Are You a Shopaholic? Signs to Know

By Stacey Leasca · October 03, 2023 · 7 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Are You a Shopaholic? Signs to Know

People shop for all kinds of reasons — to acquire the things they need or want, to browse stores for new and interesting finds, and (sometimes) for the little thrill that comes with snagging a great deal.

For some people, however, shopping crosses the line into unhealthy territory. If you tend to hit the stores every weekend, spend the majority of free time planning for and making purchases, and/or have have tallied up some major debt as a result of your frequent shopping, you may actually be addicted to shopping.

Known as oniomania or Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD), shopping addiction is a behavioral disorder that involves compulsive buying as a way to feel good and avoid negative feelings like stress and anxiety. Like other types of addictions, a shopping addiction can take over as a preoccupation that leads to problems in other areas of your life.

Read on to learn some of the signs of being a shopaholic and ways to curb the habit.

4 Shopaholic Symptoms

People who are addicted to shopping often get a sense of emotional relief right after buying something. They also tend to spend more time and money on shopping than they can afford, and many get into financial problems — such as large amounts of credit card debt — as a result of their overspending.

Below are four signs that you may be addicted to shopping.

💡 Quick Tip: Want to save more, spend smarter? Let your bank manage the basics. It’s surprisingly easy, and secure, when you open an online bank account.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


1. Experiencing a Rush of Excitement When You Buy

Shopaholics generally shop not because they really need something but rather for the sense of euphoria they experience when they’re shopping.

Similar to a drug addiction, compulsive shoppers will often experience a “high” or an adrenaline rush from the act of purchasing something. The brain then associates shopping with this pleasure and the person wants to try and recreate that feeling over and over again.This pattern can be used by a shopaholic to fill an emotional need or override a negative emotion.

2. Experiencing Post-Shopping Regret

Unfortunately, the high shopaholics experience is typically short-lived and later gets replaced by negative feelings, including shame, remorse, and guilt.

Shopaholics will often feel guilty after spending money, whether they splurged on something expensive or snagged something on clearance. Despite any remorse that follows, though, they tend to be good at rationalizing any purchase if they’re challenged.

Buyer’s remorse can force a shopaholic back into a negative cycle, since they know shopping is a surefire way to chase away negative feelings, at least temporarily.

Recommended: 7 Strategies to Stop Spending Money

3. Accumulating Unopened Goods

Though shopaholics enjoy shopping, they often don’t care all that much about their purchases when they get home or when their online orders arrive in the mail. In fact, the items they purchase often end up unopened and shoved in the closet or under the bed.

Those living with a shopping addiction can actually develop hoarding tendencies as they accumulate more goods than they need and yet continue buying.

4. Concealing Shopping Habits

Shopaholics will often try to conceal their shopping habits from their spouses, family members, coworkers, and friends. This is often due to feelings of shame and/or the fact that they are shopping and spending money at the expense of their job or loved ones.

Normal Shopping vs Compulsive Shopping

If you enjoy shopping and make the occasional splurge, does that mean you are a shopaholic? Not necessarily. There are several distinct differences between normal shopping and compulsive shopping. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of normal shopping versus compulsive shopping.

Normal Shopping

Compulsive Shopping

No addictive or compulsive componentResembles addictive behavior
Purchases are needed and usedPurchases are often not needed and go unused
Typically isn’t followed by negative emotionsOften followed by guilt, remorse, and shame
Does not lead to financial problemsContinues despite negative financial consequences
No secrecy involvedSecrecy is often involved
Occasional splurgesFrequent overbuying

Treating Compulsive Shopping

If you feel you have a shopping problem, don’t despair. It’s never too late to address the issue and regain control of your spending. Here are some strategies to try.

Understanding Your Triggers

Consider keeping a journal of how you feel when the shopping urge hits: Are you bored? Angry? Anxious? Do you feel the desire to buy new things after you spend time with a certain person, spend time on social media, or watch certain shows on TV?

Tracking your triggers can provide insight into what drives you to want to shop and how you can better manage (or avoid) those triggers in the future.

Recommended: Getting Back on Track After Going Over Budget

Developing Other Coping Strategies

Overcoming any addiction typically requires learning alternative ways of handling the stress of everyday life. You might come up with a list of non-shopping activities you find relaxing and enjoyable, such as calling a friend, watching a movie, reading, going for a walk, listening to music, or engaging in a hobby. You can consult your list when you get the overwhelming urge to shop. This can help you break the cycle of using shopping as a way of trying to feel better about yourself.

Recommended: How to Track Your Monthly Expenses: Step-by-Step Guide

Delaying Gratification

Another way to deal with impulsive or compulsive shopping is to establish a waiting time before you make any purchases. If you see an item you want to buy, put the purchase on pause for a week (a 30-day pause is even better). Tell yourself that If, at the end of the waiting period, you still want the item, and can afford it, then you can go ahead and buy it. You may find, however, that by delaying the purchase, you lose interest in the item and opt not to buy it after all.

Seeking Expert Help

If you think you may be addicted to shopping and can’t seem to get a handle on it on your own, it can be worth seeking professional help.

A mental health professional may be able to help you understand the emotional roots of your compulsive shopping and offer strategies to help you overcome the problem. In some cases, medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help alleviate underlying mental health problems that could be contributing to a shopping addiction.

You might also benefit from financial counseling, particularly if your shopping behavior has left you in debt. A financial advisor can help you set up a spending budget that allows you to pay off expensive debt, while also building — or rebuilding — your savings.

💡 Quick Tip: Want a simple way to save more everyday? When you turn on Roundups, all of your debit card purchases are automatically rounded up to the next dollar and deposited into your online savings account.

Letting Your Savings Grow With SoFi

You can manage both your spending and saving all in one account with a SoFi Checking and Savings account.

When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What are the signs of being a shopaholic?

Signs that your shopping habit has crossed the line into an addictive behavior include:

•   You shop primarily to feel happy or to relieve stress.

•   You often buy things you don’t need or can’t afford.

•   You’re always thinking about things you plan to purchase.

•   You often obsess or stress over shopping for a specific item.

•   You often feel regret or guilt about things you’ve purchased.

•   You have a closet full of unopened or unused items from previous shopping sprees.

•   You hide your shopping habits from others.

•   Your financial situation is suffering because of your shopping.

What is the root cause of shopping addiction?

Negative feelings, such as stress, anxiety and loneliness, are often the underlying causes of shopping addiction. Shopping can provide a distraction from these unpleasant emotions and help you feel more in control. It can also elicit a kind of psychological “high,” which is why compulsive shoppers often seek this behavior out again and again.

How do you cure a shopping addiction?

People who are addicted to shopping often respond well to various treatments, including:

•   Antidepressant medications

•   Talk therapy

•   Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

•   Self-help books

•   Support groups

•   Financial counseling


SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SOBK0923033

All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store
SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender