Do You Have a Compulsive Buying Disorder?

I would like to continue our discussion on compulsive buying disorder this week by bringing in an expert, Dr.April Benson. Dr. Benson, a psychologist, specializes in treating compulsive buying disorder from her practice in New York City.

Dr. Benson is the author of several books on compulsive buying. She said her book, To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop is a self-help guide you can use on your own. Dr. Benson states in the book’s introduction, “The underlying premise of the book is that when we overshop, though we often don’t realize it, we are trying to fill emotional needs with material goods.” She continues, “…to change your behavior, you’ve got to change the way you feel about yourself and the way you go about meeting your authentic needs.”

Her book contains the exercises to help you ascertain the short and long term benefits, and costs, of stopping or continuing buying. For example, we spoke of someone who constantly buys greeting cards. Why are they really buying greeting cards? Are they bored, creative or lonely? It is nice to have greeting cards to send out, but how many are needed? They are costly, they take up space and if they aren’t used they will start to yellow over time and become unusable.

Dr. Benson’s website contains a link to her article, When Shopping Heals, where she relays her own personal experience with overshopping and the needs it filled. She also provides a very informative blog on her website,, with information for compulsive buyers and their family members. On her blog she mentions “the high of the buy” and discovering the “cues/triggers” that make us want to buy.

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She created the below “Before You Buy” card and suggests slowing down and asking yourself each of the following questions before you make a purchase:


Want a constant reminder? Cut Dr. Benson’s card out and tape it to your credit card, wallet, computer or television screen.

There are many people who may be looking for help but are too anxious or are unsure where to go. Dr. Benson’s site is one of the best resources we could find available. Dr. Benson said to remember that, “You can never get enough of what you really don’t need and effective help is definitely available.”


Jenny PowerAbsolutely Organized, LLC

By Carrie Rattle

Carrie Rattle is a Principal at, a website for women focused on mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence. Read More