Shopping &spending Us Into Debt (Long & Non Cake Rel

Lounge By SaraClassic Updated 17 Jun 2009 , 2:32am by nannie

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SaraClassic Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 8:54pm
post #1 of 25

Ok so I have read about others divorces and personal lives and I have never been compelled to share intimate issues until today when I realize I have no one to talk to about my problem. My close family & friends either dont get it or I cant face them because I get embarrassed. So... what do you do when you shop to much? funny problem?? No way, I mean if we have $100 in the bank I will pack up the kids, check to make sure I have enough gas to get to the store and back and then count till $100 and spend it...all...because its there. We have NO savings, we had 11 thousand in Feb ( military bonus) and now less then $300. I paid 1k to credit cards ( we have $15 in CCard dept at least, plus our schools and mortgage by the way ) the other money was $800 on a new couch/chaise and um....random bills, cake things of course, Ebay buys, new kids clothes ( they didnt need) and just $200 here and there. My husband knows I spend a lot but today was the day the big blow up. I feel worthless, I bake so much but the little extra $ helps and I feel liek the kids get less attention and the house stay cluttered. I wont say dirty, were not dirty, but for we sure have toys every where.
I need help, it is such a stree relief and joy to shop but it is gurting my family. Please dont respond to this if your goign to nag me about self control and tell me to " just stop" , it may sound stupid but it is a habbit, like smoking I'd guess, and I just cant. I really need some help and some advise I know Im not alone...??? Any good tips to help guide me the right direction? Im so glad I have a network to come to and dont feel ashamed.
icon_redface.gif Thanks!!

24 replies
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4rays2hunny_bunnies2 Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 11:39pm
post #2 of 25

I have that same problem, $800 for shoes that I don't need and probably will never wear, new t.v. for all rooms of the house, new furniture when the styles change, and etc. When I get depressed I go shopping. It is like a drug and it is very addicting. I have tried to stop but then something bad happens and the only comfort is to shop. Right now I am not allowed to use the credit cards, I can't use my checks, and my debit card has been cancelled. My Dh did it to keep me from spending every dime that we had but it still feels so unfair. It is like If I can't shop what else is there to life. I am so glad to know that there are other people out there who have this problem. But it has helped that my husband "cut me off" and we are eventually starting to recover. So there is hope.

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funcakes Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 11:41pm
post #3 of 25

I am not going to nag. I feel a lot of compassion for you! I know how much this is tearing you apart. This is a problem that many people have. It is NOT a character flaw or a lack of self control. I can tell from your post that you are not buying things as a self indulgence.
If your husband is in the military (or if you are) I think you may be able to get some real help from a counselor for free or on a sliding fee that you can afford. Not a financial person, but a behavioral psychologist who will work with you to find out why you need to do this, or a cognitive therapist who won't care why you do it but will give you ways to stop doing it. Advice from friends just might not be everything you need right now.
I know some people think therapy is just a lot of feel good stuff. Therapy is a lot of hard work, and if you stick with it it does work. It has saved some peoples' lives and made other lives really worth living. You deserve to be happy.

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Kiddiekakes Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 11:45pm
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Although I can't relate to this particular problem..I do have a friend that is exactly the same...She will shop till she drops and spend every dime on "Stuff"she doesn't really need and then feels guilty after every trip.Her hubby and her have had many blow outs over her spending habits etc...Their house needs renovations and a new roof etc and she chooses to go on a trip for a week that cost $6000,00 with nothing to show for it after except a good tan.I don't have any really good advice except maybe talk to a counsellor or therapist..they say it is the root of another underlying issue.Good luck!

Laurel icon_smile.gif

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maryjsgirl Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 7:25am
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I think you need counseling.

It seems as though you have an addiction to the "high" you get from shopping. Probably due to some depression or some void in your life you are trying to fill.

