Spending Less, Loving More - The Cycle

>> Friday, February 13, 2015

In my compulsive spending mind, I think more about how I could spend my money and what I could spend it on, rather than do the responsible thing like, oh....I don't know....pay bills.

It's always the same story.  It's a vicious cycle.

Each pay period I tell myself that I will be responsible. I will track what I spend. I will not do any unnecessary shopping - which means staying out of the craft stores, book stores, clothing stores. Basically anywhere which requires me to pull out cash or my debit card. (I no longer have any credit cards - period.) But the debit card is just as bad. It's like using a credit card, but it's only using the cash you have on hand -- which is usually already earmarked for responsible things -- car payment, insurance, mortgage, etc.

But inevitably, the temptation kicks in and the urge grows so strong that it's literally hard to ignore that deep-seated need. And then the cycle begins. The mad dash to shop -- to buy things that I just don't need - all because I want it. I have to have it, although I don't know why. The euphoria of finding good deals. Of finding something I really like and instead of buying just one - I buy one of every basic color. At craft stores I'll buy supplies, telling myself all the while that it's a project that I'll get to. When in reality I've got LOTS of projects I'll "get to" sitting in my garage, my laundry room, on my living room floor.

But then there's the other side. The downside once the binge is over. The buyer's remorse that sets in. The guilt that eats me up inside. The negative self-talk that I go through over and over and over. And it's always the same.

"You're so stupid. How could you do that again"

"You just have no self-control."

"You're useless and worthless. If you can't control this, then no wonder your life is so screwed up."

"You're such a disappointment to everyone."

And then once I finish that conversation, I just tell myself that I'll "make it right" by taking some stuff back. Completing the cycle. At least until it starts all over again.

So we have -- the urge, the act, the euphoria, the remorse, the guilt, the self-hatred, the return (act of contrition).

In the midst of all this, I would try to hide my spending. Trying to stay one step ahead. Trying to detour my husband from wanting to spend money -- usually on stuff for the house. I'd get angry when he'd want to spend money on a 6-pack or go to Happy Hour. I recognize that as displaced anger. Anger towards him, when I'm internally angry with myself.

In Debtors Anonymous, we are taught to immediately start tracking our spending and to take it one day at a time. In my case, it has to be one hour at a time. We are also encouraged to be held accountable - which is where this blog and FB page comes in.

By writing and sharing, I am holding myself accountable. And just for today, I will take it one hour at a time.


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