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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 12:47:45 PM

Title: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 12:47:45 PM
Hi, I am REALLY GLAD I found this place.  I could really use some advice, as I seem to have gotten myself into a pickle where I cannot even save cash because I am in so much debt.  I need some point blank instructions to follow to become financially free.  I am sad about my situation, because I feel I am a pretty smart person who has been impulsive in my purchasing behavior.  I will spend up to the limit of what the credit cards will give me.  I make all the payments but once I have a little room I end up just spending them back up again.  It scares me to think about living on what I take home because sometimes buying something just really makes me happy.  I know it must be a bit of an addiction but its very pleasurable and I have trouble letting go.  My problem is mainly clothing and occasionally food.  I love new clothes and since I started buying new clothing I have felt more attractive, more competent and just overall way more confident than I did before when I was so frugal with my clothing budget.  I love having clothing options and following fashions.  I would not want to give this up entirely so need to work in a way to have some spending on that, or even come up with a situation where I earn money part-time/dog sitting whatever so that whatever I make in that side job I can freely spend on clothing and shoes.  Um, I got off track a bit.  Okay here goes my expenses:
-1350   Rent
-440     Credit Card Minimums
-485           Student Loan Minimums
-188           Extra Student Loan Pay Down
-1000   Food & Recreation
-340           Utilities
-3803   Total Expenses
-1188   Of Total: Discretionary
-2615   Of Total: Fixed
731    Leftover each Month

Yearly Savings:   
                    8,775    Cash Savings (731*12)
                 15,750    401k
                    3,150    Bonus to 401k
                    2,835    Bonus Cash Savings
                 30,510    Total Savings
62% of Savings to 401k
38% of Savings to  Cash Savings
27%    Savings Rate (not including principal paydown on debt)

Income:  Yearly Salary is 100,000
Bonus around $10k
401k % is 15% = $656
Taxes are about $1116 with 2 exemptions
Health Savings Account is $70 per paycheck
Cafeteria spending is $150-170 a paycheck (lunch, snacks, etc. every day).  It is heavily subsidized so I eat things like a huge breakfast and organic stuff.  Well worth it for me since I barely eat dinner at home.

In practice, I end up spending a lot more than $1000 on Food/Clothing/Recreation.  I live in NYC but do not go out often.  If I do its about $60 each time.  The real problem as I already mention is my online clothing shopping habit.  I have spent upwards of $1000-2000 per month on clothing.  Its CRAZY but I enjoy it so much.  Ah!

Help me figure out a way to tame this beast and to save the right amount.

My debts are this:
Student Loan #1 (Private, variable 3.2%):  $17,800
Student Loan #2 (federal fixed 6.7%): $8718
Student Loan $3 (federal fixed 2.75%): $13600

Credit Card #1:  $4750
Credit Card #2 : $8100
Credit Card #3:  $4900
Credit Card #4: $1025

I think the credit cards 1-4 are at 24.99% and the #2-3 are at around 13%

I tend to prefer to save in my 401k because whenever I pay down my debt I just spend whatever I have and max them out again so wondering if it might be better to just save in 401k and pay down student loans first because then I cant use up all my money and at least I get somewhere even if its not the most mathematically perfect place.

As of the end of this year I will have $116,000 in my 401k, $2500 in cash savings.  I am 33.

Am I vey screwed?  How long is it going to take to dig out of this hole and get myself under control??? Face punches needed.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: thingamabobs on December 07, 2015, 12:55:39 PM
wow, so basically you're saying that the only way you'll stop spending is if you max out your credit cards. But those cards are bleeding you dry at those interest rates!!! Cut the cards!! NOW! you need a cash only diet.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: partgypsy on December 07, 2015, 01:03:19 PM
105K year earnings
Have
Bonus is usually 7.5% of that so around $7,875

My debts are this:
Student Loan #1 (Private, variable 3.2%):  $17,800
Student Loan #2 (federal fixed 6.7%): $8718
Student Loan $3 (federal fixed 2.75%): $13600
40K student loans

Credit Card #1:  $4750
Credit Card #2 : $8100
Credit Card #3:  $4900
Credit Card #4: $1025
18775K (high interest) credit cards.

I am actually not a true mustachian (shooting for a regular retirement at age 62) and I would be very uncomfortable being in the situation that you are in. You are above average with your retirement savings, but if you lost your job tomorrow and had to pay off these debts, you would have no way to do so without liquidating all your retirement (with interest and penalties taken out).
I'm sorry if this is harsh but you know where your problem is (clothes shopping), though since you didn't post a detailed budget there may be other areas of spending as well.

If I were you I would seriously do  no (clothes) shopping for a year, and really hit both the credit cards and also the student loan payment as hard as you can. I normally would not say this, but you need to cut up your credit cards, and just keep one with a lower limit.
If you honestly feel you cannot do that without slipping, you need to put yourself on a hard budget. Sock your bonus in a checking account and that is your discretionary spending amount for the YEAR (365 days).

If shopping is your hobby, you need a new hobby! There will be withdrawal pains but you will grow as a person. Believe it or not, being an person with interests and hobbies and something on the inside makes one a attractive person, not wearing expensive clothes.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: 2ndTimer on December 07, 2015, 01:06:06 PM
In practice, I end up spending a lot more than $1000 on Food/Clothing/Recreation.  I live in NYC but do not go out often.  If I do its about $60 each time.  The real problem as I already mention is my online clothing shopping habit.  I have spent upwards of $1000-2000 per month on clothing.  Its CRAZY but I enjoy it so much.    There are lots of places you could start so I am addressing the area where I feel most competent.  You say you enjoy it all so much but I will bet you don't enjoy it all equally.  Keep track of you spending for a while and you will see that some of it involves things that don't give you that much joy.  Cut these first.  You will hardly miss them.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 07, 2015, 01:07:49 PM
Oh boy, I feel you on the clothes thing, in that I used to have a  bit of a compulsion here. Guess what--you don't need this to feel better. revolutionary! I know.

Suggestions:

Stop browsing in stores. Consider reading Your Money or Your Life. Think about why clothes are your gazingus pin.

Browse your closet. Are you buying stuff that you aren't wearing or isn't actually right for you? Can you arrange a clothing swap for your unwanted clothes with friends and thus get new clothes for free while socializing?

Also, read Overdressed: the High Cost of Low fashion, and think about if spending in this way aligns with your values.

If you do buy, create a list of essentials. You may only buy items on this list. Perhaps aim for a capsule wardrobe? Unfancy has a great overview and the outfits are very cute. http://www.un-fancy.com/category/capsule-wardrobe-101/

To save money (or just decrease spending), you absolutely have to reassess what you need. This can be a slow journey but it's very important. I found I was shopping as a habit, out of boredom, sometime to avoid facing certain feelings. It was a distraction and a reflex, not something purposeful. I also still have more than enough clothes even after a year where all I bought was basically necessities (some shoes--mainly practical, a coat, a bra) and after actively donating and re-selling clothes in my closet.

Also, it's important to really look at your spending when you go out. I have mostly stopped buying drinks out now and cut out brunching (mostly). But another thought--if you don't go out often, maybe go out to free things more and you'll realize you want to spend less (because hey, now your life is richer and fuller and the need for clothes is reduced commensurately).
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 07, 2015, 01:10:45 PM
More things--you do have great savings, but really, you can bring your lunch in. Do you work at Hearst or something? I can imagine they might have an unfriendly work culture for bringing lunch in, but it's such an easy win. Just start making food at home and bringing in leftovers (esp if you'e not going out much!). Or is your work very stressful with long hours and this is why shopping is your outlet?

Unsubscribe from any clothing/fashion emails you're on (Gilt, etc. ) which may be inducing you to impulse shop, too.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: hunniebun on December 07, 2015, 01:13:10 PM
Have you read through many of MMM posts? I think there are some good ones that might help you focus your efforts...such as his post called Debt is an Emergency.  I think you should  focus on setting a realistic budget that focuses on repaying your credit card debt in a year or less.  Keep a clothing budget in there, since it sounds like you aren't ready to give that up and you would just be setting yourself up for failure to cut it out cold turkey.  Then you can shop (with in the budget) and focus on finding deals.  Once the debt is paid off, make a new budget with more rooms for fun, but with a healthy savings rate.  Maybe a different website with more practical tips on your situation, like Gail Vaz Oxlade or Dave Ramsay might be helpful? 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: pbkmaine on December 07, 2015, 01:14:21 PM
You are here, so that tells me that the pain is greater than the pleasure. Try 2T's approach above. See if that works. Also read Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. They have a similar approach: spend money on what gives you the most pleasure. If that does not work, you may need Dave Ramsey, who is hard-core focused on debt.


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Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Philociraptor on December 07, 2015, 01:18:54 PM
Read this (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/18/news-flash-your-debt-is-an-emergency/) MMM post.

Please go to your local library and pick up copies of Your Money or Your Life and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Read them cover to cover asap. This should help you with your clothing addiction.

Cut up your credit cards, they are toxic to you. Stop paying extra towards your student loans and stop saving money that isn't earning you a 401(k) match; throw all this money (except for an emergency fund) at paying off your credit cards. Credit cards are 3x-9x the interest rate of your student loans.