I say you need counseling, because you probably have an addictive personality. Say if your husband took away your ability to access money, you would probably turn to another thing (just as damaging) to get this "high". So you need to find out where it all stems from to really free yourself.

In the meantime couldn't your husband set up an account in just his name for savings? If it is an option he could even have it set up to have a certain percentage of his paycheck direct deposited into it.

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Texas_Rose Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 10:08am
post #6 of 25

One thing that might help you is to switch to cash. We couldn't use our bank account for about a year because someone had stolen my husband's identity, and we had to pay cash for everything. It's a lot more painful handing over the money than it is swiping a piece of plastic. You can also tell exactly how much you have, and know that when the envelope's empty, that's it until payday. I know it made me slow big weakness was buying kids' clothes. I never had enough clothes when I was a kid and so I get way too carried away buying my kids clothes. I still do it somewhat, but now I make myself go to Goodwill to get them clothes. It's more work and takes longer but costs less. I also make myself wash and iron anything I buy for them the same day I get it, so that it doesn't feel like such a reward buying stuff.

Maybe you could sell some of your excess stuff on Craigslist or have a garage sale. For me, when there's a ton of clutter it means that we have accquired too much stuff. It's kind of a bad cycle, because if the house is too cluttered I would rather go to the store than stay home and fix it, and then I bring home more stuff and it never even gets put away, just sits in its bags on the dining room floor until someone needs whatever it is. But if I can focus on getting rid of things, then I can organize and the house gets a little more comfortable (I need to do it now, we moved in 2 months ago and I can't see the floor at all in the kids' room, I can't walk in there to start fixing it. I was using the wheelchair for an excuse but I've been walking for a month now).

Do you think maybe the issue is that you're not working? I know I've had trouble with the transition from normal grownup to super mom. Sometimes I want to go to the store just so that I can talk to people who don't speak three-year-old. Maybe you could find something to do, even volunteer work if you don't want as many hours as a job might take, that would get you out of the house and give you some interaction with other adults.

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Rylan Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 1:12pm
post #7 of 25

When I used to work, every paycheck goes to shoes and clothes. As a hobby, I collect limited edition sneakers (I know it's pretty lame) and I was just insane getting shoes almost every week. I just can't stop it... I felt like, as long as there is money, there are shoes.

When I got into cake decorating, I stopped shoe shopping. I kept myself busy with cakes and it helped. It also helps when you don't have a job anymore =] (although I don't suggest you quit yours)

You mentioned, "it is such a stress relief and joy to shop but it is hurting my family"

Find other ways to relieve stress. Go camping or fishing with your family. If that isn't your taste, go have a picnic at the park. It really doesn't cost a lot. There are plenty of ways to relieve stress and cake decorating is one. Go to the gym or start a new hobby that doesn't invlove a lot of money.

You should also start organizing things at home. Because if you see home as a mess, you would want to go out even more. If your house is clean and organized, you would love to stay.

If you are going to spend on something, always think twice. Also, ask yourself these questions:

1. If it came to the point where we have nothing, how am I going to feed the kids?
2. If it came to the point where I spent it all, how am I able to pay utility bills?
3. How will life be if there is nothing left?

If you think this doesn't help, you need special attention. It really isn't healthy for you or your family when you have no self control. Remember, this is only the beginning -- what more if it is all gone.

Good luck.

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indydebi Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 1:30pm
post #8 of 25

Agree that it sounds like a counseling issue. Also check out . The man is a GOD in getting people on the right track.

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SaraClassic Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 5:03pm
post #9 of 25

Thank you all so much for your thoughtful replies. I just sat in tears readin tthat thinking someone I dont know actually understands and others have a will to read my rant of a post and reply. icon_redface.gif
I agree it is a counceling issue, but I cant even go the the normal Dr. with out tagging along my 2 kids. I really want to go, actually I would LOVE to go for 2 reasons, I get out of the house ( and thats part of my shopping, I get out and have the kids locked in the cart, its relaxing) and also I get help.
I will check out the military options, I forget about them since we switched from active duty to Guard. As well as online advisers and help. I sat up last night feeling sick over this and watched Suzie Orman...OMG she is a tough cookie.
Any other ideas and helpful posts is appericated!
Thank you all, CC is 2nd addiction icon_razz.gif and a wonderful network of good people!

