By: Joanne Cavis, UGA Cooperative Extension
Retail Therapy, recognizing that you have a problem is half the solution. If you suspect that compulsive spending is a problem for you, there are things that you can do to take control of your finances and your long-term financial security.
STOP USING CREDIT. If you are a compulsive spender, you probably carry a balance on at least one and probably several credit cards. Keep one card in your wallet for emergencies, and leave the rest at home. Do you need cut them up and close the accounts?
TRACK YOUR SPENDING. Find out where your money goes to pinpoint problem spending areas. Carry a small notebook with you and record what you purchased, where you bought it, how much it cost and why you made the purchase. Review the log weekly. Look for patterns.
SPEND LESS THAN YOU EARN. Look for ways to reduce spending and increase saving. Invest the difference.
PLAN YOUR SPENDING. Know what you want from your money. What are your intermediate and long-term goals? How will you handle an emergency? Prioritize wants and needs to keep spending and saving in line with your income. Once you have a plan, track it.
SHOP WISELY. Use a list and avoid buying items not on the list. Comparison shop. Use coupons for frequently used products.
HAVE A YARD SALE. Compulsive spenders often have a house full of goods that are almost new and barely used. Round up unwanted items for a yard sale. Some one-of-a-kind items often bring better prices when offered for sale through an online source. Use the proceeds of the sale to pay down debt or kick-start a new savings program.
Knowing you have a problem is half the solution. These suggestions can help you tackle compulsive spending. If you have tried to curb your spending without success, consider joining a support group or seek professional help from a trained counselor or mental health professional.
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