Once your credit card debt is gone you can go back to saving in your 401(k).
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: ohana on December 07, 2015, 01:21:10 PM
Stop paying extra into your student loan.  Stop adding extra to your 401K.

Pay off your credit cards -- NOW.  Your credit card debt is an EMERGENCY.  Use the extra cash you get from above to pay these off immediately.

Also, consider refinancing these credit card loans via Lending Club or Prosper.  You can get a much lower rate I'm betting.

If you really love shopping, start going to Goodwill.  I get a kick out of finding the rare gem there -- it's as fun as going to the mall for me.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Argyle on December 07, 2015, 01:21:17 PM
You need other sources of pleasure, reward, and support in your life.  You have gotten overfocused on one thing to the extent of getting underfocused on other things.  The other things are undercultivated, so no wonder they are not as rewarding in present circumstances.  You have also gotten to rely on clothes-buying for, as you say, confidence.  But it's also time to look at what clothes-buying is also doing for you:

making you fear and understand that you are not a person in control of your life
not giving you lasting confidence or else you wouldn't need to keep doing it to get the feeling.  It's only giving you a momentary burst of false confidence
putting you in danger of losing everything you have through debt and overspending
keeping you from having the sense of security, freedom, and pride that come along with leaving within your means

So you are paying a bigger penalty than you realize for the clothes-shopping.

I would suggest getting a lot of things in place to help with coping with the feelings that will come up (and not be numbed out ) when you cut down on the clothes shopping:

make a big chart or something satisfying, showing how your savings are mounting with your new non-spending
get a support group, ideally an in-person group, for camaraderie, accountability, and more social connectedness
what hobby have you always wanted to devote more time to?  Now's the time
a therapist with good practical experience helping with these issues (not just "When you were a kid..." but "Next time you're faced with the impulse, try...")
All the other comforts you can put in place without spending money: your favorite music, heart-warming pictures out, phone calls with old friends, good exercise, hot baths...

It might also help to add up how much you'd have saved if you'd been more careful with the shopping.  Say you'd spent $1500 less per month for the last five years, and invested it at 5%.  Want to guess how much extra you'd have?  The answer is $102,434.16.  That is one hell of a lot of money.  Tax-free, right?  Because that is after taxes.  How would you feel with a $102,000 cushion in your investment account, earning money for you every day without you having to do a thing?  All your debts would be wiped out instantly, and you'd still have a ton of money left over, sheltering you against job loss, health emergency, family emergency, poverty in retirement or against simply not having any money and feeling that desperate hamster-wheel never-can-catch-up anxiety.

Save that money and watch it mount up.  You can do it.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Villanelle on December 07, 2015, 01:23:26 PM
Sadly, there's no magic bullet.  You already know you are spending way too much, so there's not much anyone can say.  You either want to change badly enough that you'll do it, or you don't.  You either want to improve your situation, or you don't. Only you can make that call.

It's a bit like losing weight.  It's the simplest thing in the world, but that doesn't mean it is easy. It takes hard work to change habits. 

If you truly, truly want this change, you already know what you need to do.  In your [new, bought on credit] shoes, I would probably allow myself about $125 in monthly shopping money.  I'd load it on a pre-paid Visa card, and that would be the only card I was allowed to shop with. If you don't spend it, you can carry it over, but you aren't allowed to borrow from next month's money.   And as the carrot at the end of the stick, for every $2500 of the CC debt that I paid off (starting from today's total), I'd give myself another $20, if I truly needed that incentive.  (Better not to, of course.)

And give yourself a second allowance, on a different Visa gift card, for eating out and recreation.  Maybe $100/mo.  Your situation isn't horrible (yet!) because you have a very solid salary, even in NYC, and your debt is still not past the point of being manageable. But that doesn't mean it isn't an emergency, because you are out of control.  if you don't like those small numbers for shopping and recreation, good!  Let that be the incentive that gets you out of this mess.  Once you are, you can increase those allowances *slightly* if you feel you need to.  Maybe you get up to $500/mo, which is 1/2-1/4 of what you are spending now, but still a lot of money.  But you can't get there until you can actually afford it, which means having no CC debt at all.  Ever again.

Also, it is crazy you are paying extra on a student loan when you have cc debt at 25%.  Cut the student loans down to the minimum and put all extra money to the highest cc.  But the key is you need to not ever use the credit cards again for stuff you can't afford.

For how to replace the habit, try to find something else to fill that time.  Instead of sitting down in front of the computer, go for a walk, or read a book or learn to play chess, or some other free or low cots hobby. 

Also, you definitely should look in to dog walking or some other side hustle.  On top of that, you should sell some of your clothing on ebay, to a consignment store, or via ThredUp or similar.  And your rule from now on with clothes and shoes sould be one in, one out.  You are not allowed to buy anything (even using your $150 Visa gift card money) unless you get rid of something by either selling it, or throwing it away if it is no longer wearable.  (And no, you can't just donate wearable stuff.  You have to sell it.)
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: JLee on December 07, 2015, 01:27:40 PM
As others have said, you've diagnosed the problem already.

If you were to review every article of clothing that you've purchased in the last year, how many of them have you worn more than twice?  Is it the feeling of shopping / buying new clothes what excites you, or is it the feeling of wearing something new?
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: horsepoor on December 07, 2015, 01:30:32 PM
YOU NEED TO CANCEL YOUR CREDIT CARDS.  You can keep paying them down, but won't be able to keep spending on them.  If you want something, I think a cash envelope, preferably from a side hustle, is the way to go.  Then you can't shop online.  Try shopping secondhand.  There should be a plethora of fancy, barely worn cast-offs available in NYC that will work just as well for a fraction of the price.  Alternatively, learn to sew and focus your time and energy on recreating what you have (again using a cash system for any supplies purchased).

Track your spending.  $1,000 for "food and rec" is not adequate.  Break it down to groceries, cafeteria, fast food, restaurants, bars, etc. and then analyze what you can cut.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: JLee on December 07, 2015, 01:34:57 PM
Also, check out things like this: http://www.meetup.com/fiveboroughsclothingswap/
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on December 07, 2015, 01:38:02 PM
You need to find a way to enjoy wearing the clothes that YOU ALREADY OWN and stop buying new ones (at least so much).

I have never had this problem. I went to KonMari my wardrobe and found I owned just 62 tops (when "average" is 160 and I bet you have a lot more).

To get enthusiastic about less buying, maybe read something like Lessons from Madame Chic or some other Francophile book. French women always look great but they do NOT have giant wardrobes.

I do suggest taking a break from buying new clothes--say even just a month to start with. It might help you get better in touch with why you are buying so much.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 01:39:04 PM
My takeaways so far:

1) Create a more detailed budget/analysis of where my spending is
2) Cut up OR cancel my credit cards (which one?)
3) Use prepaid Visas for spending in each category for each month
4) Analyze which parts of my spending really do increase my happiness

To answer the clothing question, this is not one of those situations where I buy and don't wear the clothes.  I love all of them and have found a system where I actually buy items i like and wear.  That is what is so difficult here.  If I had spent $5000 and still felt I had nothing to wear, it would be one thing, but these online sites carry everything I like and I am finding myself so happy when I go to put an outfit on for the day.  It pleases me!  But now that I have a huge closet, I don't plan on whittling it down, since I like everything. Also a capsule wardrobe wouldn't really work for me, because I get bored of wearing the same things, I sweat a lot so I can't re-wear things every day, and I have a lot of different occasions (formal work, business casual days, nights out in the city, hiking days, lounging days, coffee dates, things like that so I really just like to have options).  I don't have a problem with having too many things right now.  My apartment is well organized and my closet is organized in a great way.  I think if I keep buying though that could get a bit out of control with having "too much stuff." and I wouldn't want to have to part with items I paid money for.

Now, would it be best to stop spending extra on 401k and student loans and to put it towards my credit cards?  I tried that a month ago and paid down $2500 in credit cards instead of loans and then I just ran it back up again.  It seems like I really do need to cancel my cards :(  I know that is bad for my credit.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 01:43:18 PM
I think this is not just a matter of willpower but a bit of a psychological issue.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: boarder42 on December 07, 2015, 01:45:43 PM
are you really this dense.  you cant possibly be.  you dont spend money on a CC when its maxed out but then max it out when there is any money there.  this is absurd. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: boarder42 on December 07, 2015, 01:47:05 PM
its all willpower... everything is will power

DONT PLAY THE ADDICITION CARD

you're just giving up and saying your powerless. 

cmon thats a lie and you know it.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 07, 2015, 01:51:40 PM
So, if you don't need to downsize, let's say you have the right sized wardrobe. Fine. Keep it right where it is. If you have outfits you love, you don;t need new outfits. Now please oh please get yourself off those online shopping email lists! As you say, there is a compulsion here, so the way to stop buying is to figure out what need the spending is fulfilling. Something emotional, something you're not getting, something you're afraid of? A good therapist would be useful here but the Your Money or Your Life book (or a book on buddhism--spending is one of those mindless habits we use to run away from the underlying reality of life) will help too as a starter.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 01:51:55 PM
To be more specific, my shopping problem is these online "subscription boxes" where you either get a mystery box of clothing or you choose 1-2 items and they surprise you with the rest.  Everything is on trend and fits.  It's part clothes shopping/part surprise/and part gift.  It's incredibly addictive.  If you want to invest in something invest in that!  I have an app idea for this industry percolating.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 01:52:48 PM
Okay will check out Your Money or Your Life.  What is it about?
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on December 07, 2015, 01:53:47 PM
You can't be trusted with credit. Skip every thread here about rewards cards, credit card hacking, etc. That's not where you are. Cancel all your cards so you can't spend more than you make.

