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.

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