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Deb_ Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 6:57pm
post #10 of 25

How about if you hand over all the financial responsibilities to your husband for a while?

Don't carry any credit cards with you, in fact cut them up or place them in a plastic container filled with water and freeze it. That way you can't shop on a whim, but they're there for an emergency.

I would sit down with your DH and ask him to help you get through this.

The two of you need to set some guidelines about weekly allowances, savings, budget etc.


Do you have a Pastor that you could speak to?

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SaraClassic Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 8:17pm
post #11 of 25
Originally Posted by dkelly

How about if you hand over all the financial responsibilities to your husband for a while?

Don't carry any credit cards with you, in fact cut them up or place them in a plastic container filled with water and freeze it. That way you can't shop on a whim, but they're there for an emergency.

I would sit down with your DH and ask him to help you get through this.

The two of you need to set some guidelines about weekly allowances, savings, budget etc.


Do you have a Pastor that you could speak to?

Yes thats what started it all, we are handing over financial responsibility from myself to him. He got a GOOD look at it all and was highly upset.
Great idea about the freezing of the cards, I'll have to do that. We are settign up a schedule of "allowance" for both of us, but I just want to shop and will sit here and use PayPal because it's so easy. ( I did get on and cancel our acct info off PayPal today ) But thats where we are going with it all, its embarrassing and depressig but maybe the slap in the face I need.

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OfficerMorgan Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 9:30pm
post #12 of 25

No, it isn't a funny problem. It's a real problem.
We all have a weakness-drugs, alcohol, sex, and for some it is shopping. What you need to do is to discover what it is that shopping is covering up-what pain or hole you are trying to gloss over or fill.

Two great books-Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, and also Automatic Millionaire by David Bach.

Good luck icon_smile.gif

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TheDomesticDiva Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 1:42pm
post #13 of 25

I don't shop at the same level as spending everything, but I do enjoy shopping, sometimes too much and my husband will have to ask me to calm it down occasionally. I've found what helps me the most is to have a list with me if I'm going out shopping to cut down on my impulse buys.

Another thing that REALLY helps me is that I will go through the store and fill my cart up with as many clothes/shoes/whatever I want, and then I walk around the store for an hour, and look at the stuff in my cart and think of just how much I dont NEED those things, and how many other IMPORTANT things that money could go toward, and by the end of that hour, I have generally put every single thing back. My friends tease me that I ask them to go shopping, and then end up never buying anything. But it works!!

And if I do just feel like I HAVE to buy something I don't need, I keep the receipt and turn around and take it right back the next day. Don't even get the bag out of the car. Return it. Then I get my "fix" and don't actually spend anything.

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Kimmers971 Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 2:19pm
post #14 of 25

I know exactly how you feel and I'm single - 1 income. I try to tell myself I don't need this or that and still end up spending the money. This has gone on for years. My Mom has tried to help me, etc and it just doesn't work. She agrees it is an addiction just like alcohol or drugs and is thankful I never did that stuff. But's hard to change.

I wish you luck and send my prayers.

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cakes22 Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 3:10pm
post #15 of 25

In Canada they have this show called "Till Debt Do Us Part". Its a great show and a real wake-up call for those who spend outside of their means.

She (Gail) is a real ball-breaker and tells it like it is. I have included her link to her website. She has a budget that you can download and she has some great advice as to how to live on a budget (cash only, no debit or credit cards) plus she helps you save a little and work on a debt-repayment plan.

I would also talk to your bank and credit card company about a lower interest rate or pay-back plan. Also, there are debt-councillors that can help you consolidate your debt-load and come up with an affordable payback plan. I have a bank card that allows me to round up to the nearest $ or $5 and that extra goes into a savings account. I have managed to save $165 in 3 months. I would have never put that money in to an account on my own.

