I admit it. I’m an emotional spender. If I am feeling depressed or angry or trapped there is nothing like acquired validation. The problem is that this form of self medicating can ruin my financial (and thus the rest of my) life. Particularly in a day and age where all I have to do is click my savings away at online stores. Once I accepted that I had this problem, I was able to combat it.
Go Card Free
I don’t have cards. I don’t have credit cards, debit cards, store cards, or any other card that allows me to spend my money with a swipe while ignoring the cost on the screen. I have checks because I have to see how much I am writing out in order to use a check, but there was a time I didn’t even trust myself with checks. I carried cash for my daily needs. I shopped only stores near my bank so that I wouldn’t lose my money between the bank and the grocery store. In short, I restricted my access to convenient money.
I didn’t tell the whole world. I did tell my fiance. I told him that when we got married I couldn’t have access to the account. I would work, and I would bring in money, but he needed to be the one to police the account. It made me feel a little juvenile, but I felt this conversation was a better one to have than the one about where all the money went.
What I was in charge of was paying the bills. I would make sure our rent got payed on time or that our electric bill was paid in full. This kept me in touch with our financial situation and kept me more rational about wanting to spend.
These of course are temporary fixes. I couldn’t go my whole life avoiding money. I had to face the problem of what was making me want to spend. In my case it was an expression of self worth. Wasn’t I worth a new dress? Wasn’t I worth eight settings of dishes in my choice of color and design? Of course I was! It wasn’t until a friend pointed out my spending to me that I realized I had a problem.
Spending can be an addiction and just like any other addict I needed a support system. Since I recognized my problem early I relied on family and friends and was able to deal with my issue without proffesional help. Others are not so fortunate. Many don’t have a support system to help them and could end up swimming in a river of debt and unpaid bills. For these people proffessional help is the best way to avoid spending more money than they have.
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