I shop, therefore Iâm broke
I am a financial backslider. I have begun again my journey to financial freedom; I’m full of fear because I am almost 50. I took a sharp detour from financial freedom four years ago, even though “totally debt-free living” was then a stone’s throw away.
Don’t know why my spending went out of control. I did notice that during this four year spending binge, I stopped keeping a spreadsheet of my spending and I stopped watching Suze Orman.
Well, I’ve resumed both of those habits now. Suze is helping me learn to forgive myself and start over, although I still hit myself in the head about once a week. One thing Suze says is if we do not determine why we are spending recklessly, we are destined to repeat the same financial mistakes. I’m living that truth.
Ten years ago I thought I had discovered why I spent money. Happen-stance threw me into a workplace where an old boyfriend worked. I saw his name on a work phone directory and called him up. Ours had been a torrid affair with a very emotional break-up, 10 years earlier. After we talked on the phone, and both agreed we did not want to meet, I remember hanging up the phone, going to my car and driving to the nearest mall where I charged $300 of clothing. That was the first time I had such a direct connection between my emotions and my spending. I realized that when I did not get emotional fulfillment from a person, I tried to get it by spending money on things.
Fast forward 6 years, it’s 2004, I have no mortgage, no car payment, no CC debt, one year of living expenses saved, and a $31000 HELOC balance. And I am crying at the smallest things for absolutely no reason. I also have no close relationships and can’t seem to foster friendship. It seemed to me that I was working to save money to continue this cycle of working and saving so that I could live to a ripe, secure, lonely old age.
Then, TV shopping came into my life. Finally, someone is ringing my doorbell to see me, but it’s the UPS man. When I watch the TV shopping channels, I rue knowing I am 40-something and I identify with the old ladies of 70 and 80 who are finding community with the TV shopping hosts.
I did substantial CC damage in these four years. Forced to turn the unsecured debt into secured debt in order to handle the payments. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
My goal this year, besides reducing debt, is to rid myself of the clutter of “stuff” in my home. By October I want nothing in my home that I am not using. I am selling things, donating to charity, and now I have a coworker who overheard me saying I am donating size 14 clothing to charity. Audrey is a size 14 and said she’s not too proud to take a handout. We don’t know each other well, she’s a little annoying, but we don’t work directly together. Another coworker gave her a nice coat, but I overheard Audrey complaining that “the top button was missing”. That turned me off. I once let an acquaintance come to my house and take some shoes off my hands. She tried them on, took what she liked. Then, 3 months later, the acquaintance decided she did not like all the shoes and wanted to give them back! I was amazed at her brashness, told her they were hers to do what she liked. I didn’t like that attitude.
The thing is, I am sitting here actually tense over Audrey’s acceptance of my hand-me-downs. Why the “F” do I care what she thinks?? I think therein lies some clues as to why I shop.