My name is Abi & I’m a shopaholic

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I’ve decided to start a series of blog posts to help me be accountable for my spending and how I feel when I spend. This will be my first post.

A little background:

I have a habit of running up debts because, like when I have a lovely chocolate muffin or a biscuit or a buy myself something else yummy and comforting to eat, I shop to make myself feel better. To fill a hole. I get very excited about that new purchase or the idea of the new purchase. 9 times out of 10 after about 10 minutes of having and using that product it no longer interests me. In the past I have run up credit cards, overdrafts, store cards. I have been bailed out in the past by my husband, my parents, I have taken out loans to clear overdrafts and then ended up running up more credit cards. In the last few years I have been pretty good. But about a year ago when I was working in Reading I started to lose control a little. Then when I left there, with a small overdraft (a couple of hundred quid maybe) I started temping and I ended up going from payment in arrears monthly (for the month ahead) to payment AFTER the event, weekly. So I went from a couple of hundred quid overdrawn to nearly 2000. I slowly started reducing that – when I first started this temp job I was doing quite long hours and being paid for the extra time I was spending working. But then I started to feel disillusioned and started spending less hours working. I wasn’t staying any later than I had to and I would even arrive late and take long lunchbreaks. I didn’t feel guilty – especially after I found out that they were not renewing my contract – because I wasn’t billing them for time I wasn’t working. On the converse side, I wasn’t earning as much because I wasn’t putting in the hours. So my weekly income dropped – and the overdraft started building up again. Finally, just in the nick of time as my contract was finishing, I got the job that I’m currently in. Which, while I’m not enjoying it the whole of the time, is at least a full time permanent role. So I could start trying to sort it out. I’ve been there 3 months and the overdraft had if anything gone up. I ended up coming back from holiday and owing nearly £2200.

While on holiday while we were out for dinner celebrating our anniversary, I came clean about how big my overdraft and Ben did not seem that shocked or bothered. But after discussions since we’ve got back, we decided that he would get a loan out that I would repay and that way I could start from scratch – not constantly fighting against an overdrawn account every month. But as this has happened before he is very disappointed and I am in myself. And we need to figure out a way to go forwards. I need to get out of this spiral of feeling down and then going to spend money that I don’t have on things I don’t need. We are going through my office and selling things that I don’t need and making a pile of things to take to a car boot sale and the proceeds will go off my loan.

Yesterday, the loan came through and I paid off my loan. After taking out £100 to use as spending money for the month and also paying back £200 off my Debenhams card, it left me £19.66 in my account. I folded up the spending money for each week and put a post it note around it and labelled it Week Commencing….. and put it in a section of my purse – my nice purse that I bought along with my newish handbag that I felt I “deserved” before I went to Britmums Live!

photo 4

However, even after being this organised, I still have issues. Yesterday morning my husband got very annoyed as, having just paid off my £2200 overdraft he found out that I owed £440 on my Debenhams card. Actually it was only 340 or just under as Bella owed £103 for some stuff she put on my card before the holiday. But even so, it is a lot of money and I hadn’t told him about it. So I worked out how much I could afford to pay this month (normally I made the whole amount come out each month to stop me from spending so much but all that it had been doing lately was to increase my overdraft size each month) and added the amount that Bella was paying me and I rang them and paid it off and changed my direct debit so that the full amount would not come out.

After those discussions and a lot of what I would call “guilt-tripping” and what he would probably call “trying to find out why you do it”, I went shopping. Yes, I know. Stupid. However, I had my cash allowance for the day – actually it was for yesterday and today. And I spent all but £3.50 of it. I bought a notebook and a tin of mints because I liked the tin (I discarded the mints). I knew about an hour before I went to lunch that I “needed” to go out and buy something. And I knew what it was that I was going to buy. My reasoning, apart from that I needed cheering up, was that my main (new – bought just before going on holiday) notebook was in my luggage which was lost (in fact it turned up today – so I would have only needed to wait a day to get it back). Here is my pretty but thoroughly unnecessary notebook.

photo 3

Once back, I decided to write a poem about the experience of buying the notebook, in the notebook. It seemed fitting and I could see the irony as I was writing. I even laughed at myself, internally – as to laugh out loud in my office would have looked weird. Here is my poem:

photo 1

So inspired did I feel by the ridiculousness of what I’d just done and by my newfound poetic inspiration, that I wrote another poem about liking notebooks:

photo 2

That is installment 1 of my series on being a Shopaholic (hopefully soon to be a recovering one….).


4 Thoughts on “My name is Abi & I’m a shopaholic

  1. Abi, look up EMDR it might be something to help you get to the root of your shopping buzz and then stop it. It has fantastic results : )

  2. I am not a shopaholic, but I have similar issues with food that you describe about shopping. And probably all addictions have a similar pattern…it’s so strange to see that very different things can all be so similar. I’m currently working through an Action on Depression course to see if I can change my eating behaviours, maybe it could help you with your spending?

Please comment so I know I'm not alone out here!

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