Out of Control Spending - Understanding Finance and Money

by Matthew Hick - Date: 2007-05-24 - Word Count: 641 Share This!

American spending is out of control! American consumers are more than $600 billion in credit card debt alone. We are a society that wants everything now, with no thought to how it we'll pay for it later. Many experts worry that the ease in which Americans can obtain high levels of credit is turning into shopping addicts.

Spending money (even if we don't have it), is mesmerizing. Whipping out the gold or platinum card makes us feel important and powerful. When in reality overspending can cause you to lose your sense of balance, well being and rationalization.

So, how do you know if you've crossed the line from over-indulging to compulsive shopping? When shopping is the only thing that makes you feel good, it may be time to go cold turkey. It's one thing to buy a new pair of shoes once in awhile when you're feeling down, and another when you have to hit the mall for a hit in order to get through the day. When every new purchase brings you a sudden rush of excitement and pleasure, making it necessary to indulge in just one more item you don't need, your body has turned the rush of serotonin from your brain's neurotransmitters into an addictive chemical response to shopping.

In short: when shopping gets you "high," it's time to stop. To see if your shopping sprees may be more than just a day out, Debtor's Anonymous suggests asking yourself these key questions:

-Do I shop to make myself feel better, happier, or more liked by those around me?
-Do I often hide my purchases from my friends and family?
-Do I worry how I'll pay for my purchases, but buy them anyway?
-Do I consistently spend more than I make?
-Do I feel shame or guilt after a purchase?
-Am I using bill money to buy senseless items?
-Do I panic at the thought of living without my credit cards?
-Do I regularly use one credit card to pay off another?
-Do I live in constant chaos and worry about money?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it may be time to seek both financial and emotional counseling. Therapy can help you sort out the feelings behind your need to buy love and admiration, while credit counseling can help you sort out your financial mess and get back on track.

How can you get started on the road to financial freedom? Start here:

Acknowledging that you are addicted to shopping. Denial is a strong incentive to keep shopping. Take a good look at your bills. Are they reasonable? Make a list of everything you owe - no matter how big or small the amount. Now, look around your house. Are you really living the lifestyle of someone with so much debt? Most of us are surprised at how little substance accumulated along with this huge debt.

Find a credit counselor. Learn to spend more sensibly. Create a budget and stick t it.

Pay smaller bills first. This will give you some level of success, and the strength to keep going.

Find new ways to feel good. Exercise is known to release the same levels of feel good chemicals into your body as shopping. Get high on exercise instead.

Get support. Talk with friends, family, or a good counselor. Join an over-spender's support group if necessary, just be sure to surround yourself with people who can understand your addiction, and support your recovery.

Learn to be content. Do you like your car? Then, why buy a new one? Stop trying to impress those around you with things. Learn to be happy with what you already have.

Control your spending, find new ways to make yourself content and happy, and someday you may open the mailbox to discover all of your outstanding debt has been aid in full.

Related Tags: personal finance, finance software, finance news, finance advice, finance investing

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