5 Signs You Have a Spending Problem

Spending issues can impact your financial future and can lead to serious financial issues, like debt, home foreclosure, poor credit, even marital issues.

You may have a shopping addiction if you shop to deal with negative feelings, argue with loved ones about your spending habits, buy things on credit that you couldn't afford to buy in cash, or feel guilty or ashamed after going shopping.

If you think you might have a spending problem, it’s important to acknowledge these issues. You may need to seek professional help, which will allow you to take control of your finances. Learn Here five common signs of a spending problem and how to recognize them.

01 of 06

Hiding Purchases from Others

Oliver Rossi/Getty.

One of the biggest signs that you may have a real spending problem is that you hide your purchases from others, especially a partner. If you are married, it may be that you are hiding your purchases from your spouse. If you are single, you may be hiding them from your roommates or even your friends.


If you are hiding purchases from family or friends, that could be a sign of a shopping addiction.

You may also be hiding the purchases from your parents. ​This is a serious sign of a spending problem, and you need to take steps as quickly as you can to address the problem.

02 of 06

Seeking the "High" of Shopping

Hero Images/Getty.

Much like other addictions, some people get a "high" after shopping or purchasing things, even if they don't really need them. If you find yourself craving the experience of going shopping especially after a bad day, or counting down the minutes or hours until your next shopping “fix,” you may have a spending problem.


You don’t need to be spending money on big-ticket items to have a spending problem. You can have an overspending issue whether you are buying name brand items or store brand items.

03 of 06

Maxing Out Credit Cards

David Pereiras / EyeEm / Getty.

If you have multiple credit cards, if they are constantly maxed out or you continue to max them back out after making a payment each month, then you may have a spending problem. You may also have an issue if you are constantly juggling between them, trying to figure out which has enough credit remaining on it so you can spend more.
Continuing to spend even when you do not have the funds to do so, is another sign of having a spending problem. Being in denial about the amount of debt you have, or how much money you actually spend on things you do not need each month, are other signs.


Take a good look at your budget and what you spend each month. If you are buying luxury items or items you truly do not need on credit, then chances are, you have a spending problem.

04 of 06

Losing Track of What You Own

Alex Farfuri/Getty.

If you have a hard time remembering what you already own, you may have a spending problem. You may be running out of space at home with a lot of extra boxes stored in every closet of your home, or have an extra room devoted to just the items that you have purchased recently. This is a big sign that you may have an issue. 

Take an inventory of what you own. If you start to see many duplicates, such as three toasters or five similar white shirts, then you may have a spending issue and should seek professional help. 

05 of 06

Buying for the Sake of Buying

Tom Werner/Getty.

Do you ever go into a store and begin walking around the store putting random items in your cart? Do you ever load up your online cart, even if you don't need anything new? Is it not as much about what you are buying, rather, the simple act of buying something? Then you may have a spending issue.

People who buy things simply for the sake of buying, or who overbuy for family and friends for holiday and special occasion gifts, may have a spending problem.

06 of 06

When to Get Help

Justin Lambert/Getty.

If you think you recognize any of these signs in your spending, then you may have a spending problem and should likely seek professional help before it’s too late and your finances suffer. Remember, spending issues can cause other serious problems with your finances, such as debt, home foreclosure, relationship issues, and more. Additionally, you may tackle your other financial issues, like getting out of debt, separately.​​

Resources for Dealing with Shopping Addiction

There are several resources you can take advantage of to deal with shopping addiction, including therapy or counseling, or joining a self-help group such as Debtors Anonymous or Spenders Anonymous

Updated by Rachel Morgan Cautero. 

Was this page helpful?
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery. "What is compulsive shopping and spending?"

Related Articles