Saturday, July 15, 2006

Shopping and Credit Card Debt Addictions

Several of my friends are in difficult financial predicaments. They are frugal and wise when it comes to their finances. They were the ones that budgeted, saved and finally bought their own homes. They are married, but it was all their planning and implementation that brought the results. Unfortunately, their husbands can't stop buying STUFF! Their husbands are creating a leak that is sinking their financial boat and it's happening really quickly!

My friend's husband had a habit of buying everything he desired. He never curbed his spending and several times the card (which has an outrageous limit)...was maxed. She found out when she was making a purchase. She never knows when he is going to go to work and come home with a new car. He is that compulsive. They have been on the brink of divorce several times, due to his spending. My advice? Let him drown. If a person doesn't feel the pain, they will never change. He would show up with a new car because he got tired of the previous one. She would take the payment book and pay off the car. Not too long after that, he would show up with another car. I told her to stop the direct deposit of her paycheck from their account and to open her own. This way he didn't have two salaries to throw away and someone could pay the bills. This was after she spoke to him, the marriage counselor spoke to both of them and their pastor mediated. He wouldn't stop. In a case like this, it is a disease. Anyone that pays off the debt is an enabler.

They were able to save their marriage after she stopped rescuing him. She opened her own checking account, credit cards and investments. She let him handle his bills and drown. He went as far as working double shifts and taking on part time jobs without curbing his spending habits. He got tired and started paying off the debt. That is until this spring. She called me hysterical. She found a credit card bill he had hidden with a $7,000. balance. He had bought over $7000.00 in action figures to find a rare one he wanted. She found the stash in boxes in the garage. When confronted, he shrugged it off saying he would sell the rest on ebay. The problem is...she's heard that one before. He relapsed.

Cases like this happen everyday. Marriages are ruined, children suffer, and jobs are lost. Credit card addiction and addiction to shopping are just as bad as substance abuse. It may be worse because on the outside, the person looks healthy and normal. Credit card and shopping addictions need to be addressed correctly. There are books about codependency and addiction that are great tools to help the spouse that is suffering. Seek professional advice and therapy for situations like this. It's bad when a person has an addiction, it's worse when it effects a spouse and family...

How do I know? I know I was addicted to the feelings that shopping and credit cards invoked in me. This is why I advised her to stop feeding his habit. Those feelings have to be worked out and it takes time. First one has to admit the problem and then the work begins...

Here are a few resources:
5 Ways to Stop the Urge to Shop
Debtor's Anonymous

Related Posts
Credit Cards and my 18 Year Affair
Credit Cards and my 18 Year Affair (Part II)
Credit Card Addiction

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I also like to buy everything that I desire using my only credit card but I can say stop because I do not like to overspend even if I wish.