JMC Psychotherapy, Bolton – What is compulsive shopping or overspending?

Let’s be clear from the outset. I’m not talking about the occasional splurge when you fancy treating yourself and you’ll have to pay for it from next month’s money. I’m talking here about something that is habitual. You may not do it for six months, but then the problem returns and the situation may become out of control.

How do I know if I have a tendency to overspending?

  • Often spending online, because somehow that doesn’t seem real.
  • Spending in secret may involve not telling your partner for months on end.
  • Failing to acknowledge debt but nevertheless continuing to overspend.
  • Hiding goods that you have bought.
  • Always needing to buy the best before you can feel good about yourself: for example, you may feel you must have designer clothes rather than unbranded.
  • The amount of money spent causes arguments.
  • When you buy in a shop, the high you initially feel soon fades and you need to spend again.
  • Lying to yourself about how much you have spent.
  • Paying all the bill – in a restaurant, for example –  to show off or gain approval.

Are my spending habits out of control?
Do you experience any of the following:

  • Spending more than your budget on a regular basis.
  • Always looking for the next credit card you can have.
  • Feeling of sweating and a fast heart rate when bills come.
  • Feeling frightened to open bank statements.
  • Not thinking through consequences of spending, preferring to convince yourself that somehow it will be all right.
  • Asking friends and family for money and then avoiding them because you can’t pay it back.
  • Taking out more loans regardless of high interest rates to help with previous ones.
  • Feeling of dread when it’s necessary to apply for credit rating.
  • Fantasising that the big break will come and soon you’ll no longer be in this mess.
  • Feeling grown up when you spend.
  • Feeling that spending doesn’t matter because someone else will take care of your finances for you.
  • Feeling inordinately uncomfortable in a normal discussion about money.
  • Feeling guilty and ashamed after shopping.

What is comfort shopping?

  • Buying things you will never wear, or even take out of the bag. You might spend £300 you don’t have on shoes which you will never wear.
  • Shopping for the thrill of it; you don’t actually need what you buy. The result might be a pile of unwanted goods in your living room.

How can psychotherapy help me with compulsive shopping / overspending?

It will provide straightforward strategies appropriate to your issue which can be implemented immediately. It will examine the “why” of spending and explore the underlying cause such as shame, anger, humiliation or perhaps even the need to be special. In childhood there might have been the need to please a parent and perhaps there was a feeling of having to grow up too soon; as if fun missed in childhood can be had now by spending lots of money.

Whatever the issue behind compulsive shopping or overspending, therapy can help.

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I am frequently contacted by visitors to my website who feel that they need a consultation but live some distance from my office in Bolton, Greater Manchester. If you feel that you would benefit from a telephone conversation, please visit Psychotherapy Consultations – Online Payment page to see how it works.


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