Good luck to you and I hope you can get things under control.

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SaraClassic Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 3:53pm
post #16 of 25

Thank you all for your deas and advise, I'll check out those books . I have done so much of that spend, buy & return stuff...sort of like a high you can return. I actually had to have my hubby return stuff because I felt like I did it too much at one place. Sigh... Just going to find home improvement projects and get involved more in yard work, prijects with my 3 yr old ( we are painting the home made dog house today ) and stay at home !
Thank you again !!!

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margaretb Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 5:40pm
post #17 of 25

It must have been terribly difficult getting all that out in the open with your spouse. I think the fact that you could do that and are willing to try strategies to change this problem speaks volumes about your character.

You've gotten some great advice. I can relate to buying things for the kids -- IT'S FOR THE KIDS, so it must be okay. I also tend to go crazy grocery shopping -- I'm like my dad -- if the kids can get it in the cart, then I'll buy it, plus I am a packrat. Wal-mart -- another bad one. I would be worse on E-bay if I lived in the states, but the shipping costs and dollar conversions keep me somewhat in check.

Why do I shop? Not having spent much time on introspection here, I would say because it is something that I am successful at. I mean, my house is a wreck, and maybe my kids are grouchy, but I can go out and get the groceries, and that is an acceptable use of my time, and when I come home I have all the awesome groceries and treats. Or stuff from Walmart or whatever. It also gets me out of my house that is a wreck, and if I had to go to town with the kids to do the shopping, how could I have time for the house. It makes me feel very grown-up to HAVE MONEY THAT I CAN SPEND (is there an age where you actually feel like a real grown up yet? I'll probably feel like this in my dotage). I guess it makes me feel important or something -- my responsibility is making sure we have enough toilet paper and grocery bags and cans of soup and toothbrushes, so it's a fun part of my job. It's entertaining.

Debt -- well, I commend you for not being in worse debt than you are (I am -- worse than you, that is).

Help -- well, this is a little of the blind leading the blind, here, but as for clutter -- And if I had to boil it down, I would say spend 15 minutes -- only 15 minutes -- a day decluttering. Get rid of things that are broken or duplicates or make you feel bad (mementos of painful times in the past) and keep only what you need and love. -- I am somewhat devoted to the site, but I have yet to put it all into practice, but that's okay, because I am making small small progress. Also, for the money stuff, maybe you would enjoy reading financial books -- money management, investment, get out of debt stuff. I enjoy reading them (still in debt, but at least I am knowledgable). There is a list of financial books somewhere on that the author has reviewed, which would be a great place to look for some titles. Or just look up one book in your library and see what else is on the shelf.

You are definitely not alone with this problem. Best wishes with your turn around.


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mkolmar Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 3:43am
post #18 of 25

I swear if I didn't know any better I would think you were my mother posting on here. She has the same problem. When she was laid off from work she took her paycheck and spent the WHOLE thing on clothes and shoes, some of which didn't even fit. My dad begged me to come over and help talk some sense in to her because she has put them into thousands of dollars of debt with her spending.

This is not uncommon. If you know anyone who works in a mall they will tell you about how a lot of people get a high from shopping. The only problem is that as soon as they get home or wear the item the feeling leaves and they want to buy more again.

Go check out the above advice about Dave Ramsey and also please go talk to someone. There is something more on a deeper level going on that you may not even be 100% aware of. For my mom it was the feeling of being out of control. She always loved shopping and is great at it so when she feels down she blows money like the wind because then she's in control. There is actually more reasons than that for her but I won't get into that.

I'm glad you are trying to take the right steps. Please keep us posted.

