Confessions of a Compulsive Spender

I have always worked for everything in my life—especially the money I earn. As a result, I don’t let anyone tell me when I can and can’t spend money. This has not proved successful for me. In fact, I view myself as a compulsive spender. 

This is not at all something I am proud of. It took a while before I could admit to myself that I cannot stop spending money. I always justified my purchases by telling myself that I had a part-time job and could afford to spend money occasionally. However, “occasionally” turned into ordering delivery food or buying a new article of clothing every single day. As my student loans covered most of my rent, I didn’t have to worry about that. I saw the money from my job as money that I wasn’t obliged to spend on necessities such as rent or groceries. I didn’t feel the need to save the money and as a result, started spending non-stop.

My thought process was always something along the lines of “this is only $5, I won’t even notice it out of my bank account!”. However, when I use this excuse to justify my purchases at least six times daily, it starts to add up. At the end of the week I would look at my bank account in shock, disgusted at my spending and at myself. 

I have tried many tactics to lower my spending: I have written a list of unnecessary purchases and taped it to the back of my bedroom door so that I could see it everyday; I have tried writing down how much money I spend each day so that I can physically see the numbers in front of me; and I’ve even begged my housemates and boyfriend to stop me from ordering delivery food. However, none of these have proved successful for me. Often times, a tactic will stick and help me for a few days, but then I forget all about it and my spending continues. I also try to identify what triggers my spending. I know that I love thrift stores, where I go in just to look at the cool vintage clothing but always walk out having bought something. I also can’t stop myself when I see something delicious-looking at a restaurant on campus, even though I have packed my own lunch that day. I just don’t want to have to avoid thrift stores and restaurants my entire life.

I began to wonder if there were other reasons I couldn’t stop spending money. Part of me thinks that if people see how much I spend, they will assume I’m financially stable and think highly of me. Another part of me believes I let my laziness interfere too often. I know that a home cooked meal will make me feel proud of myself and would be far more healthy, but it’s much easier to just click a few times and have a delivery driver on their way over. However, whenever I order delivery I immediately feel guilty for spending the money and not cooking my own meals. This isn’t enough to kick my spending habits though, as I forget all about the guilt when my food gets delivered. It’s a deadly cycle. 

Moving forward in this year, I hope to find a money saving tactic and stick with it. I’m aware that poor spending habits now will most likely translate into poor spending habits into my adulthood. I know I must identify my triggers and work towards avoiding them. It’s a progress, but worth it in order to give up this expensive little habit of mine.

If you have any money saving tactics you think I should try, leave them in the comments below!

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