I was at Target, swiftly swiping my card without a second glance at the digits displayed on the cash register, that it occurred to me: Maybe I have a tiny bit of a spending problem.
Cassandra Adams is a junior English major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]
This was after promising my parents, and myself, that it was the end of a shopping run that has been going on since the holidays.
Despite this revelation and the twinge of guilt over the Target excursion, my freshly manicured nails (deal of $10, sans tip) found themselves scrolling the Victoria Secret’s site instead of typing a term paper.
Glancing over at a closet filled with clothes (some with tags still attached) and shoes, I wondered how many precious dollars had been frivolously spent, and wasted, over the years.
I noticed the more this “addiction” got going and began feeding on itself, relative to an uncontrollable monster, the easier it was to keep buying. As the voice of “I want” continued to scream louder, any good sense of reason was quickly drowned out.
In a culture at the height of materialism, when is enough, enough? Why can’t we (or maybe I should just speak for myself) be happy and grateful with what we have? When does spending cross over the line to addiction, or act to cover up feelings of loneliness, emptiness, anxiety or boredom?
Furthermore, are Americans being treated as consumers instead of thinking citizens?
With these questions lingering, I began my research.
According to hoffmanbrinker.com, a study done in October 2010 showed that the average credit card debt per household is around $15,700, with the U.S. Census Bureau citing an increase in the number of credit card holders. According to the bureau, U.S. citizens have over $886 billion in debt, which is expected to rise.
Concerning college students, 43 percent of college freshmen owned a credit card in comparison with 74 percent of upper division students. Of these numbers, 25 percent of cardholders used it to pay for tuition. Nearly half of consumers ages 18-21 that surfed the web owned a credit card.
Maybe Rebecca Bloomwood from the Shopaholic book series wasn’t completely over the top when actively dodging the credit card company representative and became unwilling to tell her significant other.
Interestingly enough, discussing credit card debt is considered highly taboo, being the first of the list of subjects that people are unlikely to openly talk about, according to creditcards.com
While the comedic movie based on the books is meant to be entertaining, shopping addiction is a serious problem. According to shopaholicsanonymous.org, a Stanford study said that compulsive overspending or over-shopping is a serious disorder affecting around 6 percent of the U.S. population. A shopping addict buys to relieve anxiety and eventually creates a dysfunctional lifestyle. This condition can come from emotional deprivation in childhood, an inability to cope with negative feelings, desire to fill an inner void, gaining control and seeking excitement.
This had me thinking that before I let consumerism beat me or my credit score, now may be the time to get a handle on it. So for the next 28 days (this being how long it takes to start a new habit courtesy of Google psychology), I’m challenging myself, and any interested parties, to fight materialistic tendencies by using some simple tricks of recording, limiting and budgeting spending for the next month.
Stats credited to:
Credit card statistics