I just finished being interviewed by coach Christopher McAuliffe, host of “The Coaching Show” (www.wsradio.com). We discussed the problem that we all have during December with holiday shopping and the urge to splurge. We are bombarded with opportunities to shop till we drop and spend money we don’t have or can’t afford. Most of us use our credit cards rather than handle cash or even pay with checks. It is easy to hand the card over without a thought of what it will take to pay at the end of the month. Even more insidious is the ease of shopping online where on Amazon, for instance, you only need one click and the sale is done!
Compulsive spenders are people who can’t control when they start or stop spending. They often don’t even take their purchases out of the bag. They just toss them into the back of the closet. These people are soothing stress by getting “things.” They are like alcoholics on a binge. At holiday time many of us get that frantic feeling, although what we buy will often be gifted to someone else or used by the family. Even so, if you are someone who tends to get caught up in the euphoria of the experience you may be what I call a “Magical Child.” That means that you rationalize your excess spending by telling yourself that somehow or other the money to pay your credit card will magically show up!
Or, you may be a Princess who believes that it is OK to spend too much because Prince Charming will soon be coming along to pay the bills. Perhaps you a Prince waiting for the Princess to do that for you. Some people just play Dummy and close their eyes to how much they are spending. These people are the ones who don’t balance their check books either and get a shock when they see how much interest they owe on their credit cards.
Now is the time to stop and think about the state of your personal economy. One way to see where you stand is to make a list of everything you spend each month. That includes food, clothing, shelter, phone, gas, car expenses, eating out, lattes at Starbucks, etc. Then make a list of all the money that comes in every month. What happens when you compare the two lists? If you are spending more than earning it is time to make some changes. Maybe it is not too early to start your New Year’s Resolutions.
If you are a shopaholic take a look at my book, Born To Spend. You will find directions for trying Mall Therapy.