I wouldn't reduce your 401k contribution. In fact, I imagine your tax rate is pretty high. I'd consider making sure it's maxed out yearly. It's the perfect savings vehicle for you - really hard to spend on clothes.

You need to order your debts by interest rate and pay into the highest-interest rate one until it goes away. Then move on to the next one.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: pbkmaine on December 07, 2015, 01:56:29 PM
Your Money or Your Life is about examining your relationship with money and STUFF.


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Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: ohana on December 07, 2015, 01:57:33 PM
It's incredibly addictive.

Not as addictive as watching your nest egg grow.

Now, let me FACEPUNCH you.  Stop spending on this stupid stuff, pay off your credit cards and cancel them, and start watching your net worth grow.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 07, 2015, 02:07:46 PM
The fact that it's a subscription service will make this (hopfeully easier). Styep 1: Cnacel. Step 2: do not rejoin, at least not until you control your wants.

Your Money or Your Life is a general personal finance book, but the part about 'gazingus pins'--their name for your weak spot on spending--was really helpful for me in seeing my shopping in a new, quite unattractive light. It helped me realize that I was never satisfied with my purchases because I was looking for the high of the purchase more than anything else. It was a bit of a hamster wheel way to go through life. I wasn't spending as much as you, but probably several hundred dollars a month, and certainly more than I needed.

Depending on your inclinations you could also look into 'Giving what you can'. It is hard to justify frivolous spending when you realize that it's not ethical in the big picture. Not to mention that the debt isn't sustainable. I had 10k and maxed out cards when I got serious about whittling it down and after two years it's gone, which is a nice feeling. Put all the money you can spare onto the highest interest card and stop new spending and it will piff almost on its own--once you learn how to control your spending.

I get loving that new feeling. I get being enticed by pretty, lovely, attractive things and how it makes you feel. But it's basically empty and you *can* change your mindset.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: boarder42 on December 07, 2015, 02:15:00 PM
just stop it cold turkey... it wont take you one month and you wont even miss it. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 02:21:49 PM
I just cut up 2 cards.  The other one I can't find (prob not a good thing!) And the 4th one is a Best Buy card and I almost never spend/go there.  It was for a computer.  This lovely computer auto-fills my credit card info into websites :/  Need to disable that.  And it autofills on another subscription box I use.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 07, 2015, 02:23:06 PM
That's great--now about cancelling those services....?

Also, make sure you get the books from the library!
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: boarder42 on December 07, 2015, 02:25:18 PM
in 2 months you're gonna forget this day ever happened. in one year you'll be thanking yourself for the best xmas gift you ever gave yourself.  Freedom!
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 02:27:41 PM
I cancelled one of them.  The other surprise boxes you need to order separately.  I am subscribed to all the emails with the sales and stuff.  Shouldn't I keep the sale emails so I only shop with sales or is that just a trigger? :/
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: boarder42 on December 07, 2015, 02:29:02 PM
delete them ... thats just another trigger.  you already said your closet is full.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on December 07, 2015, 02:30:32 PM
A great deal on a wasteful purchase is still 100% wasteful.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 07, 2015, 02:35:27 PM
Yeah, no shopping on sales either. If there are things you would really like, tis the season to ask for them as a gift. But I promise you don't need these things and if you replace the stimulus of buying with something else--something productive and healthy--you won't feel the lack.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 02:36:28 PM
What did you replace it with Norabird?
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: shotgunwilly on December 07, 2015, 02:41:36 PM
I cancelled one of them.  The other surprise boxes you need to order separately.  I am subscribed to all the emails with the sales and stuff.  Shouldn't I keep the sale emails so I only shop with sales or is that just a trigger? :/

Ugh. -.-

Why do you think they send out sales emails to people like you?  Get rid of all of them.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: horsepoor on December 07, 2015, 02:45:26 PM
I cancelled one of them.  The other surprise boxes you need to order separately.  I am subscribed to all the emails with the sales and stuff.  Shouldn't I keep the sale emails so I only shop with sales or is that just a trigger? :/

Whenever you get a new email, scroll right to the very bottom and click the "unsubscribe" because those sales emails are a total trigger to get you clicking around and buying stuff you didn't know you wanted when you woke up that morning.  Unsubscribe to everything.  If they don't have an unsubscribe, just block them.

On the 401(k) question, only contribute enough to get your match because you're paying 25% INSANE INTEREST on your credit cards.  Pick one of the 25% cards that you've cancelled/cut up and pay it down, then move on to the next one and kill that.  Your credit score will recover, don't worry about that.  Having maxed credit cards hurts your credit too but that isn't stopping you. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 07, 2015, 02:45:50 PM
That's a good question! I used to go into stores on my lunch break or after work, then I stopped--that didn't need any replacing, but it still took a mindset shift. I think ultimately you need to figure out what feelings the shopping is allaying, and face them, and also to figure out what would make you happier in a deeper way (not that I was unhappy when I was shopping more, but it was a waste of life energy). What do you like and what matters to you? Focus on that. It's not just clothes, I'm sure. (By the way, down the line once you fix your own buying patterns maybe you could look into this as a side gig--personal shopping, or something. It's okay to value fashion, or even to budget for it, but it needs to be controlled and proportionate).
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 02:47:42 PM
I don't know how I got onto all these email lists.  I have hundreds.  I just unsubscribed from about 20, it's going to take all day ha ha
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on December 07, 2015, 02:49:07 PM
I cancelled one of them.  The other surprise boxes you need to order separately.  I am subscribed to all the emails with the sales and stuff.  Shouldn't I keep the sale emails so I only shop with sales or is that just a trigger? :/

Whenever you get a new email, scroll right to the very bottom and click the "unsubscribe" because those sales emails are a total trigger to get you clicking around and buying stuff you didn't know you wanted when you woke up that morning.  Unsubscribe to everything.  If they don't have an unsubscribe, just block them.

On the 401(k) question, only contribute enough to get your match because you're paying 25% INSANE INTEREST on your credit cards.  Pick one of the 25% cards that you've cancelled/cut up and pay it down, then move on to the next one and kill that.  Your credit score will recover, don't worry about that.  Having maxed credit cards hurts your credit too but that isn't stopping you.

She's paying 25% federal taxes on her last dollar earned.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Villanelle on December 07, 2015, 02:51:57 PM
You say you aren't wasting because you wear everything.  That's not really the definition of not wasting.  You wear every item in what--a 4 month rotation?  Cut that down to two months.  You'll still be well dressed.

As for what to replace it with, what are you interested in? I posted some suggestions up thread.  Walking, learning a skill, reading, learning about finances, or whatever interests you that you can do free or at very low cost.  Even better if you can find something that you can do that earns you money. 

And no, you shouldn't stay on the lists so you buy when there are sales.  You need to stop buying shit you don't need.  Just because you'd wear it doesn't mean you need it.  Those things are not even close to the same.  You've lost the right to buy something just because it is cute and on sale.  You spent away that right $20,000 ago.  If you don't like that truth, then remember how it feels and use it to motivate you to get rid of the debt and never get a single penny of it back.  Because once you do that, then you can allow the *occasional* splurge, but only if you keep it under control and within pre-set limits.  You aren't someone who can be successful with no budget.  You need to track every single penny you spend, and set limits for every category that are non-negotiable, even once you are out of debt. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 07, 2015, 02:55:04 PM
I think 401k contribution to an extent is personal preference. I had lower interest credit cards but I liked seeing the investments tick up no matter what else I did. Obviously the higher interest is a factor, but here it might be okay to move overpayment of the student loans to CC debt and keep higher 401k contributions if that feels right. The first step is to stop the habit, and after that the approach for lowering the existing balances can be tinkered with. The behavioral patterns are the number one priority, and the rest, in my opinion, are details.

By the way, as your balances go down, you'll start qualifying for 0% cards (eventually). Transferring part of the balance is a great way to help cut back on the interest charges once you reach that point.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Exflyboy on December 07, 2015, 02:57:08 PM
Addiction??.. Hmm my BIL just got caught with a DUI while driving his Class A CDL truck.

So now he has lost his job and about to lose his license.. "But he's an alcoholic, he can't help it" they all say.. Yeah I have a number of different adjectives to describe his situation.. None of them fit to print.

Same for you I'm afraid.. I took the interest you THINK you are paying on those Credit cards... You are paying $3133/ year or $261 a month.

In INTEREST alone!!!!.. That means you might as well be balling up $261 each month and BURNING it!

Can you see how STUPID this situation is?.. Like everyone else has said... Stop buying clothes, STOP paying off any other loan, STOP saving, get your spending under control and pay those damn CC's off.

