My money problems really came into full swing

Hi everyone,

My name is Victoria and I am 23. I just wanted to introduce myself and my situation. I guess my money problems really came into full swing a year after I moved from my parents house. I left the day I turned 18 and lived in a horrible apartment and had to money. I started savings and soon had over $10,000 saved. I was thrilled and I thought I could treat myself just this once. In a matter of weeks the money was gone and I turned to credit cards. I left that apartment and took a job that paid very little but I loved. I HAD to use my credit cards to get by and by the time I was making more money I got injured and lost my job. By that time I was about $15,000 in debt and I couldn’t go home, I had no where to live and I was hurt. I stuck it out for a while (with cards of course) and finally was able to move back in with my parents. We never got along well, but they love me and I am fortunate enough that I was able to tell them my situation and they were able to pay my bills while I am not working due to back surgery. I got rid of all my credit cards and am living cash only. I have a very hard time not spending money. It makes me happy for a second. I see something and I HAVE to have it. I am trying to focus on saving and keep the thought in my head that I REALLY want to move out ASAP. I am glad to meet people who may have insights on debt management. Thanks everyone. Its great to meet you all.

This really struck a chord for me. At the root of my spending problem is that same feeling – I see something and absolutely have to have it (incidentally, have same problem with food).

The key for me, which that led to one tool for battling this issue, are those word “SEE something”. Believe it or not, I have actually found that “out of sight, out of mind” can be helpful in avoiding overspending (and overeating). It’s not a fix-all, and it’s a small tool, but sometimes just distancing yourself by distracting yourself can lessen that urge to act on what you saw that you want.

Sometimes, for example, I will get a catalog (have been stopping those from coming in the mail also), I will go thru it and see a whole lot of stuff I want (especially kitchen stuff!). So I mark all the stuff I want … then put the book away. If I can avoid acting on buying any of it for at least a period of time, I find that urge sometimes completely goes away, and I end up ordering nothing at all.

Of course, as a therapist once taught me, it is possible to teach yourself moderation. You can find ways to treat yourself so you don’t feel completely deprived. For example, I love chocolate. That’s a problem for both my waistline, and my wallet – especially because I’m attracted to high end chocolate at $65 a pound!!. So I found a middle ground – dark chocolate has health benefits. And these days you can buy excellent quality chocolate in grocery stores for good prices. So I get myself a $4 block of Ghirardelli Bittersweet, and make myself a lowfat mousse or flourless torte. Now I’ve gone from spending $65 to spending $4 (and cutting calories) — AND I still have my favorite treat.

It took me a long time to get to this point – I bought a lot of $65 a pound chocolates for about a year. Then I got to a point where there’s no way I can afford $65 a pound for chocolate, because I’m having trouble finding the $65 a month for my car insurance … watch this helpful video:

So I would advise, just as one small tool to use, try the out-of-sight-out-of-mind / distraction / delay tactic. And also try finding a cheaper version of what you want to give yourself some treats sometimes.

These things have both worked well for me, even though they are rather small tools. I hope they provide some help for you.