How To Stop A Shopaholic

Shopaholics. Everyone has one in their family. Whether it's that grandmother who seems to buy everything for Christmas 10 months in advance on clearance, the friend who always insists on paying for everything, or the mother who you know to invite shopping with you because she'll pay for everything just because she likes to spend money. We all know at least one. It can seem funny at first. We even make jokes about it now and then, but it eventually gets to a point where it's no longer funny. In fact, we worry about them. We hope they're not spending their retirement or all of their paycheck on clothes and home decor without paying their rent and phone bill.

But what can we do? It is nearly impossible to say something without them getting defensive or hurting their feelings. Many shopaholics don't want to admit that they have any problem.

First, you need to accept that without professional help it is very unlikely to simply STOP a shopaholic from shopping. However, there are a few ways to channel that energy that will deflect the damage elsewhere.

  • Shopping for others and getting paid to do it. There are several career paths out there that involve spending other people's money and getting paid to do it. A lot of these also don't require a degree of any type if you are good at it. Interior designers and stylists both make money by helping other people spend their money. A large percentage of shopaholics are women and, in my experience, women generally have a keen eye for such artistic expenditures.
  • Becoming an "online entrepreneur" with their purchases. This I know for a fact works because I've seen it help my mother. There are so many online databases for selling new and used items online such as Craigslist and eBay. Shopaholics tend to over-purchase and then don't have anywhere to put their newly acquired treasure. Sell it! I've seen my mother make a killing selling tons of items she found that she had had stashed away. Even purchasing a few new things dirt cheap and then marking them up to sell online.
  • Get a productive hobby. Many people have creativity just stuffed away inside them waiting to get free. Finding shopaholics an outlet for these creative juices just might occupy their time enough to help them cut back on their overspending (making jewelery, sewing, woodwork, painting, etc).

Shopaholics usually see shopping as a hobby. It's something to do because their are bored in their lives. Filling their lives with something other than shopping and helping them feel good about what they are doing is the key to weening them from their habits.

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John E. Hubertz
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Posted on Mar 26, 2009