Sorry this is blunt but seriously your in a world of hurt here.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: ooeei on December 07, 2015, 03:00:07 PM
Since you really like fashion, how about learning to sew/alter your own clothes?  That's a productive hobby that should cost far less than what you're spending on clothes.  I'm sure there's some classes in NY that aren't crazy expensive.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 07, 2015, 03:00:50 PM
On a happier note: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/04/get-rich-with-the-chaching-instinct/

I can vouch that this feeling exists.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 03:01:51 PM
$261 a month can be put towards clothes once I am out of debt.... sorry that is not the right way of thinking .... ahh
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 03:04:48 PM
Since you really like fashion, how about learning to sew/alter your own clothes?  That's a productive hobby that should cost far less than what you're spending on clothes.  I'm sure there's some classes in NY that aren't crazy expensive.

I am hopeless with this kind of stuff.  I am more of a computer brain.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 07, 2015, 03:08:54 PM
Honestly if you need to pledge that interest towards clothes once the debt is gone, that's fine by me--because you never know how your priorities may change, and if they don't and you've learned how to spend *within your budget*, then that's absolutely your right. First you have to pay for the clothes you've bought in the past however!
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: JLee on December 07, 2015, 03:09:28 PM
$261 a month can be put towards clothes once I am out of debt.... sorry that is not the right way of thinking .... ahh

Go to your closet, take out half of the clothes, and put them in boxes.  In 6 months, open a box. New clothes!
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: horsepoor on December 07, 2015, 03:10:59 PM
I cancelled one of them.  The other surprise boxes you need to order separately.  I am subscribed to all the emails with the sales and stuff.  Shouldn't I keep the sale emails so I only shop with sales or is that just a trigger? :/

Whenever you get a new email, scroll right to the very bottom and click the "unsubscribe" because those sales emails are a total trigger to get you clicking around and buying stuff you didn't know you wanted when you woke up that morning.  Unsubscribe to everything.  If they don't have an unsubscribe, just block them.

On the 401(k) question, only contribute enough to get your match because you're paying 25% INSANE INTEREST on your credit cards.  Pick one of the 25% cards that you've cancelled/cut up and pay it down, then move on to the next one and kill that.  Your credit score will recover, don't worry about that.  Having maxed credit cards hurts your credit too but that isn't stopping you.

She's paying 25% federal taxes on her last dollar earned.

But if she plays it right she could get the cards paid off and then plow as much as possible into 401(k) at the end of the year because taxes are on an annual basis and credit card interest accrues monthly.

News Flash:  Your Debt is an Emergency! (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/18/news-flash-your-debt-is-an-emergency/)
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 03:17:57 PM
I cancelled one of them.  The other surprise boxes you need to order separately.  I am subscribed to all the emails with the sales and stuff.  Shouldn't I keep the sale emails so I only shop with sales or is that just a trigger? :/

Whenever you get a new email, scroll right to the very bottom and click the "unsubscribe" because those sales emails are a total trigger to get you clicking around and buying stuff you didn't know you wanted when you woke up that morning.  Unsubscribe to everything.  If they don't have an unsubscribe, just block them.

On the 401(k) question, only contribute enough to get your match because you're paying 25% INSANE INTEREST on your credit cards.  Pick one of the 25% cards that you've cancelled/cut up and pay it down, then move on to the next one and kill that.  Your credit score will recover, don't worry about that.  Having maxed credit cards hurts your credit too but that isn't stopping you.

She's paying 25% federal taxes on her last dollar earned.

But if she plays it right she could get the cards paid off and then plow as much as possible into 401(k) at the end of the year because taxes are on an annual basis and credit card interest accrues monthly.

News Flash:  Your Debt is an Emergency! (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/18/news-flash-your-debt-is-an-emergency/)

That's a great idea actually.  I get my bonus in December $7875 and if I pay them off by May I can put a lot into my 401k starting then.  Need to really do this :/
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: JLee on December 07, 2015, 03:20:46 PM
I cancelled one of them.  The other surprise boxes you need to order separately.  I am subscribed to all the emails with the sales and stuff.  Shouldn't I keep the sale emails so I only shop with sales or is that just a trigger? :/

Whenever you get a new email, scroll right to the very bottom and click the "unsubscribe" because those sales emails are a total trigger to get you clicking around and buying stuff you didn't know you wanted when you woke up that morning.  Unsubscribe to everything.  If they don't have an unsubscribe, just block them.

On the 401(k) question, only contribute enough to get your match because you're paying 25% INSANE INTEREST on your credit cards.  Pick one of the 25% cards that you've cancelled/cut up and pay it down, then move on to the next one and kill that.  Your credit score will recover, don't worry about that.  Having maxed credit cards hurts your credit too but that isn't stopping you.

She's paying 25% federal taxes on her last dollar earned.

But if she plays it right she could get the cards paid off and then plow as much as possible into 401(k) at the end of the year because taxes are on an annual basis and credit card interest accrues monthly.

News Flash:  Your Debt is an Emergency! (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/18/news-flash-your-debt-is-an-emergency/)

That's a great idea actually.  I get my bonus in December $7875 and if I pay them off by May I can put a lot into my 401k starting then.  Need to really do this :/

Take the entire amount of your bonus and use it to pay off credit cards. Close the accounts as soon as they are paid.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 07, 2015, 03:25:07 PM
I don't get my bonus till next Dec
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: galliver on December 07, 2015, 03:33:42 PM
Since you really like fashion, how about learning to sew/alter your own clothes?  That's a productive hobby that should cost far less than what you're spending on clothes.  I'm sure there's some classes in NY that aren't crazy expensive.

I am hopeless with this kind of stuff.  I am more of a computer brain.
You seem like you're the perfect follower of the "refashionista" (Google her). She refashions thrift store clothes, and some of the refashions are super easy or even no-sew. Disclaimer: I don't actually do this, but then, I have very minimal requirements for my clothes.

The way I see it, there are two ways to be a foodie: eat regularly at the most expensive, trendy restaurants, or learn to cook awesome food yourself. And one of those is much more awesome. Same goes for fashion. And you CAN learn either skill. Just be ready to mess up!

Incidentally, I totally understand feeling more confident from being better dressed.  But that doesn't have to cost $2000/month!! I'd...actually be curious to know what that looks like. I don't think I have anything that cost more than $200 (down coat and boots...). I got three sweaters this weekend for $45 altogether! Will last years, I hope.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Exflyboy on December 07, 2015, 03:41:53 PM
$261 a month can be put towards clothes once I am out of debt.... sorry that is not the right way of thinking .... ahh

No it is NOT the right way.. But its a heck of a lot better way than where you are right now.

I don't know what your aims are, maybe you said in your original post. But getting to being FI is more of a mindset than anything else. Being in any kind of debt is something that would laser focus any Mustashian, and everything else would be gone without until that debt was gone (unless it was very low interest).

But that's what you need to do if you eventually want to be financially independent.

You will get the best deals on everything, go without new cars, never finance anything (except a house), cut off cable, $10 a month cell phone etc etc. Clothes?.. That's what thrift stores are for.

Maybe you just want to be able work all your life and retire at 65?.. That's perfectly fine (assuming your health and job market allow you to do that), but even so you still should get OUT of debt and STAY OUT.. Thats just being sensible.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: NoraLenderbee on December 07, 2015, 03:44:27 PM
$261 a month can be put towards clothes once I am out of debt.... sorry that is not the right way of thinking .... ahh

LOL true, but it is an improvement on your earlier way of thinking. Once you're out of debt, you can reward yourself (in moderation). Right now, though, you need to go on a spending diet. If you feel the urge to shop for clothes, go into your closet and "shop" among the clothes you haven't worn for a while. Make new outfits out of what you have.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Evgenia on December 07, 2015, 05:11:12 PM
I strongly recommend reading All Your Worth by Elizabeth Warren for a strategy to get you out of debt, and to show you what a sane (though hardly Mustachian) budget looks like.

I think, as others have said, that most of what's required is a shift away from being a consumer to... something else.

Start by watching the movie What Would Jesus Buy, especially during this holiday season. It's free online.

Who are you without the clothes and shopping? Think about that and see where it leads. Is there anything you would rather be doing with the time and money you currently spend shopping? It might be travel, or the ability to take a year off of work. Sometimes the answer is "Nothing," which is why shopping might be filling some sort of gap -- i.e. not having a hobby, not getting outside to exercise enough, etc. What would your brain be thinking about if it didn't have the mental overhead of debt to deal with? You're thinking about it, and it nags you: how much mental space is debt, the consequence of shopping, taking up?

Make and carry a little card with you and, before you make another purchase, pause, pull out the card, and review it with yourself. Ask:
* What am I doing here? (In the moment, in the store: quite literally, what are you doing there?) Why am I here right now? (Bad day? Depressed?)
* Do I own something like this already? (Probably yes.)
* Can I afford it? (Absolutely not, in your case.)
* Where will I put it?

Think deeply about what's behind the clothes you're buying, too. How much environmental destruction is caused by infinite consumption in a finite world? A ton. Shopping isn't something we should feel good about. The textile industry is almost as ecologically destructive as the oil industry, in terms of water and air pollution and carbon emissions, and that's before the slave labor, landfills, and all the rest. Sit with that for a while and see if it reflects the person you believe you really are, or want to be.

Do not carry credit cards on your person. Put your credit cards in jars of water and freeze them. If you need one to travel or book a flight, the water will have thawed by then. I find it more effective, however, to give the cards to someone you trust (mom or dad, whomever) so that you physically do not have them and need to go through the socially awkward act of asking for them in order to get them back. This makes you face someone else and have to admit and express what you need them for and why (even if you don't actually have that conversation, having to physically go get them from someone else makes you step through that process).

