Surviving college as a shopaholic

Shopping sprees in college can be a recipe for disaster

More stories from Alyssa Anderson

Getting Weird
December 13, 2018


Anderson gathers her delivered packages after another impulsive online shopping spree.

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

Well, I definitely have a problem; I have a disastrous addiction taking control of my life, or rather, my bank account.

I am completely obsessed with shopping. Even if I have one dollar left in my bank account, I will more often than not find a way to buy the five Lush bath bombs I’ve had my eye on for weeks. I don’t even have a bath tub.

Needless to say, my life has become quite a fiasco.

Before I delve into the details of my situation, I think it is important to say that I’m broke. So broke that soup has become a food group for me. The majority of my modest income goes toward rent, electricity and groceries, which doesn’t leave me with much cash to spare.

Nevertheless, I always seem to find myself spending the little money I have on spontaneous shopping sprees, which consist of me fervently buying everything in my line of vision.

Last week I spent a substantial amount of money on secondhand clothes from Goodwill, even though my closet is literally overflowing. What can I say? Shopping gives me a rush.

Although an addiction to shopping is far less detrimental, an article on said compulsive shoppers, or people suffering from a compulsive buying disorder, show behaviors similar to those with substance addictions.

Oniomania, the technical term for shopping addiction, is often characterized by an overwhelming desire to shop despite a need to do so, or despite the ability to afford the purchases. According to the US Library of medicine, compulsive buying affects over five percent of Americans. Yikes.

While I wouldn’t go so far as to characterize myself as someone who suffers from a compulsive shopping disorder, I can definitely admit my love for shopping is pretty extreme and often leads to negative consequences.

I can definitely execute a good amount of self-control, but I still slip up every now and again and buy a ridiculous amount of socks from Target for no reason whatsoever.

In a way, shopping is therapeutic for me. Nothing is better than going home with a stack of new clothes. I live with the hope that, one day, I will be able to shop ‘til I drop and not feel guilty about it.

But for now, I think it is safe to say I need to hold off on shopping. My bank account can’t handle my obsessive need for new things, and I’d rather not have to end each trip to the store thinking, ‘Oh no, I did it again.’

Shopping sprees in college are just a regret waiting to happen.

If I had one piece of advice for other people like me, it would be to avoid stores, malls or even craft fairs at all costs. It may sound a bit crazy, but trust me. Your bank account will thank you later.