Maintaining Responsible Spending with a Credit Card

Singaporeans are big shoppers. They’re particularly fond of shopping online. In fact, they’re Southeast Asia’s top online shoppers, according to a 2014 study by Visa. The study found that 26% of Singaporeans shop online at least once a month. In another study, which was made by UK mobile tech firm Blis, Singaporeans were found to spend an average of $624 for shopping.

At the time of Blis’ study, Singaporeans preferred to shop in-store rather than online. It was done before the pandemic, after all. Still, Singaporeans spent a fairly large amount on their online purchases even then. It was $564, on average.

Their spending, fortunately, is on the safe side. It’s by no means small but reasonable enough considering an average Singaporean’s lifestyle and income. Plus, Singaporeans are responsible credit card users. They pay off their balances on time and only use their credit cards for important purchases.

But somewhere, a Singaporean could have a shopping addiction. This condition is also known as Compulsive Buying Disorder. It affects 1 in 20 adults in the U.S., but people from other countries could be experiencing it, too. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) doesn’t officially recognize shopping addiction as a distinct disorder, so little is known about the condition. But that makes a compelling reason to spread more awareness about it.

Is Shopping Addiction Real?

It is important to realize that addiction doesn’t just apply to alcohol and drugs. There are many unusual addictions in the world we don’t know yet. Shopping addiction may sound like nothing but a frequent impulse to shop, but it’s more complicated than that.

“Retail therapy” doesn’t sum up what shopping addiction compels you to do. Despite not being recognized as a distinct disorder, it has very troubling symptoms. As such, it’s a legitimate addiction that requires psychiatric treatment.

The signs and symptoms of shopping addiction are as follows:

  • Obsession for making purchases daily or weekly
  • Using shopping to cope with stress
  • Maxing out credit cards or getting new ones without paying off previous balances
  • Feeling intense euphoria after buying something
  • Buying things you don’t need that you won’t also use
  • Stealing or lying to continue shopping
  • Regretting purchases, but still shopping anyway
  • Struggling to pay debts or manage money
  • Failing to control impulses to shop

The causes of shopping addiction vary. But it often has something to do with self-esteem issues. Shopping can be a distraction from negative emotions, offering a reprieve or “escape.” Considering that mental health issues are rampant nowadays, and many people shop online to distract themselves from COVID-19-related occurrences, it would be wise to evaluate your spending habits now. This applies to you more if you use a credit card.

Ways to Shop Responsibly With a Credit Card

Some people stay away from credit cards because they think it tempts them to spend more. But there are actually perks you can get from using your credit card exclusively. Still, you’d do well to control your urge to use it. Abusing credit card ownership leads to nothing good.

  • Focus on Credit Card Promos

Don’t just use your credit card for purchases without a reward. Instead, explore top credit card promotions, which often include rebates, points, and other special deals. Many fashion boutiques, restaurants, and grocery stores in Singapore partner with credit card providers to offer the best rewards for their customers. If you use your credit card in these establishments, you will waste nothing.

  • Pay Your Full Balances on Time

Some credit card holders only pay off their minimum balances because they think it helps them save money. But in fact, it only increases their debt. Delaying your full payment only causes you to pay interest. On the contrary, if you pay in full within the grace period, you can enjoy 0% interest.

  • Ask Yourself Why You Want to Shop

If you think you might have a shopping addiction, step back before clicking “Pay Now” or checking out at the store. Buying things isn’t the real cure for stress and other mental troubles. It can give you temporary happiness, but if you find yourself tempted to shop again when that happiness wears off, consider seeking help. Your impulse to spend may be more serious than you think. Even if you can pay off your credit card balances on time, it’s not an excuse to shop obsessively.

Being a good credit card holder takes self-control, discipline, and maturity. From your perspective, the shiny piece of plastic shouldn’t look like a key to buying everything you could ever want. Instead, it should be a more cost-efficient way to buy necessities like electronics, appliances, and travel-related things. It’s okay to use your credit card from time to time for clothes and food. Using it for every purchase all the time is not.

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