The Great Snowball of Debt

It’s that time of year again and I wish I could enjoy it as much seven year old daughter does.

She pounces on the couch every time while watching Cartoon Network every Saturday morning during the commercial run. I swear each and every commercial showcases a new toy and she goes completely gaga for all of them. Pleading and whimpering, she begs me for ALL the toys to be hers. And I wish I could but who would that benefit? I would only be creating a troll of a person who gets what she wishes for. The last time I checked I didn’t have a magic lamp.

This time of year causes so much stress and constant anxiety. What to get your significant other? What to buy your parents, nephew and your in-laws? When to start shopping? And the most important one of them all, DO I HAVE MONEY? Ugh, no, I never seem to have money.

You see, I have an addiction. A problem that snow-balled into something grand; but something bad not great grand.

About five years ago while getting my first (and only I pray) divorce (at 23, what a shame) I discovered the wonders of shopping and how good it felt to void the drama and the stress of court dates and fees. Luckily, it wasn’t a messy divorce. It was settled pretty smooth court wise but it was pretty ugly to deal with emotionally and spiritually.

During that time I started to live on my own and one morning I noticed my car was missing a whole entire tire. My car was sitting on the three tires and two pieces of 2x4s. Who does that??

Since living alone was a new thing, I didn’t know how to properly save (I still don’t) so I didn’t have money for a new tire. So my dad advised me to go to the tire shop to buy one on credit. Mind you, I had a credit card in high school but it was managed responsibly by my father. It’s because of him I had great credit at 20 years old only to mess it up in a matter of months.

I submitted my application for new credit and was instantly approved for a large amount of money. I was truly impressed at how easy and fast I had money. During the weekends, I would hit the mall and opened a few more credit cards. I was doomed.

Five years later and that debt has tripled. Worse now that I’m married, I feel guilty that I have this debt over OUR heads. We would’ve had a nice home already instead of throwing money away on rent. Times are hard.

I have no self-discipline when it comes to shopping. I stare at the new item I just purchased and I think, why did I buy that? I’m so compulsive and I give myself constant guilt trips only to do it again next month. We’ve gone to see a financial advisor once together and I felt good and ready to start shaving down the debt as soon as I walked out but I never really do anything about it. Any extra money left over I spend it instead of saving it.

The holidays suck because I wasn’t responsible.

-L

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