Shoppers take advantage of the Black Friday sales in New York City. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

How’s that retail therapy working for you?

There are a lot of people who use shopping, especially during the holiday season, to cope with stress, according to a new survey by Credit Karma.

More than half of the 1,000 consumers polled by Credit Karma said they have impulsively shopped to deal with feelings of stress, anxiety or depression. Twenty-three percent of respondents said they’ve maxed out a credit card in the past year.

So what’s stressing people out? Here’s what, according to the survey.

Finances. Nearly half of respondents said their personal finances are one of the primary reasons they are stressed out.

Emotional issues. Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed said they are dealing with anxiety, anger and depression.

Family. Drama at home with immediate family members is stressing out about one-third of respondents.

“Stress spending is a bit like having coffee while you are stressed: It’s an impulsive behavior that you think will calm you down, but all it does is make you feel even more jittery and anxious,” Teodora Pavkovic, a psychologist and life coach tells NBC News.

And here’s the thing. Your retail therapy may work in the short term, but then reality hits.

“We may feel some gratification, but the crummy feelings almost always return, and they may be even worse once you’ve added a surprise credit card charge to the mix,” wrote Nicole Spector for NBC News.

If all this sounds like you, read: How to have a meaningful holiday and get out of the vicious cycle of stress and debt.

Here’s some additional reading.
How do I stop emotional spending?

Holiday Spending: 5 Ways To Reduce Financial Stress

Is Retail Therapy Really Therapeutic?

As Lori Hil reports for Forbes, “To put that in perspective, Americans now have the highest credit card debt in U.S. history. According to Market Watch, U.S. households collectively have more than $1 trillion in credit card debt. This debt creates a cycle of stress, shame and fear.”

Color of Money question of the week
Do you stress spend during the holiday? If so, why? Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Put “Holiday Spending” in the subject line. Please include your name, city and state.

Live Chat canceled
This week’s live chat is canceled but I’ll be back next week, Dec. 7.

You won’t want to miss the next chat. I’ll be talking with Jeff Kreisler one of the co-authors of “Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter.” It was the Color of Money Book Club selection for last month.

Here’s the review: Your spending problem is all in your head — here’s why

Kreisler and his co-author, Dan Ariely, write: “From Bitcoin to Apple Pay, retinal scanners, Amazon preferences and drone delivery, more and more modern systems are designed to make us spend more, more easily and more often. We are in an environment that is ever more hostile to making thoughtful, well-reasoned, rational decisions. And because of these modern tools, it’s only going to get more difficult for us to make choices that serve our long-term interests.”

You will not want to miss this chat. Here’s the link to join the conversation next week.

What do the three UCLA shoplifting athletes say about the U.S. culture of entitlement?

Before the Thanksgiving holiday, I asked folks to weigh in on the UCLA freshman basketball players Cody Riley, Jalen Hill and LiAngelo Ball who shoplifted from three stores while visiting China.

Since then Ball’s father, LaVar, has drawn Twitter attention from President Trump.

Trump on LaVar Ball’s remarks: ‘I should have left them in jail!’

Ball had suggested the president hadn’t done much to help the young men return home.

In an interview, Ball said this about his son and the incident: “ ‘They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.’ I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses.”

“The UCLA players shoplifting in China only highlights the sense of entitlement we’re seeing in here in the U.S.,” wrote Alan from Los Angeles. “The fact that three talented ball players would risk their future only means that they didn’t think of the risk, and therein lays the entitlement. Perhaps this is a generational issue. These ball players, all freshman at UCLA, have mainly grown up in the digital and Kardashian era. It’s an era where the vanity and self congratulating has many looking for immediate satisfaction. Maybe these ball players should have done what the rest of us did when we were in college: Put it on the credit card!”

Benny A Estorga of Pasadena, Calif., wrote: “I think the behavior demonstrated by the UCLA players reflects EXACTLY how deplorable the U.S. culture of entitlements has become. This is not a new phenomenon. Over the past 20 plus years it’s only become worse within the college athletics experience. I’m extremely disappointed in the poor decisions and choices these athletes demonstrated on their trip to China. Having been given an opportunity to attend one of the country’s top universities, to be gifted with the ability to play a sport they love at a high level, for which they have dedicated their life and identity to pursue was not a fulfilling enough life achievement for them. That the players would stoop to this level of behavior to feel/ experience a ‘rush’ or ‘thrill’ is beyond my comprehension. As if the thrill of travelling to a new country/ culture isn’t enough.”

Will Hudson, St. Louis, Mo., wrote: “They obviously have the attitude they could do what they want, like so many spoiled rich kids. They deserve to have been left right where they were in China. Let Baller spend some money to get them out if he could. It would have been the best lesson for all concerned.”

“I’m not certain that shoplifting by three college basketball players has as much to do with the U.S. culture of entitlement as it does with our misplaced focus on athletic prowess and the money and fame those players bring to the university,” wrote Jan McCarthy of Keswick, Va. “Did you notice that none of the players admitted what they did was WRONG nor did they apologize for shaming all Americans when they did it? ‘It was stupid’ and ‘It was a mistake’ shows no remorse whatsoever except to be sorry they were caught and exposed. Student athletes are often glorified as they come up through high school and college and maybe into the pros. Bad behavior and bad grades are all ignored because they are stars and celebrities.”

Arthur Binz of Jacksonville, Fla., wrote: “This action says only that these student athletes do NOT deserve the position of responsibility they each hold in representing UCLA! Moreover, they should be banished from the team as they humiliated both UCLA and the USA!”

Color of Money columns this week
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Have a question about your finances? Michelle Singletary has a weekly live chat every Thursday at noon where she discusses financial dilemmas with readers. You can also write to Michelle directly by sending an email to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read more Color of Money columns, go here.

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