Monday, November 14, 2011


I have not done well over the past few days. 

The holiday spirit is affecting me and as a result I have spent a lot of money that I shouldn't have on things I just don't need. 

Over the weekend, I got into our garage and started sorting things out.  I made my way through bags upon bags of things I had stashed in the garage - hidden from my husband.  Craft supplies, books, bags from thrift stores.  As I made piles - things to take to Goodwill, boxes of the girls' clothes to share among friends, and a huge box to donate to Toys for Tots - I realize how sick I am and how this addiction has me in it's grip.   All that money - gone.

I did bite the bullet and listed some items for sale on eBay.  It's not much, but it's a start.  I also listed a bunch of books on a swap site.  If I build up credits, then I can use them instead of cash to satisfy that affair that I have with books.  I deposited money into my postage account so that I'm able to mail the books this week.  I just need to follow through.  I have a problem with following through with my obligations -- which spills over into paying bills.

We finally sold my husband's car.  The cash we received will be used toward new tires for my vehicle.  My husband is holding the money because I just know that I would spend it if left to my control.

We also have a plan for his extra military pay.  When it is deposited, we will go straight to the bank, withdraw it and put it into an envelope that he will hold (hide from me).  That money will be used for Christmas.

I have also decided to challenge myself and take my debit card out of my wallet.  I have $10 in cash in there -- and that will be enough -- because, just for today, I DO NOT NEED ANYTHING.

Because of my splurge, I have to reset my debt clock.  I didn't even make it a week.  So frustrated and disappointed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Today - 11/3

This morning I woke up to a checking account that, for the first time in many months, has not been depleted due to overdrafts.  This is a HUGE thing for me and such a good feeling.  I am a little stressed though because that money IS there.  It's such a temptation.  I'm afraid to go grocery shopping today.  But it's something I have to do.  I can't avoid it.  I have a list, but I still tend to stray from that list.  I will continue to pray for strength today to avoid the temptation.  THERE IS NOTHING EXTRA I NEED. 
I'm still living in a fog of vagueness, underearning, and overspending......but I have made a conscious decision to just stop, with the help of God.  I got on my knees and turned it over to Him.  I cannot do this alone any longer.
But I'm so overwhelmed with where to start.  I have a personality deficiency of immediate gratification.  I want it now.  I want immediate results.  It's what got me into this mess to begin with.  But it's not about me anymore.  It's about my family and the example that I'm setting for my daughters.  I don't want them, in 30 years, to be sitting in this same exact place.  The only difference is that I won't be able to help them out the way my parents have helped me out.
So, some small steps.
1.  I now keep a small notebook with my wallet.  Receipts and every cent spent gets written down.
2.  We have opened a savings account in my husband's name only.  All his extra pay will be deposited into this account. 
For today I will pray for strength not to debt.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Still Chugging Along

I realize that it's been since March since I last wrote.  Over the past few months, I've been tempted to sit and write -- but then wondered, what would I write about?  It's the same story over and over......the cycle of spending, guilt, deprivation and then starting all over again.  I'd end up writing the same thing over and over -- especially since I really didn't know where to begin to stop the cycle to begin with.

A few days ago, I was the victim of an attempted scam.  I received a phone call from a "company" saying that I owed them $1500 for a loan that I took out a year ago and that if I didn't pay it back I was going to be arrested for fraud.  You can read the whole story here.

Sure -- you'd say -- well I'd KNOW if I took a loan out.  And that's true.  But to a compulsive spender, it's vagueness that gets you into trouble.  For awhile there, I was seriously doubting myself.....did I REALLY take out this loan?  Was I in one of my hazes that I just don't remember doing this?  As a compulsive spender, you really don't have an idea of WHAT exactly you owe and WHAT exactly you borrowed.  You live in a fog of phone calls from debt collectors and overdue notices from bill collectors.

It's only when you take that step OUT of the fog that clarity truly starts to set in.

I've been making small -- very small, mind you -- steps to take the leap out of the fog.

1.  I FOUGHT the scammer and won!  (Seriously - if you a need a laugh, go read the story -- it's HILARIOUS!)

2.  I've started carrying a little notebook with me -- and I write down EVERYTHING I buy.  I attach the receipts to my little notebook.  Sometimes I do forget, but then I just start over the next day.  Doing this gives me clarity on what I'm spending.

3.  I've started a spreadsheet on what I owe.  And this even includes the "every day" bills.  It's helping me to build a budget - what we're really spending, what we're saving (which is almost nothing), etc.

4.  Last week, I took 3 of our change jars to the bank and cashed them in.  I started envelopes for savings - one for each of the girls and one for us. 

I have to say that I am EXTREMELY proud of myself for not dipping into the girls' envelopes when I felt that urge to spend.  I cannot continue to cheat my daughters because of my addiction.

