Americans just love to spend money. The average American has about five credit cards. Our national debt is more than $10 trillion. A political campaign spent a reported $150,000 on a vice presidential candidate's wardrobe.

Because of our culture, it can be easy to laugh off or ignore excessive spending habits. However, this behavior can be just as destructive as compulsive gambling if a person isn't careful. Some studies suggest that 1 out of 20 Americans have trouble controlling their spending habits. It does not apply to any one gender. Though men and women may spend money on different things, both sexes can be equally worthy of the title of shopaholic. The following are surefire signs of the obsessive shopper and tips on how to curb your spending sprees.

  1. You spend more when you're emotional. Do you spend money when you're blue? Does buying new clothes make you feel better? If your answers to these questions are "yes," then you may have a spending problem. Much like people who eat when they're upset, those who spend when they're feeling down are at risk for larger issues. Try to consider a less costly way to deal with your feelings like going for a run, taking a yoga class to decompress, or writing in a journal.

  2. Your spending habits result in added stress. Often when a shopaholic goes on a binge, the results are more costly than he or she expected. With excessive spending comes debt; and with debt, comes phone calls from debtors, lowered credit scores, and in extreme cases, bankruptcy. If your spending habits result in temporary happiness only to be overcome by financial stress, you may have a problem limiting your spending.

  3. You're a compulsive spender. There's a big difference between going to the store and buying one DVD and buying ten. Compulsive spenders do not know how to set limits or differentiate between necessity and desire. These kinds of spenders buy on impulse instead of reason. If you find yourself buying the first thing that you see, then you may be a compulsive spender. Ask yourself if you really need that shirt or if it's just love at first sight. Try walking away without buying it, and if in a few days, you still want it, then go back to the store.

  4. You can't live without plastic. The credit card is king, and overspending is commonplace. In fact, the average American household has over $8,000 in credit card debt. That number may sound like a lot to some, but to the shopaholic that statistic may ring true. Do you think you could live one week paying for all your purchases with cash? If not, then you may be too reliant on your credit card. Try to limit your credit card purchases to emergencies and use cash when shopping.

  5. You're constantly making excuses. "I just had to buy that." "I couldn't live without it." "It wasn't that expensive." If you need to justify your unnecessary purchases with excuses such as these, you may be a shopaholic. Like other damaging habits, excessive spending can inspire guilt and false reasoning. Pay attention to the reasons and excuses for your purchases. Think about how justifiable they are—you may be surprised at your realization.

  6. You've tried to control your spending in the past. Whether we are dieting, trying to exercise more, or trying to spend less money, it is a common sign that there is a problem when we try to alter the way we do things. A telltale sign that you're a shopaholic is continuously attempting to control your spending habits to no avail. To adequately curb your buying bonanzas, try to set a weekly budget for yourself or concentrate on purchasing just the necessities.