Are You a Shopaholic?

September 28th, 2012. Filed under: Finance & Fitness Fridays.

I recently read a book titled Confessions of a Shopaholic.  Is this a book you could have written? 

Do you really enjoy shopping a lot?  Do you shop when you’re sad or depressed?  Do you shop when you’re bored?  Do you shop when you want to celebrate?  Do you shop just because you deserve to shop?

Take a look at your finances.  Do you have a lot of debt, especially credit card debt?  Are you living paycheck to paycheck?

Do you have an emergency or backup fund?  Or do you just plan to use your credit card in case of emergency? 

I never reached the point of the narrator in this book, but I had plenty of debt; mostly it was credit card debt.

At one time I was using one credit card to pay the other.  Now that’s double the finance charge on the same debt.  Not a good place to be.  Back when “happy hour” included food, a couple cheap watered down drinks would buy me one good meal for the day.  And it wasn’t unusual for me to load my plate high so I could take my “leftovers” home in a plastic baggie I carried in my purse.

I managed to dig my way out of debt and build up a good emergency fund.  Boy, that certainly felt good.  I swore I would never again go into debt.

Guess what.  I’m there again.  I was literally thrown back into that uncomfortable place called debtville.  A kid rammed me from behind while I was stopped at a traffic signal.  Okay, I’ll do the physical therapy and all that the doctor said to do, and then I’ll be back to 100% and back to work.  WRONG!

When I mentioned something like that to my doctor, he informed me that I would never be back to 100%.  He also told me I would never again be able to work an 8 hour nursing shift.  That’s not something that a nurse who works 12 hour shifts wants to hear.  It’s not something any nurse wants to hear.

So now my so called emergency fund doesn’t even have $300 in it.  I’m once again in credit card debt due to a car emergency that cost over $3,000.  I’ve managed to get that up over $4,000 now.

Once again I’m living paycheck to paycheck as I took early social security.  Consumer Man is helping with my rent, but he has his own financial issues right now.  He’s been trying to find a job in the area here so he can move back here.  It will be better for finances as well as for the marriage.  It’s not easy to have a long distance relationship.

Why am I going into all this?  If you’re shopping your way into a financial mess, you need to learn from me that you can’t always anticipate life’s twists and turns.  Read this book and let it scare you a little.  Let it scare you a lot if you recognize any of yourself in Rebecca. 

I’ve returned to the snowball and snowflake methods of paying off that credit card, but it isn’t easy when one’s income is totally stretched.  Please dig out now before you end up in my situation.

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