It is self-motivating to buy yourself something new once in a while. There is nothing wrong with this and I totally support this. However I strongly disagree with the tendency to “motivate” yourself with something new every time your eye lands on it. If spending is unchecked, it often degenerates into ugly addiction that sees you but things you do not even need.
Before you learn how to beat addiction, it is important that you understand when you should consider yourself a spend addict or otherwise called a spend thrift. The following are the sure sighs that you are trailing in the footsteps on the biblical prodigal son;
This is the first sign of being a spending addict. Unfortunately, you may not realize that you are overspending unless you have prepared a budget and the amount you’ve spent on shopping for new items is way above what you had budgeted for.
You may also realize overspending when you realize you’ve sidelined one of the expenses you were to take care of.
- Compulsive purchases.
This is buying items even when there is no need to buy them. For example, it is understandable when you but a new pair of shoes every two months but what is not right is when you but three new pairs of shoes every month. I mean, who buys shoes every other week? I know it is common with the ladies (No offense) but this is a sign of being addicted to spending.
- Lying about your expenditure.
Friends and family may once in a while inquire about how you spend your income especially if they notice that you are overspending. If you spent your income with friends at a club or went for a shopping spree but find yourself lying about it, it is most probable that you are a spend thrift. This is another good wakeup call as lies about your expenditure may come automatically. The bad thing about this is that you cannot lie to yourself.
- Spending guilt
Research conducted indicates that those who are addicted to spending often feel guilty about their poor habits. For example, you may regret wasting money impressing girls at a party or simply regret buying a new pair of shoes when you have 3 or 4 new pairs you bought a few days ago.
If you are the kind of guy or lady who feels uncomfortable when the day ends without you dropping by the ATM, or without you having picked something from a mall, then it is time you check if you are a spending addict.
The good thing is that spending addiction can be overcome just as any other bad habit. The following eight strategies will help you overcome your addiction;
This is an important strategy in fighting any behavioral vice. If the signs I have mentioned above are familiar to you, then it is time you convince yourself that you are a spending addict and you need help to overcome it.
Many people choose to deny addiction problems because of a number of reasons; some may deny protecting their self-image, others deny because they have social problems and others may fail to realize the problem in the first place either by default or design.
It is only after you’ve admitted to yourself of having problem can the remaining nine strategies help.
Reflect on your past experience and determine if you really need to change
You may be self-aware of your spending addiction problem but lack any need of change.
I suggest you deeply evaluate the consequences of quitting spending a lot and evaluate yourself if you are ready for it. For example, are you ready to suppress the strong thrill of buying a new shoe or a pair of trousers?
The reason why I recommend personal reflection is because only you can change you. For humans to change their habits, motivation and discipline must be present. Motivation gets you started and discipline keeps you going and by reflecting, you give room for both.
Share out your problem be open for help
It is not really a problem if you cannot share it out. I understand it is very difficult for one to open up and share personal problems but trust me, there are people who love you and will stand by you in your course to fight spending addiction,
You will be encourage, motivate and help you make sound decisions that are steps towards the right direction.
You can open up to your family members, friends or a colleague at work.
Set your priorities & Revisit your expenditure
Most often, our spending addiction arises from failing to understand what our priorities really are. The best way to set our priorities is to revisit our expenditure and analyze what was helpful and what was not. For example, if you spent 20% of your income on buying new shoes, you should beware that shoes are not priority over food or bus fare.
The two broad categories to classify your expenses are “essential” and “non-essential”. While revisiting your expense, you should classify each under either of the two categories and get the summation.
Set alternate channels
Once you’ve categorized your expenditure into essentials and non-essentials, I advise you come up with an alternate channel to direct the funds that had previously been channeled to the non-essential expenditure.
The alternative channel may be savings account, debt settlement, asset acquisition or loan recovery. You will soon realize how funds are growing fast in your savings account or how fast your debts are settled
Put measures to avoid sliding back into the past
The fast growth of your savings account balance can make you excited and before you know it, you may be walking back the lane you’ve been running away from. So, make a plan on how you will keep up the spirit and avoid temptation
For example, you may resolve to lock your savings account so that you do not have access to it unless on special request, pay off debts immediately you earn and automate your loan recovery deductions. This way, you will not have the opportunity to lay hands on the cash that would otherwise have been spent carelessly.
Find the people who have been affected by your recent development
Every penny you’ve been spending has been affecting somebody either positively or negatively. Stores will have lost a “loyal” customer, your family may have lacked one thing or the other, your creditors may have even classified your debt as “bad debt” and your savings account may have had nothing.
The importance of thinking on which your addiction affected is to enhance awareness and be sounder that whenever you overspend, somebody is hurt.
You may also consider discussing your latest developments with some of the people, especially those who were affected positively (I am referring to those who were riding on free drinks). If the habit had infiltrated into your friends, it is advisable that you provide counsel
For those who were negatively affected, you may resolve to make things right for them; for example, your spouse will have their stress reduced. You can prioritize their essential needs to make it up to them.
Making up to the people you hurt will also spark positive growth as they will encourage and motivate you to do the right thing
Establish a manageable budget and honor it
Budgets are very important if you are wishing to continue with the healing process. However, it is important to draft budgets we can live up to.
Budget can act as reference point before you make any financial decision that will result in expenditure.
These strategies that help you heal from addictive spending are similar to the strategies can help you heal from any other addiction. It starts with your mindset and a strong will and you could soon be an efficient spender.
I wish you good luck and congratulations for being strong enough to walk down this road.