Updated: Sep 3, 2019
A lot of the writing that I do is inspired by questions that are asked of me. I will use different names if needed at all and different settings if needed at all to protect my friends. However, I will tell you some of the stories at the permission and request of some of my friends. They have asked me to tell their story in hopes that it will help someone else. They have told me that, "if my story can help one person avoid what I am living with, please share my story".
Please take no offense if this is you or so similar to your situation that you feel that it is you. This is just a few realities that we all face at sometime or another and need to deal with them as quickly as we can or "The Monster" gets to big to feed and soon it eats us! YIKES!
My phone rings, I answer "Hello"
"is this Steve?"
"Yes Ma'am", I answer
"I need help! I need help now! Can you help me?"
That's how my hour and fifteen minute conversation started. Granted not all my phone calls begin this way, but this one did and I could hear in her voice, she was desperately reaching out for help. Let's call her Marla, Marla is trapped by her own habits that she created. She cannot stop shopping (spending) she's constantly on all the "home shopping sites" and they are, what she would say, "begging me to buy something, and I can't turn them down."
You can't or you won't! First you create your habits then your habits create you!
Marla says "Mr. Steve, I can't even go to the grocery store anymore, everything jumps off the shelves at me! It gives me so much anxiety that I can't go! I'm on medication for anxiety and my sleep disorder. I'm gaining so much weight and I feel stressed and horrible!"
This is not a good place to be and I understand where Marla is at. She told me she feels her marriage is stressed because of her spending habits. I'm sure it is. Here's the good thing in all of this, Marla knows she's a "shop-aholic". Here's the bad thing, she doesn't feel like she has the personal strength to stop herself. As much as she knows what she's doing, Marla still says it makes her feel good for "Hot-Minute". Feel good for a "Hot-Minute" and feel horrible for the rest of her day and night, not a wise trade off. Later on in the day she will find herself sweating and throwing up from all the hiding packages at her mother's house, racing home before the mail man delivers the next box to her front door or convincing the UPS guy, who she knows on a first name basis, to "hide" her new bought boxes of more "STUFF" on her side yard, best in this case is EXTREMELY STRESSFUL at best. And who knows their UPS man's first name? Just the one's that see him a lot.
Here a couple take aways:
Ultimately - CHANGE YOUR CHOICES, CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
1. ELIMINATE THE NOISE.
Take off the temptations! Eliminate all the noise of "POP-UPS" Eliminate the apps and links on your phone and computer(s). Take all the easy instant access to all these sites off. Out of sight, out of mind.
2. TIME IS MONEY
Idle time is the Devil's workshop. Make better use and service with your time. Instead of misusing every single available minute looking at QVC, HSN and any other shopping site, change your choices. Volunteer and redirect your time and service towards something worthy and good. Move yourself away from your computers and thoughts of shopping.
3. PAY CASH
Pay cash only, no credit cards, no debit cards, no plastic. The problem with plastic is that it is deceitful, it makes you feel like you have more money than you actually do. Money is related to time, when you're only one "SWIPE" away from almost anything it can be financially devastating. When you don't put in as much time investing your money as you do in earning it, you will truly understand the value of money. When you see, feel and touch all the cash that leaves your hands on a purchase, that's a completely different feeling than a plastic swipe. The time delay of a single swipe can crush your bank account.
4. CLARITY IS KIND
Clarity and honesty doesn't feel good at the time, but the only way to get help is to be upfront and honest. No one wants to see another family member suffer from stress and anxiety. We're all connected all the time, so if we're going to help each other we've got to quit hiding and deceiving one another. I know easier said than done, because the other half has to be willing to not judge, forgive and help.
I'm not trying to minimize this monster of an issue at all, I do know that recognizing that you have a problem is one of the first major steps in ridding yourself of your problem. Marla knows her problem, she also knows how to fix it. Her biggest problem is that she needs an accountability partner that she is willing let help her win. She has lied and deceived so many on her treacherous journey that she doesn't feel like anyone will trust her anymore. We all need an accountability partner, whether it's a budget that we've created and adhere to, or a trusted coach, advisor or friend that loves us so much that they won't let us hurt ourselves, we all need a friend. Chances are high that you may know someone that is battling a money monster like this, reach out to them and help them.