Use a browser plug-in like Leechblock to prevent you from seeing shopping websites you might use.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Exflyboy on December 07, 2015, 07:00:36 PM
^^^^^This^^^^!
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: simplertimes on December 07, 2015, 07:29:44 PM
CONGRATULATIONS on taking the first steps and cutting up cards, canceling accounts, and unsubscribing from email lists!  You should be PROUD of yourself for taking these difficult first steps!!!!!

Many, MANY people in America have this problem.  You are not the only one!  But you are one step ahead of most of them as you have realized something is wrong and have sought out help and advice.  Good for you!

This is such a wonderful opportunity to improve your sense of self-worth, self-confidence and self-esteem.  When you realize your goal of paying off the cards and finding other ways to entertain yourself/find happiness you will feel so good inside!

On another note, thank you to everyone who recommended books and videos in this thread, I am eager to read/watch them myself!
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: kite on December 08, 2015, 06:01:46 AM
Was the $1000 food & recreation over and above the cafeteria spend?

"Rarely eat dinner at home" is another cause of debt like what you've got.  Cathy Erway wrote a blog that became a book about not eating out in NY for two years.  No take out, no restaurants, everything prepared at home.  The financial savings are incredible.  At least the clothes can be worn a couple times.  But meals & drinks had in bars and restaurants are gone in tomorrow's flush, leaving behind only the hole in your wallet and excess fat & salt in your body to tax your circulation and organs. 

I have a loved one about 10 years older than you, similar income  (before the SHTF) who ultimately had to go bankrupt.   Her spending patterns were similar and felt normal to her.  But they aren't normal.  It's plum crazy.  The sooner you catch on to that, the better. 

Lucky for you, you're realizing before it's too late. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: matchewed on December 08, 2015, 07:25:36 AM
Relevant - http://lifehacker.com/how-to-program-your-mind-to-stop-buying-crap-you-don-t-1690268064#_ga=1.222986139.1055861349.1441835238
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: ooeei on December 08, 2015, 07:47:33 AM
Since you really like fashion, how about learning to sew/alter your own clothes?  That's a productive hobby that should cost far less than what you're spending on clothes.  I'm sure there's some classes in NY that aren't crazy expensive.

I am hopeless with this kind of stuff.  I am more of a computer brain.

4 years ago I'd eaten vegetables maybe 5 times in my life, and never cooked anything not in a microwave.  Now I make homemade pizza, great salads, bake bread, grill chickens, etc etc etc.  If you'd told anyone 5 years ago that I'd be a really good home cook, they'd have rolled their eyes out of their heads.  If you'd asked me, I would've laughed on my way to a fried chicken place.  As it stands, my girlfriend and I have friends over fairly often and cook them meals, which they're almost always impressed by.  We also cook for her large extended family when we go visit.

If I, the pickiest eater and laziest college kid there was, can learn to cook meals that my critical foodie aunt and girlfriend's Chinese grandmother compliment, YOU can learn to alter clothes.  Nobody is born knowing how to cook, alter clothes, or write novels.  These are learned skills (which your natural abilities can certainly help with), and I guarantee if you commit to doing it you can become good at it.  You may not become a world famous fashion designer, but you can be good enough to impress friends and people you meet.  Next time someone compliments an outfit and asks where you got it, imagine saying "I made it."
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 08, 2015, 08:52:48 AM
On the article front, I also think this can help with the 'aha' light bulb of understanding that shopping compulsions are about more than shopping: http://www.gq.com/story/buzz-bissinger-shopaholic-gucci-addiction
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: 2ndTimer on December 08, 2015, 09:38:26 AM
For how to replace the habit, try to find something else to fill that time.  Instead of sitting down in front of the computer, go for a walk, or read a book or learn to play chess, or some other free or low cots hobby.   I copied this from a previous poster because it is particularly good advice.  Exactly what activity you choose will depend on who you are.  Try thinking back on things you enjoyed when you were little.  Choose one and figure out how to bring it back into your life cheaply.  Doing it cheaply is the key here because if you have chosen the right thing, you are going to find you want to do it a lot. 

Here is how doing this worked out for me.

My particular thing turned out to be music.  I started the experiment with a yard sale stereo and some trips to used media stores to stock up on old CDs from the dollar bin.    Eventually, I decided that the only way for me to really appreciate music was to learn to make it so I put out the word that I wanted a piano and the in-laws offered me the ancient digital that their daughter had learned on.  Not a great instrument but free is the right price.  Then I signed up for the beginning piano class at the community college.  I also put out the word to friends and neighbors that I wanted all their old piano music.  I now have a pile of music books two feet high.  Eventually, I decided that I wanted a better piano so I spent some time visiting stores and reading CraigsList.  After a while, the perfect piano showed up used and I snapped it up.

During this time, I noticed something happening to my credit card statements.  They went way down.  Between class and practicing there was no time to shop. 

My social life got more interesting because people who are doing things attract other people who are doing similar things.  My neighbor wants to play duets with me.  The guy I met at the acupuncturist's office wants to tell me about his experiences with the accordion.  My SIL digs out her violin and confides that she'd like to start playing again.  Notice something about these activities.  None of them cost anything. 

I haven't even begun to explore the musical events that are free or discounted with my college I.D.  Someday when I have more time...

Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: honeybbq on December 08, 2015, 09:44:10 AM
UNSUBSCRIBE to all the fashion magazines you get. Cold turkey. DO NOT OPEN. Donate them or give them away.

UNSUBSCRIBE to ALL the emails you get from shopping companies. A sale is just a trigger for your to browse. Don't let them control you this way.

BLOCK the websites from your own computer. You can do this. Pick your top 5 website where you blow money and BLOCK them. Now you can't get to them online. You have saved your sanity.

UNSUBSCRIBE from ridiculous boxes. You're buying SHIT AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT IS! Can you see how ridiculous this is? Stop feeding the addiction.

Look for shopaholics anonymous or another type of therapy to help you get this under control. It really does sound like an addiction to me. Bets of luck.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Exflyboy on December 08, 2015, 09:44:38 AM
This reminds me of the orthopedic surgeon that was on the phone when a lightening bolt struck the house and part of the shock went thru his head!

When he woke up his brain had been re-wired and he learned to play concert piano.. eventually wrote and performed his own recital.. The guy had never been interested in classical music before!

Pretty wild, although maybe taking a bolt thru the head is not the best way to cure spendy habits..:)
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 08, 2015, 12:50:11 PM
UNSUBSCRIBE to all the fashion magazines you get. Cold turkey. DO NOT OPEN. Donate them or give them away.

UNSUBSCRIBE to ALL the emails you get from shopping companies. A sale is just a trigger for your to browse. Don't let them control you this way.

BLOCK the websites from your own computer. You can do this. Pick your top 5 website where you blow money and BLOCK them. Now you can't get to them online. You have saved your sanity.

UNSUBSCRIBE from ridiculous boxes. You're buying SHIT AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT IS! Can you see how ridiculous this is? Stop feeding the addiction.

Look for shopaholics anonymous or another type of therapy to help you get this under control. It really does sound like an addiction to me. Bets of luck.

Just unsubscribed from about 50 more shopping emails.  I usually only use 4-5 shopping services though and those are particular difficult.  I ordered a mystery box on November 5, and it arrived yesterday.  It's full of awesome stuff!  I wore one thing immediately...to choir practice.  I do belong to a choir and this week have 3 rehearsals.  I'm pretty musical but dropped playing my instruments awhile ago.  I would love a piano (really dislike the sound of keyboards) and play a little...play other things too.  I do have hobbies...

I'm not sure making my own clothes would be cheaper than the ones I buy.  I don't buy high end stuff, and I am not worried about it last 10 years but with enough rotation it will.  A capsule wardrobe gets washed and worn way too often and wears out quickly.  But I DO have enough clothing now. 

Right now I am ITCHING to go buy another mystery box since I loved this one so much but I will NOT DO IT.  You guys are my support group right now.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 08, 2015, 12:50:28 PM
Going back to read a couple of articles you guys posted.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 08, 2015, 01:09:05 PM
Some questions:

Why are you afraid of wearing stuff out? If you love it, shouldn't you wear it as much as you can, to enjoy it fully? Why do you think you deserve and are entitled to the treat of these boxes? (I used to feel so. entitled. to everything I wanted to have and do).

Take the items from the last box and think about how you got a high from receiving them but then have to get *another* high--how the feeling of 'newness' fades so quickly and you need something even *newer*. Isn't it sad to not be able to relish the feeling of having something new, to put it down as soon as the next stuff comes in?

Just food for thought. You can totally do this and I think having a 'support group' on the forum is a great idea for you. You can always come join us in the journals if you want...
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: pbkmaine on December 08, 2015, 01:29:24 PM
My question is this: what's missing in your life that you need all these "treats"?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: MudDuck on December 08, 2015, 01:40:53 PM
I just cut up 2 cards.  The other one I can't find (prob not a good thing!) And the 4th one is a Best Buy card and I almost never spend/go there.  It was for a computer.  This lovely computer auto-fills my credit card info into websites :/  Need to disable that.  And it autofills on another subscription box I use.

