Jean Chatzky
What is it that makes us go into a store and buy, only to regret our purchases the next day? It's a difficult question to answer, that's for sure. Jean talks to psychologist April Benson, who runs a 12-week program to help people overcome shopping disorders. April says these disorders are all too common—like in the case of Robyn, a self-proclaimed compulsive shopper who spoke to Jean about her out-of-control spending in November 2006. Jean and April follow up with Robyn to see how she's doing and help tackle her problem:
  • Robyn says that her spending declined for several weeks after the show, but she's still spending more than she should.
  • She often winds up returning her purchases, only to buy more. April advises her to ask a friend to return things for her—it's important to know your danger zones and how to avoid them.
  • When she's bored, Robyn finds herself in front of the computer making outlandish purchases. Curb online shopping by removing yourself from any website e-mail lists that give you a heads up on sales and new promotions, April says. Same goes with snail mail—get off those catalogue mailing lists.
  • Get the support of your friends. Have someone you can call when you're feeling drawn to the mall. Jean says this is the perfect place for a Money Group!
  • Often, compulsive shopping stems from feelings of emptiness, and we think we need new things to fill up the holes, April says. Fill them up with something else instead, like exercise or a new, fulfilling friendship.
  • Tease out the after effects of your spending. Often knowing the benefits and liabilities of shopping—and those of changing your ways—will stop you in your tracks.
  • Set a spending plan. Include something each month that will make you happy, so that you don't feel deprived.
The information provided here is general advice and you should always consult your own financial adviser before making major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio. The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.

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