If you have trouble saving money, use shopping as a way to reward yourself or cheer yourself up, and buy items even if you don't need or can't afford them, you may be suffering from a compulsive-buying disorder.
Dr. James Mitchell, chairman of the department of neuroscience at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, provides a list of rules that compulsive shoppers can follow to help get the habit under control: cut up credit cards, always go shopping with a list and buy only items that are on the list, and avoid garage sales and online shopping sites. Make a list of other behaviors that you enjoy besides shopping, such as engaging in a creative project or going on a walk with a friend. When you feel the urge to shop, choose an activity off you list instead.
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To learn more about compulsive shopping, check out these titles on Amazon.com:
Born To Spend: Overcoming Compulsive Spending (New Edition), by Gloria Arenson
Spent: Break the Buying Obsession and Discover Your True Worth, by Sally Palaian