That's what I wanted to post: clear your CC numbers from your computer. Delete your cc number from amazon and similar. Change your passwords to shopping sites to something that is impossible to remember (make it look like a VIN number), then write it down and put it somewhere inconvenient. That allows you to still log in if you REALLY want or need to buy something, but it would require an extraordinary effort when compared with just clicking once or twice. If you really, REALLY want to waste your time/money on something, you'll have to, for example: wait until you are home from work, drag a step stool over, climb to the top of the closet, bring down a heavy box (I dunno, maybe it's full of books?), dig an envelope from the bottom, and then get the password from inside. OK, NOW you have to go get your CC from where you've stashed it, since your computer or phone no longer "remembers" it. This way, if it is getting cold and your coat is worn out and you've budgeted for a new one: sure, order it when you're ready. But if it's just impulse shopping from your desk or during lazy couch time, you may find it's too much trouble.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: tarheeldan on December 08, 2015, 01:43:51 PM
Change your passwords to shopping sites to something that is impossible to remember (make it look like a VIN number), then write it down and put it somewhere inconvenient.

Absolutely. I use: http://passwordsgenerator.net/
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: honeybbq on December 08, 2015, 02:30:25 PM
My question is this: what's missing in your life that you need all these "treats"?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

*thumbs up*
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: edmundblackadder on December 08, 2015, 02:49:40 PM
As a New Yorker, who really likes fashion and spends <$200 a year on clothes, I suggest turning your shopping habit into a museum habit -- you get all the joy of looking at beautiful things, but museums are way cheaper and you can't take the objects home with you. The Costume Institute is a gem where you can coo over seaming and fabric and seriously haute couture that normal people can't and shouldn't afford; FIT currently has a denim exhibit that I am dying to go to and an upcoming Fairy Tale Fashion exhibit that I suspect is going to be CHOCK-FULL of McQueen (I desperately want to see pieces from the Spring 2002 McQueen collection up close); there are some amazing artifacts at the National Museum of the American Indian; and that's just off the top of my head.

Or if it's the joy of the hunt rather than the artistic thrill that gets you, check out geocaching: http://www.geocaching.com/seek/nearest.aspx?lat=40.704234&lng=-73.917927

Putting books on hold at the NYPL gives me a triumphant feeling when I FINALLY get my hands on them: "I have acquired the prey! I have triumphed over the hordes and now I HAVE THE THING!" But I don't have to keep the stuff and I don't have to pay money (except fines, but that's easily avoided if you can read a calendar).
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: galliver on December 08, 2015, 03:03:31 PM
Just wanted to chime in that as much as cooking at home is "sacred" around here, if someone offered me the chance to have all my breakfasts,  lunches, and snacks provided in my workplace for $7/day ($150-170/month) for high quality food, I would totally do it. I actually enjoy cooking and I would cook with abandon on weekends and for dinner, but even the most enjoyable activity becomes a drag if you HAVE to do it daily. I think this tradeoff is absolutely worth it for a single person (there's an economy of scale when you cook for even 2, let alone 4 or more). And especially worth it given the food is probably cooked relatively fresh instead of reheated. Obviously, this is dependent on price so I don't think I'd go for it if it was over ~$10/day, but $170/mo sounds like a bargain to the me that used to live and eat alone. *shrug* OP, in your shoes I would definitely focus on the shopping habit and your relationship with credit, and worry about your caf spending WAY down the line.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: celticmyst08 on December 08, 2015, 03:07:47 PM
Right now I am ITCHING to go buy another mystery box since I loved this one so much but I will NOT DO IT.  You guys are my support group right now.

Let me guess - Stichfix? I got three boxes from them when I was trying to build up my professional wardrobe. It was definitely exciting, especially because they understood my style so well and all the stuff they sent me was pretty much spot on. But - after I got what I needed, I cancelled. It was hard, especially when coworkers would talk excitedly about the boxes they just got. But now after almost a year I don't even miss it.

The first few weeks after quitting are the hardest for compulsive spending, I've found. After that, you start not to miss whatever it was. A few more months and it's a distant memory, and you wonder, "why did I blow money on THAT?"
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: snuggler on December 08, 2015, 03:18:19 PM
Just wanted to chime in that as much as cooking at home is "sacred" around here, if someone offered me the chance to have all my breakfasts,  lunches, and snacks provided in my workplace for $7/day ($150-170/month) for high quality food, I would totally do it. I actually enjoy cooking and I would cook with abandon on weekends and for dinner, but even the most enjoyable activity becomes a drag if you HAVE to do it daily. I think this tradeoff is absolutely worth it for a single person (there's an economy of scale when you cook for even 2, let alone 4 or more). And especially worth it given the food is probably cooked relatively fresh instead of reheated. Obviously, this is dependent on price so I don't think I'd go for it if it was over ~$10/day, but $170/mo sounds like a bargain to the me that used to live and eat alone. *shrug* OP, in your shoes I would definitely focus on the shopping habit and your relationship with credit, and worry about your caf spending WAY down the line.

I think it is over $10/day for her- from what I read, it is $150-170 every paycheck, and paychecks appear to be either bimonthly or every other week.

So, it is probably more like $16/day, or $8/meal. Doesn't seem like that great of a bargain to me, but then again I'm down to (after a lot of life adjustments) ~$250/month for a family of two.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: galliver on December 08, 2015, 03:29:16 PM
Just wanted to chime in that as much as cooking at home is "sacred" around here, if someone offered me the chance to have all my breakfasts,  lunches, and snacks provided in my workplace for $7/day ($150-170/month) for high quality food, I would totally do it. I actually enjoy cooking and I would cook with abandon on weekends and for dinner, but even the most enjoyable activity becomes a drag if you HAVE to do it daily. I think this tradeoff is absolutely worth it for a single person (there's an economy of scale when you cook for even 2, let alone 4 or more). And especially worth it given the food is probably cooked relatively fresh instead of reheated. Obviously, this is dependent on price so I don't think I'd go for it if it was over ~$10/day, but $170/mo sounds like a bargain to the me that used to live and eat alone. *shrug* OP, in your shoes I would definitely focus on the shopping habit and your relationship with credit, and worry about your caf spending WAY down the line.

I think it is over $10/day for her- from what I read, it is $150-170 every paycheck, and paychecks appear to be either bimonthly or every other week.

So, it is probably more like $16/day, or $8/meal. Doesn't seem like that great of a bargain to me, but then again I'm down to (after a lot of life adjustments) ~$250/month for a family of two.

You're right! My bad! I'm always secretly annoyed when people miss obvious details like that and now here I am doing it.

I would probably still postpone changing that to after dealing some with the shopping addiction since relatively speaking it's a drop in the bucket, and I'd probably start with having breakfast at home, then keeping snacks at desk, and then move on to packing lunch; breakfast is less of a logistical challenge and can be really cheap: yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, etc. (more of a price differential with cafeteria food than lunch would likely be)
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: CommonCents on December 08, 2015, 03:31:16 PM
A thousand percent unsubscribe from all of these mailing lists, particularly the sales.  It's not really a bargain if you buy things you don't need.

Do you love your clothing?  Would you miss it if it were to disappear?  Consider that if you keep buying at this rate you won't be able to wear all of the things you currently own.  You will either have to become a hoarder or get start to rid of clothes you say you love.

Homework: Tally up what you buy in a month.  Then figure out how much you have of those items, so you know how often you're wearing your clothes.

(Also consider, it takes a long time to wear out clothes.  By not overspending and filling up the closet now, you will have closet space to deliberately purchase a few carefully chosen items or accessories each year to add the current style.  If you continue to overspend you will be throwing away clothes you just told us you love, that you barely wore.  Better to keep the money in your pocket.)

ETA: If you like having new and different outfits, take on the challenge of learning how to put together your OWN different outfits shopping from your own closet, rather than wearing them in the same way over and over (and how the boxes told you to wear them).  Accessorize, layer, etc.  Watch this for ideas of how versatile your clothing can be: https://vimeo.com/11113046  She wore the same dress (technically the same 7) for 365 days without once repeating an outfit.  http://www.theuniformproject.com/
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: 2ndTimer on December 08, 2015, 04:26:13 PM
Right now I am ITCHING to go buy another mystery box since I loved this one so much but I will NOT DO IT.  You guys are my support group right now.  That makes this an excellent time to really think about what that itch is and how the mystery box will scratch it?  Once you understand what need you are filling with shopping, you can start looking for a less toxic way to fill it. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Villanelle on December 08, 2015, 06:18:53 PM
UNSUBSCRIBE to all the fashion magazines you get. Cold turkey. DO NOT OPEN. Donate them or give them away.

UNSUBSCRIBE to ALL the emails you get from shopping companies. A sale is just a trigger for your to browse. Don't let them control you this way.

BLOCK the websites from your own computer. You can do this. Pick your top 5 website where you blow money and BLOCK them. Now you can't get to them online. You have saved your sanity.

UNSUBSCRIBE from ridiculous boxes. You're buying SHIT AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT IS! Can you see how ridiculous this is? Stop feeding the addiction.

Look for shopaholics anonymous or another type of therapy to help you get this under control. It really does sound like an addiction to me. Bets of luck.

