Debt… a TRUE 4 Letter Word

Hi, I’m Aly and I am a Shopaholic.

Saks Fifth Avenue dreams on a Dollar Store budget…

I can rationalize buying dog food, even when I don’t have a dog and have the inane power to convince myself (and others) that I absolutely needed it.

Online or in the Store, I can find something to buy ANYWHERE, even when I don’t need anything.

I’ve always been a shopper, but never had major bills until I became an adult – that’s when the shopping became a problem!

My manfriend has repeated “How many amazon boxes are you going to get today” more times than I’d like to admit. He also knows that anytime the doorbell rings, it is a delivery man, with something for me… That I probably don’t need.

At around 18, I got my first credit card… Nothing crazy, $900 limit, after about a year and a minor intervention, I paid off that card and closed the account… Didn’t understand at the time, that it was OK to keep the account open at a zero balance.

The next credit card I opened, stupidly gave me a $7000 limit…. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING! At first I was able to keep up with the payments, then started moving. I moved 3 times in 4 years and with each of those moved required (one to four) Target run(s). As everyone knows, target as a minimum entry fee of $100, which I happily was able to achieve without blinking!

Over the next 4 years (20 – 24) I racked up almost $10,000 (between 2 cards) of credit debt… I honestly can list on one hand the meaningful purchases I made that were actually worth while. Everything else was clothes, crappy target furniture, clothes, tacky target decor, shoes, target home finishings’, bags and many other pointless items. For four years I lived beyond my means, paid all my bills, but didn’t save a dime.

I drained my savings trying to “not” use my credit cards, but still spent…

Once I turned 24, I realized I couldn’t pay my credit bills because they had gone up so much, the monthly payments were outrageous. It was then that I sat down, and began to research how to get out of credit card debt.

I thankfully found a Debt Consolidation company that helped me reduce my debt through negotiations and I began to pay off my credit cards… But when you don’t pay your bills your credit takes a major hit. (Who knew *Sigh*)

After nearly 2 years, many tears and a stressful car buying experience; I can proudly say, my credit debt is paid off.

Am I still shopping you ask after such a humbling and trying experience? Well, Yes… But not nearly as much and am saving.

I have employed many tactics including therapy, to get a handle on my shopping however the biggest motivating factor to stop, is the desire to buy a house in the near future!

I have learn some resistance skills, and now have the ability (due to budget constraints, you hear that??? BUDGET!!!) to say “Do I REALLY need this”, “Will the positively impact my life”, “Will I wear this regularly” and “Does the cat REALLY need another toy” – if the answer is No, (which it usually is) and I am always honest with myself, I put it back. If I can’t make the decision, I practice the “Phone a Friend” option. If when explaining it, I am selling them on the item, I put it back.

Life is hard, Shopping is fun, but things don’t matter. The money spent on those new clothes, shoes, cat toys and other silly purchases that I truly don’t need; is money that doesn’t go towards the home I want to buy in the next couple years! What matters are the goals of being able to buy a home and have a family, which I now fully understand and am focused on achieving. 

 

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