"God Bless the Dream, the Dreamer and the Result." 

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Student Shopping Habit

By Evelyn Saunders   

Shopping can be an emotional release for many students. Lots of students shop to reduce stress or just to pass the time with their friends. Shopping out of boredom or to cope with life’s woes can lead to much bigger problems. When it starts to get out of control, consumerism becomes a bad habit, even an addiction. If your bank account has been taking a beating due to over purchasing, you might have a compulsion to shop.

Shop-a-holics show signs that are similar to other addicts. You think that shopping and buying things, even little things like make-up or gifts for others, is going to make you feel better and forget about your problems. Actually, it makes you feel worse, compounding guilt, financial hardship and anxiety on top of whatever was wrong to begin with. Finding yourself in a financial struggle or deep in debt can strain relationships with your friends and family. Living beyond your means stretches your sanity as well as your wallet. 

Do you go out for just a few things and come home with your trunk full? Do you seem to shop more after an emotional trauma or stressful situation? These are questions that students with a problem don’t want to face. Don’t get caught in that downward spiral of spending due to stress where that moment of elation leads to even more stress and worry. Ask yourself every time if what you are about to buy is a “need” or a “want”. The hard part is not buying the things that you only “want”. Try to recognize the signs that you may have a problem. Have you made purchases and regretted it later? Bought things that you never used? Maybe your family or friends have expressed a concern or disapproval that led you to hide items, or lie about prices. Many compulsive shoppers report feeling elated and nervous at the same time when making frivolous purchases. They later feel guilty or embarrassed about the truth of their shopping spree. They also have a general belief that shopping is “bad behavior”. 

Something to think about is that you’re letting marketing control you. Commercials and ads seem to prey on your psyche. Just passing a store or getting a little extra in your bank account sends you into a “What can I buy?” mental frenzy. Remind yourself that you will only feel worse afterward. It’s really not worth the guilt and trauma that it causes.

Avoid circumstances that may make you want to spend. Never use credit cards. Keep one emergency one at home. If it is in a store, it’s most likely not an emergency. Exercise, yoga and hot baths generally curb the temptation to shop. Take a drive through the country where there aren’t any stores. Patience is a learned skill. Have patience with yourself and your money. Immediate gratification doesn’t last long, but patience can benefit you for the rest of your life. If you need more help than you can give yourself, there are support groups out there that can help. If you have a real emergency, take the time to research if your credit card is really the best option. You may be eligible for student loans or private student loans that have fixed payments and are easier to get out from under than a credit card.

About the author:
About the Author: Evelyn Saunders, a retired teacher, is the editor for student-loans.net, a provider of student loans and information on how to get private student loans as well as consolidation. For more information, please visit http://www.student-loans.net

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