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What to Do If You're a 'Spendaholic' and You Desperately Need to Stop Spending

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  • What to Do If You're a 'Spendaholic' and You Desperately Need to Stop Spending

    Close to 6 percent of Americans are “spendaholics,” also known as compulsive buyers, according to researchers in the Journal of Consumer Research. People who fall into this category are preoccupied with buying things, and will do so regardless of need, and often at the expense of their financial security.

    But spendaholics do not only damage their bank accounts. Kent Monroe, a marketing professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who developed a test to distinguish shopaholics from regular shoppers, found that compulsive buying is linked to:
    • Materialism
    • Reduced self-esteem
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Stress

    Not surprisingly, spendaholics also tended to hide purchases from their families, and have more arguments about spending and maxed-out credit cards, ultimately leading to family strain over financial matters.

    "We are living in a consumption-oriented society and have been spending ourselves into serious difficulty," Monroe told LiveScience. "Compulsive buying is an addiction that can be harmful to the individual, families, relationships. It is not just something that only afflicts low-income people."

    Typically, a spendaholic does not perceive his or her spending habits as a problem until major damage has been done to their financial security and personal relationships. Therefore, seeking help NOW can circumvent a lot of hardships down the road.

    Addressing the Root Causes of Compulsive Buying

    Spendaholics associate positive feelings with buying things, researchers say, but why? Well, as with any addiction,, for shopaholics shopping provides a type of emotional fulfillment that is not being met in their life. For instance, buying things may:
    • Be used as a reward
    • Provide a feeling of pleasure that wards off depression, sadness or loneliness
    • Be a source of recreation when you’re bored
    • Make you feel like you’re worthwhile
    • Make you feel empowered

    The underlying issue is therefore discovering which emotional factors are driving you to overspend, and then releasing those factors or having them met in other, more positive ways.

    'All aholics' have one thing in common: a sublimation of feelings into addictive behavior,' says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates. 'Whether you believe you are a workaholic, spendaholic or an alcoholic, the key is discovering what emotion or emotions are motivating you to say and do things that you know you will later regret.'

    “So if you find yourself spending money that you don’t have or feeling like you must buy something that is only going to add to your financial burden, allow yourself to let go instead.”

    One of the key motivators for being a spendaholic is the feeling of “I don’t have enough” or “I am not enough,” Dwoskin points out.

    “Both of these are merely feelings -- they're not facts and they're not you and you can let them go,” he says. “The more you let go of the feeling of not enough, the more you’ll find yourself feeling whole, complete and full inside -- and the less likely you will be to have to spend money in order to feel complete. You will also find that you’ll enjoy what you already have a lot more.”

    Whether you are a full-fledged spendaholic, or simply splurge a little too much from time to time, learning how to let go with The Sedona Method is an excellent idea, especially now as the holiday shopping season takes off. Anytime you feel the urge to buy something you don't need, you will be armed with the knowledge of how to let that feeling go.

    Best of all, you can do it anywhere -- in the mall, while you’re driving, when you’re tempted to shop online, anywhere -- so you’re always prepared and able to get back in control.
    Purchase Letting Go Movie on DVD
    Purchase Beyond Letting Go
    Purchase The Sedona Method Course
    Learn The Sedona Method in 2 hours.