I like to spend money. And I think I’ve got a problem with it. But here’s the deal: I never spend enough so that I get in to debt, or so that I can’t pay the credit card off in full every month, but I know I have a weird relationship with money and things.
Here are some examples of what I mean:
1. I buy things and then never use or wear them
2. I don’t like to have things second-hand (which goes totally against my desire to reduce the number of “things” in the world and ‘living-green’)
3. I impulse shop, especially at the grocery store, buying things I don’t know how to use and I often never get around to using them.
4. I buy myself things as rewards (I once bought myself Jimmy Choo shoes because I was going through a tough time. I’ve worn them exactly once. Even worse, they are python, which, now, as a vegetarian, I find singularly distasteful. They are still in my closet.)
5. I buy things and hide them from my husband and family.
6. I feel guilt and/or shame after certain purchases where I feel I’ve ‘splurged’.
7. I have lied about the actual cost of an item.
8. I feel that I ‘deserve’ certain things.
9. I throw away boxes, bags, tags before I get home.
10. I say things like, “Oh, I’ve had this” when asked if something is new.
I don’t necessarily think doing any one of these things now and again is a bad thing. However when I see the whole list here and when I realize how fast I was able to come up with (meaning, it took me about two minutes), I see it as a problem.
I believe with 100% certainty that this ‘thing’ I have around money keeps me from staying in the moment. I often worry about things I’ve purchased. Or I look at the credit card bill and wonder how it got so high and then see all the little purchases I’ve made. I’m the one who manages the money in our household (ruh roh!) and my husband never asks or says much of anything about what I buy. Which is nice…but I also never have to be accountable.
I’ve felt I’ve had some emotional issues with money for a while now, but because I’ve never been in financial trouble and because I actually manage the money very well, I’ve never looked at it. I tried to follow Dave Ramsay and Suze Orman, but I already do all the things they suggest. Neither of them seem to have much advice for someone who has their financial house in order on paper, but still have some financial issues lurking in their heads.
In all honesty, I’ve actually gotten much better with money. When my husband and I were both working and bringing in much more than we are today, I actually managed to save LESS than what we save today. So that’s an improvement, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t issues still. I have to wonder what I am using the process of buying for? What feelings am I NOT feeling because I am buying instead?
So, I’m starting the process of figuring it out. I’m using a book that I bought from Amazon: To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop by April Lane Benson. This book seems highly recommended among emotional/compulsive shoppers and I am going to give getting to the bottom of these issues my best effort.
Over the next however long it takes, Fridays will be finance days. I’ll be sharing the information I gather and how I’m doing. I feel certain that getting this emotional use of money figured out will only improve my ability to be here now.
Feel free to chime in whenever and to go on this journey with me. We’re all figuring this out together.