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Shopping Addiction and the Holidays


As the holidays approach, so do the anxieties about buying the right gift for everyone on the list. Credit card debt climbs and the constant push for consumers to buy, buy, buy has shoppers reeling. It doesn’t take a lot for shopping addicts to get themselves into sticky situations with credit cards and bank accounts that just can’t withstand their spending habits. Oxygen Media, the company behind the women-centered television channel, has released a new television show just in time for the holidays called “My Shopping Addiction” that chronicles the lives of young people in financial crises because of their shopping habits. The show airs on Mondays at 11pm ET/PT. In a partnership with Research Now, Oxygen Media has also conducted surveys on the spending habits of United States men and women around the holidays. The results were quite astonishing.

Research Now is a digital data collection provider that worked with Oxygen Media to determine the spending habits of Americans during the holidays. According to the study, Americans spend more during the holidays than at any other time during the year. Interestingly, even with the knowledge of the current economy, they also expect to spend the same amount or more this year than the previous year. Forty-seven percent of Americans spend more than they can afford during the holidays and thirty-seven percent admit that they have gone into credit card debt shopping for gifts.

Some of the statistics of holiday shopping are quite startling, like the fact that more than half of Americans spend at least $500 or more and a quarter of Americans spend at least $1000 on gifts. Eighty percent of Americans also feel obligated to purchase a gift for someone who has purchased one for them. The study also revealed a significant difference between men and women in relation to shopping habits. For example, women spend more on children, friends, co-workers and service people than men, although men do spend more money on significant others and parents. Women are thriftier, with eighty percent purchasing items that are on sale compared to sixty nine percent of men. Men also prefer to purchase things for themselves rather than others.
As a result of this study, Oxygen Media came up with some tips for shopping during the holidays to battle shopping addiction and credit card debt.


  1. Plan ahead! Leaving all your shopping until the last minute will make you feel rushed and as a result, you are more inclined to overspend and make sloppy gift choices. Make a list of everyone you need to buy for early so you have an idea of what you need and how much you need.
  2. Make a budget! This is one of the most important factors to help with overspending. Use prepaid cards, gift cards or certain amounts of cash when you go to the shore. Leave your credit cards at home or in the car so that you aren’t tempted to swipe all your holiday anxieties away.
  3. Shop when you’re at your best! If you feel great in the mornings, shop in the mornings. Never go shopping when you feel down or depleted because it will only lead to poor choices and impulse grabs.
  4. Don’t shop in a store if it causes you to spend more! The rise of online shopping is a great way to avoid impulse buying and grab-and-go gifts. Shopping in a store can sometimes be overwhelming with all the sales and tempting offers, so shop online to make the best choices.
  5. Think outside the box! There are many alternatives to purchasing millions of gifts. If you have a large family, think about pulling names out of a hat for a fun gift exchange. If you’re artsy, come up with some thoughtful handmade gifts. Even activities or trips that the family can participate in together would make a great gift idea.


Holiday shopping doesn’t have to break your bank or test your sanity. Utilizing these simple steps and keeping yourself in check will help the holiday be a stress- and debt-free time of year.