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Are you addicted to spending?
Ah. Upon first glance it can be a bit normal to take offense to this question. How do I know this? Because I would have taken offense to this question at many times in my life, too, like when I was addicted to spending and didn’t want to really think about the fact that I was.
For the most part, I hold the society we live in responsible for all of us who are addicted to spending. We are constantly bombarded with messages like, “you want this,” “you really are no one without this,” “this is the next thing that is going to make life so easy for you,” “you are the only one who doesn’t already own this,” “people will know you are really someone if you own this,” and so much more.
These kinds of messages are everywhere, screaming in our personal space whether it is someone calling us on the phone trying to tell us something, an email that always seems to land in our inbox, or friends who are forever posting pictures of their latest treasures on social media somewhere.
Don’t get me wrong, none of these things are necessarily bad, but they can become a negative in our life based on how we process and react to them.
Let me also say, spending can be fun. Spending can be really fun, and we can become spenders without ever really realizing that we are spenders (ask me how I know that one).
So, if we can unknowingly become a spender how can we ever really know?
I’ve got eight things to look for, but let me first say that these eight things really start with the motivation that you have in your heart. These things are pretty good indicators, but you are the only one who can really judge what is in your heart in regards to these eight things.
Let me also say that you don’t have to find yourself in all of these eight things to be addicted to spending, and it is also fairly common to weave in and out of these eight things at different times.
Finally, don’t feel like I’m pointing a finger at you here…my finger has pointed at me with all eight of these things at one time or another. No condemnation here!
With that, do you know if you’re addicted to spending?
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1. You earn extra money just so you can turn around and spend it
Now there are times when you will take on extra work to work towards making a purchase that you otherwise couldn’t afford and aren’t wanting to finance…and there is nothing wrong with that. However, in this case, I am referring to little purchases here and there, finding yourself in this camp on a regular basis, and taking on work or having your husband take on work that is not in any way convenient to be taken on. You are simply embracing the extra work to feed your spending habit.
2. You save money just turn around and spend it
This can be a very smart thing to do, but as Ruth talks about in the book, it is something that can only feed your addiction, which takes a good thing and makes it a very bad thing. I am all about saving money…but not to turn around and spend it unnecessarily or carelessly.
3. If you haven’t defined the difference between a want and a need
Defining the difference between a want and a need is essential in keeping our spending in check, and often the avoidance of doing that is enabling ourselves to continue spending in unhealthy ways. Everyone’s definition looks a bit different, but do take the time to determine what is a want and what is a need in your book.
4. Hiding your purchases
If you are hiding your purchases or the evidence of your purchases from your spouse, other family members, or friends…or hiding the evidence of your purchases, you could very well have an addiction to spending. If your purchases are 100% legit in your own mind, you should have no problem having others know about them. Otherwise, it could very well be something for you to look at.
5. Lying about something new
“Hey, have you always had that?” How you answer a question such as this can be a really good indicator of whether your spending habits are healthy or unhealthy. This would also cover not being forthcoming with the information. If your kids were to tell you the truth but not the whole truth, would you consider them to be truthful? I’m guessing not. That means you can’t do the same thing and expect to be considered truthful either.
6. Regularly experiencing buyer’s remorse
This can be normal to experience from time to time, especially if you have ever lived through a time of financial hardship, but regularly experiencing buyer’s remorse regarding nearly everything you buy can tell you that you are, in fact, addicted to spending.
7. Not nurturing relationships
If you don’t have regularly nurtured relationships with people in your life, you could be valuing things more than people. As I’m sure you can imagine, that is a slippery slope to be standing on.
8. Setting common sense aside in favor of buying something
There are so many things that could qualify here. Let’s say you know you should create a budget, but you find every excuse not to. You might have the best wardrobe around, but have no emergency fund in place. It could be that you are not paying much attention to that little voice that you most likely have in your head telling you that purchasing something may not be the best idea. Common sense says that you should have a budget, that you should have some money set aside for the “what ifs” in life, and that you should listen to that little voice when it seems to make sense.
Spending is not always bad, but it certainly can be. Paying attention to these eight things just might clue you in to the fact that you are addicted to spending.
This post is reflection of the book we are reading as a book club community. This is the book we are reading.
Here is a bit more about our book club…
This book club is a way of encouraging others to carve out the time to read at a pace of just two chapters a week because I’ve learned that finding time to read never just happens on its own.
Generally, every Monday and Thursday there will be blog posts here with Monday’s Inspirational Reads somewhere in the title with my reaction to each of the two chapters for the week.