Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday. Just Tuesday.

My co-workers have noticed my funk and I don't want to be like that. Kind of like "when you are fasting, don't act all faint, etc." But it's weighing so heavily on my mind. I looked at the budget last night. It's scary For as much as we make, we are always behind. Even if we never bought clothes or went out, it wouldn't matter. So I play with the numbers. What if we didn't have tuition to pay? What if the orthodontist was paid off? What if we didn't buy gas? Ha! $400 a month. Ridiculous. After December, we should be able to put tuition and orthodontist money towards paying off the credit cards, but I know there will still not be room to breathe.

I'm waiting to hear about a job opportunity. I'm trying not to obsess about it, but I check my email constantly. It won't solve everything, but maybe it will keep my husband from working overtime. I'm nervous because it's the kind of job that matters- people actually depend on you. I don't have the confidence I used to have, but I have faith. If I am meant to be there, it will happen. If I am meant to keep looking, I will. I thought that if I made money on the side, that would help, but that just leads to more shopping for supplies. And I have a room full of supplies. I did make something the other day out of things on hand. It felt very good and the person loved my gift. I was thinking that maybe that is my challenge from now on, but I have to smile- because I don't have a choice. No more shopping. 

Stop. My brain fluctuates between martyrdom/feeling sorry for myself and guilt. Shut up. You did this. You make more money than most people and you act all deprived. Shut up. Fix it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Now what do we do?

My husband is away on a business trip. Left today. I could tell things have changed between us. I told him that the little sparkle in his eyes is gone. He said that he's a very untrusting, cynical person and this was tough for him. My lying to him. And I totally understand that. This man can't keep a secret for anything. And I am the best. The hard part now is being disciplined, not feeling overwhelmed, not getting depressed. When we (or he) feels free from money problems, we have a good time together. Now he says he'll have to work overtime to take care of this. I really don't want that. I want him around. I want him watching the game while I cook in the kitchen. I want him sitting next to me in church. I want him there on Saturday mornings. I want the sparkle back in his eyes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Coming clean

It happened. We had the discussion before work this morning. He was telling me about places he was looking at for a getaway this fall. He asked, "Should I wait to book anything?" "yes." "What's our budget?" "I don't know." "Can we afford this?" "I don't know." "What aren't you telling me?"

So after I got ready, I went downstairs and told him. Everything. No more hiding. No more holding back. And his reaction was exactly the same as all the other times. Screaming. More screaming. Threats. Not bodily. But: I'm gonna take total control of the money and you won't get a dime to spend. And I just looked at him. Because that didn't upset me. That's what I want.

For as long as I can remember, I have had a money problem. Not just spending. I do like shopping, but I get the same high when I write a check to a charity. Going to school was the ultimate spending. Every time I paid the bill, I knew that this was for me. Buying presents for friends. Paying for dinner. It's all the same. All the while knowing that I was gonna have to pay that credit card.

So I would plot and plan. OK. What if I get a new job that pays more? The reality is, and I shared this with my husband, it still doesn't solve the underlying problem. I am wired this way. Going to Vegas- would be bad, bad, bad. Gambling is the same kind of addiction, and spending and then hoping to find a way to pay off the bills is just like losing and then thinking you're gonna win it back. And you never do.

So I begged my husband to help me. Be angry. Scream at me. Take away all funds. I don't want to be like this. Just know that I really don't want to be this person. He calls me "the cat," because he knows I'm being sneaky. I don't want to be the cat anymore. I want to be his wife, who makes his lunch before he goes out sailing, because we can afford to retire and relax and be together.

God give me the strength to always come clean and to overcome this addiction.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I dreamt that my husband had cleaned out the basement and the garage. Except this ginormous armoire that still had some of the children's toys and blankets in it. I was happy and nervous that "important" stuff had been disposed of. Then a neighbor walked over and made some comment about the other stuff. I looked down the driveway and saw that everything had simply been put there. My husband was hoping people would just take it. But it was STILL THERE. And I could see it. The clothes, the stuff. The problem was still in front of me.

It never really does go away, does it? An addiction. Guilt. It's about how you manage it. I want to say "control" but obviously "it" controls me.

