answer is often 'yes')? Is it good value for money?
Does that sound like the behaviour of an out-of-control shopper? I think not. So giving up shopping shouldn't be that hard, right?