Another baby step -- but one I'm very proud of.

I apologize to you all for not writing more.  Like any addiction, I'm still ashamed.  Ashamed of not keeping it in control.  Ashamed for "falling off the wagon" and at times - being run over by the wagon.  Ashamed of getting myself into this position to begin with.  And it's the shame and fear and denial that keeps this cycle going.

But I just continue to pray that, through God's help, one day I will be free from these chains.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

KISS it!

I realized as I looked at my posts that I haven't posted since January. 

Mostly it's because I've been in denial.  I'm still struggling.  Big time.  But I've got another struggle to deal with - and I'm trying to look at it as a challenge instead of a struggle.

I'm attempting to give up the compulsive shopping for Lent.  Yes, I know that this is an addiction and while some people have the strength and conviction to give up cold turkey, I just don't know if I can do it -- but I'm sure going to try.

Instead of just saying, I'm not going to shop at all, I realized that I've got to start small.  I've limited it to crafts and books.  Which means - no Michael's, no Hobby Lobby, no JoAnn's.  No Borders, no B&N, no Amazon.

It's killing me already -- and Lent has just started.  Our local Borders is closing permanently - which means huge clearance sales.  I've deleted the big 50% off emails.  All the while twitching inside.  I've deleted the emails filled with coupons from the craft stores.  I don't even open them -- I don't want to see what I've been missing.

I'm even trying to avoid reading crafting blogs because I know if I see something cute or inspiring - I'm done for.

And besides -- I can't shop if I don't have the money, right?  We've got some big expenses coming up - new roof, new tires, and other "adult" things that eat up your paycheck before it even hits the bank account.  I've also been a little vague and reckless with tracking the spending, so there's a little playing catch up as well.

So with this lack of discretionary spending funds, I'm desperately trying to tame the immediate "I WANT IT NOW" mentality.  During Lent, I'm trying to establish a KISS attitude.  (Keep It Simple Stupid!).

Making do with the groceries I have in the house.  Spending more time doing simple, free things with my kids.  Filling the time with reading, watching movies, playing outside instead of shopping or "running errands".  I'm challenging myself - on top of my Lenten promise - to see how far I can stretch what we have.

Should be interesting........

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Brain Dump

A bit of a brain dump this morning....
*  I have not left the house since the day before New Year's Eve.  Realistically, I know I can't hole myself up and watch the world go by.  But I feel accomplished because I have not compulsively shopped since then either.  I am deleting all the "shopping" emails that come into my mailbox.  I have thrown away catalogs.  I have not yet taken the step to throw away the coupons that I get from the craft stores.  Crafting keeps me sane and is much cheaper than therapy.  However, I have a tendency to go overboard with supplies. 
*  My checking account is overdrawn - again.  I can't get a handle on my numbers yet until I know exactly what I'm dealing with.  I probably have to wait another day or two to wait for the dust to settle and then revisit that checking account and start from scratch.
*  On the upside of having an overdrawn account -- I am learning that I can do without and that I can be creative -- both with spending time with my girls and my family and with my grocery budget.  This morning I went through my freezer and made a list of everything in there.  I probably have a month's worth of food in there.  And I haven't even gone through the deep freezer in our garage yet.
*  Last night, I couldn't sleep.  Worries over money kept me awake and practically in tears all night.  I happened to come across an episode of Dr. Phil that I taped yesterday.  It was about watching your money.  How ironic, I thought.  So many things they mentioned, I can do.  Some things I already do.  It inspired me to challenge myself more. 
*  I received a number of gift cards for Christmas.  I'm hoarding them.  I don't know why.  I have no need for new clothes or jewelry.  I will probably hold on to them and buy my girls school clothes and/or summer clothes with them.  I received 2 Starbucks gift cards.  I haven't had a Starbucks in weeks -- and I resist using them.  I have a Safeway grocery card for $25 that I'm holding on to for an "emergency".  My brother sent my girls $50 each in a Toys R Us gift card.  Hubby and I decided to put those away until next Christmas.  They've already received so many toys and other items -- we'll just use them for next Christmas's gifts.
*  I set up two automatic bill payments over the past few days.  One for our cell phone and one for our internet.  Both were at a $0 balance, so at least I'm starting fresh with those.  Still need to set up the cable, water, and electric.
*  Yesterday I started a "Reading the Bible in 90 Days" program.  I have been on this faith journey for awhile -- trying to give up the control and put my faith and trust in God.  In the past 24+ hours since I've started the program, every where I look, I find words of encouragement and faith - whether it's on Facebook, an email from a friend or just something I come across.  It is encouraging me. day at a time.  I didn't get in this mess overnight, and it's not going to go away overnight either.