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emrldsky Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 6:06pm
post #19 of 25

Sweetie, some women eat when they're emotional, you shop. The only difference is you're hurting your family on a different level. I was going to suggest counseling (helped me with my emotional eating and other issues) and handing things over to your hubby. I see they've already been mentioned, so good! My only other thought is getting your hubby to watch the kids so you can go to counseling. Some offer evening hours.

Just take each day one at a time, and good luck! You've gotten some wonderful advice!!

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margaretb Posted 16 Jun 2009 , 7:14pm
post #20 of 25

Here is a list of financial books that have been reviewed on The Simple Dollar. The titles link to his reviews, which will give you a good idea of whether you want to read the book. I just get the ones I want through interlibrary loans.

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Lil_Belle Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 12:30am
post #21 of 25

The best thing I ever did was get a debt consolidation loan from my bank. I only had like 1200.00 in CC debt but I just couldn't keep up with it. Since I still don't technically own my car (my mom bought it for me when I was underage and the slip is in her name) the bank could only give me the loan if I swore to not use my CC during the duration of my loan. I had to send out letters to my CC companies along with the checks and I couldn't try to open a new one or else I would get it from my bank.

During that time I had to live for about 1.2 years just using my paycheck, it was hard at first but I realized that using my CC only got me things I didn't need. I could still buy food/gas/necessities just not all the crazy extras. Lately I see my friends buying new clothes/shoes/etc. and I think damn I want to get new things but I realized I don't need them. It will take time and endurance but you can do it icon_smile.gif I did, and hey that means just about anyone can icon_biggrin.gif!

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indydebi Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 1:02am
post #22 of 25
Originally Posted by Lil_Belle

During that time I had to live for about 1.2 years just using my paycheck, it was hard at first but I realized that using my CC only got me things I didn't need. I could still buy food/gas/necessities just not all the crazy extras. Lately I see my friends buying new clothes/shoes/etc. and I think damn I want to get new things but I realized I don't need them. It will take time and endurance but you can do it icon_smile.gif I did, and hey that means just about anyone can icon_biggrin.gif!

It's amazing what we can live without when we have to pay cash for it.

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costumeczar Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 1:59am
post #23 of 25

You can also look into Overspenders Anonymous. Compulsive shopping is another type of addiction, and it's a symptom of something else. There's been some good advice on here about the practical side of getting your debt under control, but you also need to figure out what it is that you're trying to "fix" by spending so much. That's the counselling part of it, but if you can't afford that, try to find an Overspender's group meeting or online group.

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BeeBoos-8599_ Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 2:04am
post #24 of 25

I did not take the time to read all of the posts so please excuse me if I repeat any advise you have allready been given.
First of all freeezing your credit cards will not help. You need to get rid of them. Call and close every account then set up a repayment plan for each one. If you explain to the companies that you are in financial trouble they will work with you but you need to take the ability to spend away from yourself.
Secondly I agree that Dave Ramsey is awesome. We started his system 2 years ago and are now debt free. Putting down the credit card was the hardest thing to do but after some time you will realize you do not need them. Go onto the cash only program and you have to have a budget so that you see exactly where your money is going. Have it spent before it is there. Every penny needs to have a home.
Thirdly you need to give your hubby full control of all of the money. You will get an allowance and you will know what every penny of it is to be used for. You will also sit down with him and pay the bills TOGETHER.
You really need to stop beating yourself up and just put on your big girl panties and take responsability for your actions. What do you want for your children? Remember that they are watching every move you make!

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nannie Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 2:32am
post #25 of 25

I do so admire you're courage in speaking up and asking for advice. thumbs_up.gif

If I undersoot you correctly, you said you also enjoy shopping cause it gets you out of the house. I don't have kids and can't imagine how stressful it must be to be home with them all day. It must be somwhat isolating. Maybe you can replace this damaging habit with another more productive one.

Depending on the age of the kids, maybe you can get out of the house doing other things: park, walks, maybe a park district activity. You can be with others and the kids are involved too

Anyway, best wishes to you. You are making positive steps and that is half the battle

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