Just unsubscribed from about 50 more shopping emails.  I usually only use 4-5 shopping services though and those are particular difficult.  I ordered a mystery box on November 5, and it arrived yesterday.  It's full of awesome stuff!  I wore one thing immediately...to choir practice.  I do belong to a choir and this week have 3 rehearsals.  I'm pretty musical but dropped playing my instruments awhile ago.  I would love a piano (really dislike the sound of keyboards) and play a little...play other things too.  I do have hobbies...

I'm not sure making my own clothes would be cheaper than the ones I buy.  I don't buy high end stuff, and I am not worried about it last 10 years but with enough rotation it will.  A capsule wardrobe gets washed and worn way too often and wears out quickly.  But I DO have enough clothing now. 

Right now I am ITCHING to go buy another mystery box since I loved this one so much but I will NOT DO IT.  You guys are my support group right now.

If you aren't buying high end stuff and you supposedly don't have a massively large wardrobe, how are you spending $1500/mo?  Something doesn't add up, so I don't think you are buying honest with yourself.  At non-high end prices, that probably about 25-30 pieces *per month* (figuring $50-55 average, and that certainly isn't cheap or low end pricing). 

Go now and count how many piece of clothing are in your wardrobe.  You can skip undergarments and workout gear for now, unless you buy a lot of those as part of your Issue.  Count every shirt, blouse, dress, pant, skirt, scarf, necklace and whatever else you wear and tally by category.  Then look at those numbers.  Again, just because you occasionally wear everything doesn't mean your wardrobe isn't way, way too large. 

Then box up at least 1/3 of it, trying to keep your wardrobe balanced.  If you have 4 navy cardigans, some of which are printed, box 1 or 2 and keep 2 or 3, for example, but make sure you are boxing stuff from the current season, not just all your tank tops during the winter.  Tape the boxes shut and live like that for 4 months.  When you still have plenty to wear, sell whatever is in those boxes, and box up another 1/4 of what is left.  Repeat.

You have too many clothes.  At non-high end prices and $1500 average per month, your wardrobe is massive. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Dee18 on December 08, 2015, 08:15:53 PM
Can you sell some of those clothes and use the money toward your massive credit card debt?
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 09, 2015, 09:40:28 AM
Another good article: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/dec/09/green-christmas-without-being-a-grinch
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: zephyr911 on December 09, 2015, 10:13:56 AM
Online impulse buying used to kill me too. I find it helps to unsubscribe from all the marketing emails, one at a time, as they are crafted for the sole purpose of making you want to shop! The less you look at the site(s), the less you'll buy, most likely.

I also gradually shifted toward almost 100% thrift-store shopping. Try that... and then start cutting down your volume. Make yourself give something away for everything you buy, one for one, or even two for one.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Altons Bobs on December 09, 2015, 10:38:25 AM
The question you have to ask yourself is, do you enjoy buying clothes more or enjoy being in debt more?  Or do you enjoy not being in debt more than having a ton of clothes?

Also, I can absorb all your credit card debt, and I will only charge you 12% annual compounding interest.  :-D
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Exflyboy on December 09, 2015, 11:05:31 AM
The question you have to ask yourself is, do you enjoy buying clothes more or enjoy being in debt more?  Or do you enjoy not being in debt more than having a ton of clothes?

Also, I can absorb all your credit card debt, and I will only charge you 12% annual compounding interest.  :-D

It is interesting a number of us have offered mental tricks to the OP to help re-wire her thinking..

Do you enjoy being in debt more than buying clothes, Or take 261 one dollar bills each month and BURN them, because that's what the interest is doing to you etc.

What is sad to me is not so much that people get themselves into these situations.. Most of them don't care, and to be honest I don't care either.. In fact it does us with stock portfolios a lot of good.. More debt = more money spent= higher stock values + dividends.. Great go spend all you want!

No whats really sad from my perspective is the OP now KNOWS what she is doing "wrong" and appears to be in the NEED for the mind tricks.

This strikes me as a mild form of mental illness, like any addiction.

I mean we know she can't afford to keep dong this so just STOP SPENDING MONEY ON USELESS CRAP.. crap that is HURTING you.. literally! If she was of sound mind, she would JFDI.

Maybe this says more about the power of advertising in our culture?.. Power to negatively alter our brains!
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: JAYSLOL on December 09, 2015, 11:08:25 AM
It's a good sign that you have the guts to post a plea for advice here, I'm sure you've noticed how blunt many MMM forumers can be.  You also seem to have a good attitude about making a positive switch, cutting up credit cards etc.  This need for a positive change you feel tells me that you feel stressed and sometimes helpless because of the financial habits that have worked their way into your lifestyle.  Making a change won't be easy, but remember that you are in a better position than many others with debt/spending problems.  Your salary is more than twice my household income for instance.  You have the power to make very drastic changes to your finances and ultimately your freedom and most importantly your overall happiness. 

- Start with cutting up your credit cards (yes, even the best buy one)
- Pay Credit cards off and live cash only for a while
- then max your 401 and put everything else towards student loans
- if you really need a "fix"/some motivation, give yourself $100-$200 (cash) gift for clothing as a reward for paying off the credit cards. ( After they are paid off! )
- Make sure to read all the MMM posts, even more than once if they apply strongly to your situation.
- The best way to avoid unessisary spending is to change your focus from wanting things to doing productive (and inexpensive) hobbies and activities like fitness, volunteering, side-hustles that earn money, being creative (designing or creating something) or just spending time rather than money with friends/family.  Who has time or cares about shopping for clothes online after a day like that?

Good luck
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: galliver on December 09, 2015, 11:22:37 AM
The question you have to ask yourself is, do you enjoy buying clothes more or enjoy being in debt more?  Or do you enjoy not being in debt more than having a ton of clothes?

Also, I can absorb all your credit card debt, and I will only charge you 12% annual compounding interest.  :-D

It is interesting a number of us have offered mental tricks to the OP to help re-wire her thinking..

Do you enjoy being in debt more than buying clothes, Or take 261 one dollar bills each month and BURN them, because that's what the interest is doing to you etc.

What is sad to me is not so much that people get themselves into these situations.. Most of them don't care, and to be honest I don't care either.. In fact it does us with stock portfolios a lot of good.. More debt = more money spent= higher stock values + dividends.. Great go spend all you want!

No whats really sad from my perspective is the OP now KNOWS what she is doing "wrong" and appears to be in the NEED for the mind tricks.

This strikes me as a mild form of mental illness, like any addiction.

I mean we know she can't afford to keep dong this so just STOP SPENDING MONEY ON USELESS CRAP.. crap that is HURTING you.. literally! If she was of sound mind, she would JFDI.

Maybe this says more about the power of advertising in our culture?.. Power to negatively alter our brains!
Wow...Have you never had a bad habit that was hard to break, or pattern you got into that was hard to change? Can you honestly say you make every choice in your life consciously and 100% logically, without ever using a trick or incentive to change your behavior?

Everyone has their own demons. For some it's money, for others it's diet and/or fitness, for some it's drugs, for some it's work, timeliness, and general responsibility, and for some it's social skills and not being a jerk.

If you have absolutely NO issues, you eat well, work out, keep a bedtime, call your mom and/or grandma and/or best friend regularly, recycle, etc then welcome to Earth, oh Angel!
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: horsepoor on December 09, 2015, 11:34:01 AM
OP, you might find it helpful to start a journal in the Journals section here.  There are other journalers who are tackling big debts, and it might be inspiring and supportive for you to follow them as well.  I recommend you check it out.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: matchewed on December 09, 2015, 11:34:36 AM
(Warning- the following is completely un-mustachian)

Have you looked into clothing rental boxes? They give you all of the thrill of the mystery box, but for only about $50/ month. I have a job where I am expected to look professional and neat for frequent outside meetings. Instead of buying a large wardrobe of clothes so that I can make sure I don't wear the same dress every time I see a client or do a presentation, I just started renting the clothes instead.

Of course, you can keep the clothes and the company charges you for them. If you think that would be a temptation, do not do a clothing rental box. You can also schedule clothes to be resent, so you aren't saying goodbye to them forever when you send them back.

Yeah the OP has, that's part of their problem. FACEPUNCH
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Exflyboy on December 09, 2015, 11:52:10 AM
The question you have to ask yourself is, do you enjoy buying clothes more or enjoy being in debt more?  Or do you enjoy not being in debt more than having a ton of clothes?

Also, I can absorb all your credit card debt, and I will only charge you 12% annual compounding interest.  :-D

It is interesting a number of us have offered mental tricks to the OP to help re-wire her thinking..

Do you enjoy being in debt more than buying clothes, Or take 261 one dollar bills each month and BURN them, because that's what the interest is doing to you etc.

What is sad to me is not so much that people get themselves into these situations.. Most of them don't care, and to be honest I don't care either.. In fact it does us with stock portfolios a lot of good.. More debt = more money spent= higher stock values + dividends.. Great go spend all you want!

No whats really sad from my perspective is the OP now KNOWS what she is doing "wrong" and appears to be in the NEED for the mind tricks.

This strikes me as a mild form of mental illness, like any addiction.

I mean we know she can't afford to keep dong this so just STOP SPENDING MONEY ON USELESS CRAP.. crap that is HURTING you.. literally! If she was of sound mind, she would JFDI.

