Online shopping often doesn’t feel real — at least, it doesn’t feel like you’re really spending money. If you had to take $200 out of your wallet and hand it to someone, you’d think twice. If all you have to do is click the button to buy it now, you’re more likely to do it.
The role of addiction
What’s concerning about this goes deeper than just the way you feel about buying, though. It can actually qualify as a behavior addiction. Some have compared it to gambling. The outcome is different, of course, but it relies on patterns of behavior in the same way, it gives you a potential sense of accomplishment or satisfaction, and it makes you want to engage in the activity more often
How many times have you gone online and had fun browsing and adding things to your cart, getting excited to check out? Then, when the items arrived, you just unwrapped them and set them aside?
If you do this, you may be addicted to the act of shopping. You like the novelty of finding something new and getting it — even if you don’t need it or actually care about using it.
Sometimes, this is minor. Maybe you have a shelf full of books you have not read and yet you keep buying more books. Other times, it’s major. You spend thousands of dollars you don’t have every month on items you don’t need.
The internet makes this addiction common and easy to feed. Targeted ads allow companies to get products in front of you that they know will appeal to you on an instinctive level. Since you don’t have to think hard about the purchase or physically hand over any money, they know you’ll buy more on a whim.
Moving toward bankruptcy
Many types of addiction can result in bankruptcy. It may feel like it’s out of your hands. Online shopping is just one potential issue you’ll face. If you do need to use bankruptcy to get a fresh start, just be sure that you understand the exact steps to make the process go smoothly, easily and predictably.