Fight the addiction to shop

By Jennie Bragg, producer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- While many people have tightened their belts throughout the recession, some shoppers don't know their boundaries.

If you have a spending problem or you know someone who does, learning to cut back and reverse this unhealthy trend can be a process.

Impulsive shopping

First, recognize what kind of shopper you are.

An impulse shopper is the kind of shopper who goes to the grocery store to pick up eggs and milk and comes home with the cookies that are on display by the check-out counter. You don't need the item, but you just can't resist. The most important thing for this type of shopper to remember is to "be ready to pay for the consequences right then and there. That may dissuade you from the impulsive shopping; just doing it just for fun," suggests clinical psychologist, Jeff Gardere.

Weigh your needs versus your wants carefully before you get to the register and consider leaving your credit cards at home. "If you live on a cash basis it is a lot harder to fall into that behavior. Make a budget and track your spending each week, so you are constantly monitoring yourself," advises Jo Bittof, co-founder of actfinancially.com. And if possible, don't shop alone or with another person who has impulsive tendencies.

Compulsive shopping

Compulsive spending can be a bit trickier and a lot harder to rein in.

"Compulsive spending is almost like a self-medication. It makes you feel better when you go out there and spend. You get that high right way and then of course the crashing low comes when you have to look at your credit card bill later on," says Gardere.

First and foremost, a compulsive spender has to understand why he or she spends excessively and admit that it is a problem.

According to Bittof, compulsive shoppers "are doing what any addict does. Unfortunately, the drug of choice is spending for many people."

As with any addiction, Gardere suggests finding a support group. "Look at other people who are going through the same thing and talk to them about it."

Additionally, in order to plan for the future and clean up the past, Bittof adds, "A compulsive shopper needs financial counseling too, so that you have the complete package."

Talkback: What do you think the signs of a compulsive spender are? To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.92%3.97%
15 yr fixed3.00%3.08%
5/1 ARM3.48%3.44%
30 yr refi3.99%4.02%
15 yr refi3.10%3.16%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,132.70 -81.72 -0.45%
Nasdaq 4,963.53 -24.36 -0.49%
S&P 500 2,104.50 -6.24 -0.30%
Treasuries 2.00 -0.01 -0.69%
Data as of 3:05pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.81 -0.23 -1.43%
Apple Inc 128.46 -1.96 -1.50%
General Electric Co 25.99 0.10 0.39%
Microsoft Corp 43.85 -0.20 -0.47%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 16.68 -0.52 -3.02%
Data as of Feb 27

Sections

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett released his 50th annual letter to shareholders. The Oracle of Omaha thinks the next 50 years will be great and knows who will replace him. More

Potential presidential candidate says that improvement in unemployment rate is due to millions of jobless not being counted. More

With the death of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Star Trek's Spock, we remember his character's legacy: The technology we use every day. More

A social media frenzy about the color of a dress is bringing fame and fortune for one small British fashion company. More

The top 5 consumer complaints have to do with identity theft, debt collectors, imposters, telephone companies and banks. More