I am surrounded by so much stuff that could be sold or donated or discarded. I asked my son to sell some stuff on Craig's List or EBay (he doesn't have a job), and we could split the proceeds. Nothing. Not a damn thing. I could probably pull stuff out for a yard sale, but I would be embarrassed for my neighbors to see all of this shit.

But, good news. I stayed home form work today, so I haven't left the house, and haven't spent any money. I'm trying to unsubscribe to a number of email/commerce temptations, but they are relentless. I have to try to be just as relentless. In all areas.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Totally out of control

I can't stand it. I'm so out of control. Debt gets deeper. I have no sense of self control: tell myself no carbs... 20 minutes later I'm eating a box of donuts (which I neither need nor can afford); tell myself to exercise...I'm taking a nap. No spending.... yeah right.

Just a little willpower. Please. I'm stuck. In this messy house. In this body. In this debt. How can I lose the clutter, the weight, the debt? The guilt?

How absolutely ridiculous that I am sitting here wallowing in this self-manufactured problem. I get upset with people at work for working "around" problems. If someone isn't doing his/her job, a new person is hired to make up the difference. Instead of dealing with this head on. Moving the person to a job that's better suited OR moving them towards the door so someone who deserves the job can have it. Save money. Save time. Remove the dead weight.

I'm working around all of my own problems. Maybe a job that pays more? Nope. Haven't solved the problem. I'll just find ways to spend it over and over again. Maybe I should just be content with my body? Sounds like not having to work at it. Maybe I need a housekeeper? Hmm. Been there. Costs money. Frees up space to buy more shit. Really? How do I pare this down? Meal planning. Yes. Saves money and is healthier and requires organization. Leave cards at home unless absolutely necessary. Look for best days/places to buy gas. Fill a donation bag or garbage bag every single day. And why am I carrying this dead weight around my stomach and on my legs and face and hips?

I think I just realized something, but I can't share it yet. I have a lot to do.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Off the wagon

It doesn't take much, does it? Lent is over and the floodgates opened. Family is visiting- spend money. Getting ready for an event- spend money. Mother's Day was anti-climactic- spend money.

Dear hubby asked the question last night: So how much IS on American Express? I said- not that much. Should be paid off in a few months. He groaned. I knew this was God's way of telling me to be honest with him. Tell him I have a serious problem and that I need his help. But I didn't. I got that knot in my stomach, that ache in my heart and that lump in my throat. WTF. Seriously. Get a grip.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Off the wagon?

I had run out of a few "necessities" and thought I'd walk up street to the drugstore. Facewash. yes. Pads. yes.  Deodorant. check.  Maybe some lip liner. On sale. Lipstick. Why not. But let's add hair color, dexatrim, 5 hour energy, and razors. It came to $90.02. Really? Now I'm looking at the receipt and see I was charged 9.99 for something called SGL Brothers? What? So, on one hand I'm annoyed that I spent that much (the dexatrim was expensive, but I am constantly hungry); on the other hand, I'm annoyed that I was charged for something I didn't buy. How did I not notice that? Ugh. Back to the store.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

it's like crack

Money spent lately: plane ticket for my son, chocolate for Easter, chocolate for a prank, lunch for myself and a co-worker (burger and fries, no less. and it was bad. Bleah!), 3 books from a used book sale ($5).

Was it worth it? Some of it. Definitely not the burger. But I haven't bought a thing on Amazon, so I'm pretty proud of that. I don't take cash out when I'm at the grocery store. I try to leave my cards at home. I've been bringing my lunch (except for today). Not perfect. Not great. I'll get there.

Friday, April 15, 2011

working for the weekend

There's something I would like to do tomorrow, but I know if I leave the house I'll spend money. OK then. No dessert until you eat your vegetables. You made your bed, now lie in it. A penny saved...... I'm sure there are more adages (?) I can add.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I gave in

I got another membership solicitation from my favorite NPR station, which I listen to regularly. I'm so annoyed that congress (yes, little "c") is considering cutting funding. So I caved. I saw the email (cue guilt trip) and did it. And naturally not the minimum- no, no. Must be big spender. Good-by $100. Trade one guilt trip for another. Nice job keeping the balance.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hanging in there

So far, so good. Sooooo difficult. Haven't bought anything online. Or anywhere. Feeling good.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

And lead us not into temptation

Taxes will be less than I had set aside. Thus leaving a nice chunk for me to fantasize about.  Ignore it. Ignore it. Continue with the plan. I've convinced my son to start listing things on eBay and Amazon. He can keep 50% of the selling price. De-cluttering and making money at the same time. I hope it works.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 3- laziness

Used my debit card to buy lunch. Had the same food at the house, but didn't assemble it. So I wasted $6.00 on tuna, lettuce, bread (purchased separately and assembled at work), chips and a drink. Really? I have got to get my act together.

