Confessions of an Oniomaniac (a.k.a. Shopaholic)

5 March 2009

You may think that you just need to snip your credit cards and get handcuffed/blindfolded to kick that shopping habit, but if you compulsively and unstoppably shop with the tendency to drain your bank account dry… you may have a medical condition known as Oniomania.

Oniomania has little to do with onions, and more to do with the impulse control disorder that makes you want to shop till the bank reclaims all that you have and own.

In short, Oniomania is the medical term for being a shopaholic.

Oniomaniacs may aware of the economy that’s lately been swinging as violently as a pendulum in an earthquake. But when it comes to shopping, they could care less. Anecdotal accounts of patients with Oniomania tell stories of shopaholics who only swap one object of addiction for another.  Got friend(s) that swap buying expensive gold jewellery with  Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks (the female equivalents to a Ferrari or Lamborghini, depending on taste), or the latest gadgets for a new BluRay/ DVD collection and HDTV? Case in point.

So how do you treat Oniomania?

Well, it’s tough, because not only does our materialistic world approves of this kind of behaviour, but studies say the psychological impact to be as personally damaging as a drug addiction. With credit card debts rising for people afflicted with shopaholism in this climate, it is no trivial laughing matter for the afflicted to put off dealing with this issue.

Here are 3 basic principles worth keeping in mind if you don't want to have your bank pick up your car or house from the overspending:

1. If you don't have the money, don't buy it! - Possibly the equivalent of the noose to the Oniomaniac, buying things on credit no matter how good the deal has reinforced the self-lie that "it's okay" to keep charging one's wants. Make it a habit to buy stuff ONLY when you have the cash at hand intended for that purchase.

2. Have a budget and stick to it. - Listing down what you need to pay for or buy at the start of the month would make it easier to prioritize what to spend for. With discipline in sticking to your budget, you'll be able to stop your itching hands from buying things you don't need. Click here for another resource (‘total money makeover’ website) for debt related help.

3. Get the hang of figuring out needs vs. wants. - When you can bravely admit to yourself which purchases are actually products of unholy wants, and squarely face and deal with buying only needs, you'll increasingly be able to say "no" to buying the wants, as well as stick to paying for and buying only the needs. When you can face the fact that you need to give up that shoe habit, you're on your first baby step to kicking Oniomania.

In conclusion: In a possession-oriented world, it's tough to kick a habit that's promoted pervasively in TV commercials, bargain deals, and internet OTO (one time offer) ads. But with discipline, a steel gut, and brutal honesty to oneself, Oniomaniacs and Shopaholics may not even need Debtors Anonymous to avoid being driven to the poorhouse. (Productive Pinoy also has some advice for budding entrepreneurs on what to make out of the ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ movie.)

TOPICS:   Economy


  • the B.
    Should that read "Confessions of an Oniomaniac"?
  • chrisg.
    "couldn't care less"
  • Vince V.
    lol, thanks anyway bob! Corrected.
  • magicbeans
    love the film
  • Vince V.
    see lots of people reading the book. chick flick, no?
  • the B.
    I'd leave my man muck on that Isla Fisher's face, perhaps that's why her skin's cleared up since Home and Away?
  • 65 l.

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