The answer c9814708_san be, I believe, both.

For me, and many people like me, shopping certainly had many of the elements of addiction.

I would obsess about buying something. I would seek out opportunities to go shopping although I knew it was damaging my relationships and credit rating. I’d often have trouble stopping and would feel restless and irritable or even depressed, when I stopped or hadn’t been shopping in a while. I denied I had any problems with money and was never open about my purchases regarding price or quantity. I would also be out of control sometimes e.g. buying 2 pairs of shoes when I only needed one or none at all!! One of my clients told me of going into a shop to buy a white t-shirt and coming out a short time later with many t-shirts of assorted colors!

These are all common characteristics of addictive behaviors as described here http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/hints/addictiveb.html .

So, I now readily admit, I had a spending or shopping addiction for many years.

For me shopping was not the cure. It was merely a temporary patch or plaster over some wounds, namely my low self esteem.

Buying stuff made me feel better about myself and more worthy of others’ love and attention, in the moment.

It was temporary at best.

Many people who use shopping, or spending money, as a salve for their wounds report having feelings of remorse and even self loathing afterwards. They regret that they have again succumbed to the seduction of shopping. Their self esteem is hit again as, once more, they have broken the promise they made to themselves to stop using their credit card.

Just as alcoholics wake up the next day and regret last night and vow to, this time, never drink again, so does the shopaholic regret the shopping and vow to never do it again. They promise that they will pay off their credit cards and never use them again.

I would, secretly, make statements like that all the time and then further knock my self esteem by not keeping my promise to myself. I couldn’t be relied on, even by me.

Now what about the other part of the equation…that retail therapy is a cure?

For many people an afternoon of shopping is a very enjoyable way to spend time, either with friends, or alone. The buzz and visual stimulus of the shops and malls make them feel uplifted and brighter. It elevates their mood.

One of the questions I ask people when they start working with me is about their attitudes to shopping. If they describe shopping as a hobby it does raise a red flag for me.

Does it mean they are addicted? Not always.

However, it is worth remembering that shops and shopping malls are in business to sell stuff and make a profit. If you are spending lots of time there, the chances are you are going to spend more money than you intend and often, than you can afford.

So if, for you, the occasional outing to the shops lifts your mood and makes you happy then by all means go for it, at least occasionally. We are meant to be happy.

If, on the other hand you find yourself spending more time or money than you intended when you go shopping maybe it is time to evaluate these trips and find other less expensive hobbies or ways of making you feel better or relieve the boredom.

If you found yourself being a bit alarmed or all too agreeable, when you read the first part of this article contact me and set up a clarity/strategy call with me and we can talk about. You can schedule it here :-http://www.financialclarity.co.nz/schedule-session.html

October 7, 2013

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Two things are interesting me, in a money sense, this Monday morning.

The roll out of Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) and a followup on an earlier topic, how much people spend on computer games, specifically Candy Crush!

Ten days ago the pavement / footpath outside our apartment building suddenly sprouted multicoloured chalk inscriptions and last Monday the arrival of jack hammers and lots of men in high res outfits confirmed suspicions; we are being wired ( is that even the right term for fibre cables?) for UFB. We now have lots of BIG holes with safety barricades around them.

I have no idea how long this process takes and what I have realised is that I really don’t know what the next steps are. I do know that it takes more than this process for me to have it here on my computer, but am I just going to be asked if I want to move up/ upgrade and who does that? Will all communications companies provide it? Do I need a new provider? On my first foray into answering these questions I didn’t find out but I must have asked a better question this time because I found out quite a lot more. At UFB.org.nz they publish a list of providers who “….have published prices in detail.”  OK so far, so good, but I’m not sure that I have all the facts and would like to talk to people who have already been connected. Have you connected and if so what are the real charges/costs? Please let me know and I will share next week.

Now to Candy Crush. You might remember that I wrote about the addictive nature of this game and how one gamer spent $380 on it. Anyway last week I heard a news report on how much the company, King.com, is making from this “free” game. You can play it for free but the addictive nature of it, encourages you to buy more moves or lives etc, so apparently it is now called a “freemium” game! In July King was reportedly making USD$633,000 a DAY!!! A month ago another report said that was now up to $850,000 a day!!  It is the most popular game on Facebook, Google and Apple and many millions play it daily…..obviously not all of them for free!! I could be in the wrong job!! Anyway, I reiterate my advice: be extremely cautious about spending “just $0.99” to get ahead in the game; those $0.99 add up to significant amounts of money.

Let me know your thoughts. Have you got onto UFB yet? If so how have you found it?

Come clean, do you play Candy Crush Saga and if so, do you purchase more turns or lives? How much do you think you have spent on it?