Hubby has a share in a recreational vehicle. Three people takes turns using said vehicle over the year. Hubby has already paid his share and now the "owner" says the vehicle needs major repairs and can't afford to fix it. Normally hubby would say he would pitch in to help, but there is no money to help- because I've been spending it. On $6.00 lunches. Sometimes $10. Yesterday it was $15. And I tipped a coat check girl $2. It just slips through my fingers.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


The cc balance is really more like 18k. In addition to that reality, yesterday I made a payment on braces and they said I had a balance of $400 something. I said "are you sure? I have two accounts here." Oh yes, was the reply. Today...the phone call. So sorry. The balance is really $2355. Thanks. Just thanks.

These were the words the financial aid office said to me when I was in college. "Here's your student loan check. But you're all paid up." "Are you sure?" Yes. Adamantly yes. But it wasn't true. And I spent the check on lots of Christmas presents. Two years in a row.

I don't blame anyone. I'm bad at getting things in writing. Like the raise I was promised. Or the time I worked for some guy and he forgot to pay me. I trust people are telling me the truth. It's strange, but I am a cynical optimist.

Day two- damn

I was driving in to work and thinking about money- like always. How to keep track of all the spending. Just when I think I have everything recorded, something else pops up. College textbooks. Arg. Prescriptions. Arg. Not cheap stuff. I use Quicken to keep track and send me reminders. But fuel for three cars doesn't pop up. We're also planning a wedding and that is a constant shopping opportunity. Then I look at my house. Fix the bathroom. Landscape the yard. Lose weight (yes, I've gained weight which means I need new clothes). Or I could just get off the couch and mooooove. Find a different job that pays more? How about just doing a better job at this job. Oh the guilt. Constant. Constant. Constant. Say a prayer. Ask God for help. Breathe.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day One

My name is not really Ann and I'm a shopaholic. To the detriment of my family, my marriage, my faith, my financial well-being, to my future and to my own mental health.

I have a large family, lots of friends, and lots of hobbies. I spend on all of them and then spend on myself. When the Amazon update shows up in my email, I feel a spark. What now? Amazon's logorithms have me figured out. A new craft book? A new business book? Something for the kitchen, perhaps?

My daughter recommended I start this blog as a way to deal with my issue. She is brilliant and said the most amazing thing to me: If you can see a therapist to stop crying, why not see a therapist to stop spending?

Stop. Spending. I have tried for so many years. It's in me. I remember being little a having a quarter and desperately needing to trade it for something, anything. One time I spent 75 cents on a cake topper that was for a 25th wedding anniversary. Why? What was the point? I was about ten years old. You can't leave the house without bringing something home. And you have to buy five of them, because... you just never know.

Each time I run up the credit cards, my husband is unaware. Then it finally comes out. He's angry. I'm guilty. He's the hard worker. I'm the spender. We could have gone here or done this, but now we can't because we have to pay off the cards. I try desperately to keep it under control, but it never works. Refinance the house. Take out a home improvement loan. Borrow against the 401k. And load up the cards again while paying off the previous debt. So much guilt. It's like being unfaithful. Cheating. With money. The hiding. The lying. The cover up. The pressure to be good. The high of getting a package in the mail.

We didn't have much growing up. I was afraid to ask for thing, because my mom was always complaining about money. So I got a job and didn't save a dime. I spent it on myself, since no one else would. I spent it on other people. I blew my student loan- twice. Twice.

I have many interests which (I believe) require me to buy all of the supplies. Which I never use. or rarely. I celebrate when I actually finish something. I stare at it for a long time. But I can't remember ever doing a project that I didn't run out and buy something for it.

So today I semi-publicly declare that I will get rid of the $15k I have managed to charge. I will avoid Michael's and AC Moore and Amazon and Ebay. I will distract myself from the email alerts and advertising that tempt me. I can do this. I have to do this.