Re: My money problems really came into full swing

Hi Victoria,

I have a few things to say to you which will hopefully give inspiration. You are a young, smart and motivated woman. You made a mistake with getting into debt and now you have every reason to realize how not to get into that situation again.

You are also very lucky that your parents are supportive as they are.

Many people don’t have that.

Now, think about your discipline to save $10,000 in the first place.

You have what it takes to control your spending, paying off your bills, recovering physically, finding a job you like and saving more money. You’ve got a lot going for you.

You say your parents love you and are helping you, then stay awhile longer (as long as they let you) even after you get back on your feet financially. What’s your hurry with moving out ASAP. I understand you may have a need to live independently but it seems that your first try went a little sour. It does for many people so you are not alone. I don’t get along that well with my parents and I’m 40! But we manage to have a great family relationship. I had a situation occur (not financial) where I had to move back to their house, with my infant son. And I am so grateful for their support!

It’s a good thing you aren’t using the credit cards any more and living by using cash instead. I lived that way for a long time after my credit card debts were paid off. I did however find a healthy way to have a line of credit, use it once in a while (to build and retain a decent credit score) and mostly see it as my extreme emergency fund. The best money management advice I can give you is this: “always spend less than you make, and you will come out ahead” It took me years to learn that.

I was about $14,000.00 in credit card debt, but I was 30. It took me 5 years to pay it off and pay all my other living expenses at the same time. I didn’t buy myself anything new for those 5 years and I got use to not spending money. I actually started enjoying other things about life more.

thank you everyone for your nice words. I think most people go through life thinking that they are their own person, you know the only one to experience the problems that they are facing… no one understands, that mentality. It is so nice to meet people who are in the same boat. I am glad to know I am not the only one who has moderation issues… SO who wants to go shoe shopping?? Just kidding….

for me a big part of the spending problem was enjoying the pleasant anticipation of receiving a package in the future. Maybe it will be there when I get home was the mindset. Didn’t really matter what it was.

I’m the same way, so I signed up for a Freebies mailing list and I go to the links the list sends every day to get free coupons, free samples, etc.. so I get free crap in the mail. I actually use the stuff though and saves money sometimes. Like I got a free sample of some new Tide product yesterday, saves me on detergent, or last week I got 2 free samples from ALways and it had 2 pads and a pantyliner in each, so those went in my purse for emergencies.

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.