Shopaholics Anonymous San Francisco CA

Consciousness means not allowing yourself to shop as a way of trying to satisfy emotional needs. It means becoming aware of what triggers your shopping urges and genuinely acknowledging their consequences: financial, familial, at work, and with friends.

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What's an Overshopper to Do?

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What’s An Overshopper To Do?

Dr. April Benson - 11/23/2009 5:28:00 PM

Consciousness is the watchword for problem shoppers, particularly as the holiday season approaches, and most particularly amidst all the over-optimistic talk of economic recovery. Consciousness means not allowing yourself to shop as a way of trying to satisfy emotional needs. It means becoming aware of what triggers your shopping urges and genuinely acknowledging their consequences: financial, familial, at work, and with friends. And it means distinguishing your wants from your needs, as well as recognizing that many of those wants have been foisted on you by a massive and highly sophisticated marketing machine, rarely with your best interests at heart.

Since retailers make much of their year’s profit over the holidays, expect to be bombarded with highly stimulating ads these next months. Given the deeply sluggish economy, sales will be tantalizing. What’s an overshopper to do? Keep it real. Make a plan. Decide on a reasonable amount you can spend, and then decide just how you’ll slice that pie. When you shop, keep in mind the repeated result of studies: “shared experiences . . . offer greater value than material buys. Pleasant memories don’t fade in the wash or go out of fashion” (Lee Eisenberg, http://www.parade.com/news/2009/10/25-why-shopping-is-good-again.html ).

And whatever you buy, be the driver; don’t be driven! Carry a card with these six questions and, before any purchase, answer them : 1. Why am I here? 2. How do I feel? 3. Do I need this? 4. What if I wait? 5. How will I pay for it? 6. Where will I put it? You’ll find a tear-out one in the back of my book, To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop. ( http://www.stoppingovershopping.com/to_buy_not_to_buy.htm ) Do this honestly—and every time—and you’re on the road to shopping sanity. Above all, don’t fall prey to the myth of product transformation. Though marketers have taught us to think otherwise, ...

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