Maybe this says more about the power of advertising in our culture?.. Power to negatively alter our brains!
Wow...Have you never had a bad habit that was hard to break, or pattern you got into that was hard to change? Can you honestly say you make every choice in your life consciously and 100% logically, without ever using a trick or incentive to change your behavior?

Everyone has their own demons. For some it's money, for others it's diet and/or fitness, for some it's drugs, for some it's work, timeliness, and general responsibility, and for some it's social skills and not being a jerk.

If you have absolutely NO issues, you eat well, work out, keep a bedtime, call your mom and/or grandma and/or best friend regularly, recycle, etc then welcome to Earth, oh Angel!

My post wasn't meant so much as a criticism (although I'm wracking my brain for a habit I found hard to break.. apart from maybe being a jerk..:)..), more from a brain science perspective I suppose. The brain releases dopamine (feel good hormone) in response to doing things that "feel" good.

In this case shopping for clothes has been wired into the dopamine releasing circuit. We know that the brain can literally be "hard" wired to do this and that's why the habit is hard to break.

In other words you either need to find something else to release some dopamine, and if that something else is counter to the shopping then its doubly effective.. So in my case seeing my account balance rise is a feel good.. Of course that is completely counter to spending money.

Addicts of all stripes do the same thing of course, alcoholics want a relationship with their family and all that comes with it.. well that's counter to drinking.

I just think its interesting that advertising has probably keyed into this ability of the human brain's ability to re-wire itself (I mean literally that's what it does according to brain scientists) and hence we have young people starving themselves to look like supermodels.. Taken too far of course anorexics starve themselves to death.

I wonder for the OP, seeing this in an "anatomical way" might help?.. Its not YOU baby its your BRAIN!!

Hmm, maybe not..:)
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: horsepoor on December 09, 2015, 12:08:13 PM
(Warning- the following is completely un-mustachian)

Have you looked into clothing rental boxes? They give you all of the thrill of the mystery box, but for only about $50/ month. I have a job where I am expected to look professional and neat for frequent outside meetings. Instead of buying a large wardrobe of clothes so that I can make sure I don't wear the same dress every time I see a client or do a presentation, I just started renting the clothes instead.

Of course, you can keep the clothes and the company charges you for them. If you think that would be a temptation, do not do a clothing rental box. You can also schedule clothes to be resent, so you aren't saying goodbye to them forever when you send them back.

Yeah the OP has, that's part of their problem. FACEPUNCH

Post seems to be deleted now, but this is about the equivalent of telling an alcoholic to just get a couple little airplane bottles and having a taste.  Seriously, cut the cord, you'll feel better.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Villanelle on December 09, 2015, 12:13:32 PM
I've said it before in this thread and I'll say it again. I think a one in, one out policy would be hugely helpful, OP.  You say you love and wear everything in your massive closet.  So force yourself in to Sophie's Fashion Choice.  Buying a new sweater (or ordering a new box) will mean you have to pick an item you love and wear and that is still 100% wearable, and sell it (and yes, you need to sell it, even if it takes effort, not just donate it).  And yes, you must do it immediately, before you gut the tags off the new item, no exceptions. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: galliver on December 09, 2015, 12:33:57 PM
The question you have to ask yourself is, do you enjoy buying clothes more or enjoy being in debt more?  Or do you enjoy not being in debt more than having a ton of clothes?

Also, I can absorb all your credit card debt, and I will only charge you 12% annual compounding interest.  :-D

It is interesting a number of us have offered mental tricks to the OP to help re-wire her thinking..

Do you enjoy being in debt more than buying clothes, Or take 261 one dollar bills each month and BURN them, because that's what the interest is doing to you etc.

What is sad to me is not so much that people get themselves into these situations.. Most of them don't care, and to be honest I don't care either.. In fact it does us with stock portfolios a lot of good.. More debt = more money spent= higher stock values + dividends.. Great go spend all you want!

No whats really sad from my perspective is the OP now KNOWS what she is doing "wrong" and appears to be in the NEED for the mind tricks.

This strikes me as a mild form of mental illness, like any addiction.

I mean we know she can't afford to keep dong this so just STOP SPENDING MONEY ON USELESS CRAP.. crap that is HURTING you.. literally! If she was of sound mind, she would JFDI.

Maybe this says more about the power of advertising in our culture?.. Power to negatively alter our brains!
Wow...Have you never had a bad habit that was hard to break, or pattern you got into that was hard to change? Can you honestly say you make every choice in your life consciously and 100% logically, without ever using a trick or incentive to change your behavior?

Everyone has their own demons. For some it's money, for others it's diet and/or fitness, for some it's drugs, for some it's work, timeliness, and general responsibility, and for some it's social skills and not being a jerk.

If you have absolutely NO issues, you eat well, work out, keep a bedtime, call your mom and/or grandma and/or best friend regularly, recycle, etc then welcome to Earth, oh Angel!

My post wasn't meant so much as a criticism (although I'm wracking my brain for a habit I found hard to break.. apart from maybe being a jerk..:)..), more from a brain science perspective I suppose. The brain releases dopamine (feel good hormone) in response to doing things that "feel" good.

In this case shopping for clothes has been wired into the dopamine releasing circuit. We know that the brain can literally be "hard" wired to do this and that's why the habit is hard to break.

In other words you either need to find something else to release some dopamine, and if that something else is counter to the shopping then its doubly effective.. So in my case seeing my account balance rise is a feel good.. Of course that is completely counter to spending money.

Addicts of all stripes do the same thing of course, alcoholics want a relationship with their family and all that comes with it.. well that's counter to drinking.

I just think its interesting that advertising has probably keyed into this ability of the human brain's ability to re-wire itself (I mean literally that's what it does according to brain scientists) and hence we have young people starving themselves to look like supermodels.. Taken too far of course anorexics starve themselves to death.

I wonder for the OP, seeing this in an "anatomical way" might help?.. Its not YOU baby its your BRAIN!!

Hmm, maybe not..:)

When you elaborate on it that way it sounds much less judgmental :) And for the record, I never did call you a jerk, I just said SOME people were jerks, like some people are fat (like me), and other people are always late. There are many good things about me (I'm told...), and the people I know who are chronically running late are generally good people overall, and the people who are jerks are probably great at their job and taking care of themselves or something. We're just all flawed, silly humans.

For the record, addiction to the "accounts going up" feeling can also be detrimental, when it drives someone to become cheap rather than frugal (which is one of my all-time favorite MMM posts, linked solely for convenience of anyone reading who isn't familiar with it http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/10/24/frugal-vs-cheap/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/10/24/frugal-vs-cheap/)). Not saying you're cheap. Just saying your dopamine-releasing behavior also has the potential for detrimental effects. The real trick with any activity/hobby is to keep it in balance.

Admittedly, some activities/hobbies lend themselves more to overspending than others, but it's possible to overspend on virtually anything: you can buy a lot of expensive, high-end kitchen equipment and ingredients. People on this forum spend a lot on sports equipment(/bikes), race entry fees, classic cars, horses, travel, flying as a hobby, etc. Quality art supplies, musical instruments, yarn and fabric, power tools, etc are also costly, although DIY is highly encouraged here. The real unifying features in these hobbies are (1) when accepted, they are well within the doers means, and if they delay FI/FIRE it's willingly and knowingly; (2) the doers are active, creative participants rather than collectors (working on cars vs collecting high end models, cooking vs just going to fancy restaurants and bars, painting/sculpting/crafting instead of just purchasing those products, etc); and (3) the doers genuinely derive personal satisfaction and pleasure from it. And as an afterthought (4) bonus points for the skill being marketable as a side gig down the line (mechanic skills, flying, sewing, carpentry, etc) or improving health in some way (cooking, sports).  As such, I think fashion can totally fit in this worldview as an aesthetic and artistic pursuit and a hobby without much of a problem...but the OP needs to bring it within the parameters of (1), (2) and preferably (4) (I liked the personal shopper idea suggested above as a possible outlet) to take it out of the realm of passive/consumerist "collecting" and into actually engaging with it as an artist...
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: zinethstache on December 09, 2015, 01:53:13 PM
Wow, what a great thread. Love all the advice. This topic really resonates with me. I totally empathize with you in your compulsion to shop for clothes. Your shopping habits mimic mine from a few years back. Most of the advice read here I had to implement to overcome this horrible habit. I've spent three years working on spending. I make north of your income by quite a bit, I am married and we have rentals that DH handles so we have another big chunk of income there. THEN to top it all off, I also run multiple side gigs earning good money from those. I have NO debt but 4 mortgages. I did not have a hair on fire emergency as in your situation but the wastefulness of my spending was just so out of control.

So, in a nutshell, this horrible habit of mine had to stop. I had to get into my head, like really, really understand that by spending oh 2k a month on "stuff", it could be clothing, horse equipment whatever was NOT helping me meet my FI goal at all! If I really thought I was ever going to be able to retire on a conservative fixed income I needed to cut the spending cord. (I realize that is not your goal, but for each of us the reason to STOP is our own)

Each year after finding MMM I would join the "Buy no new clothes in xxxx year" - I want you to STRONGLY consider making a serious go at that. You can set your exclusions to things like undergarments etc. I FINALLY after three years am going to (just about) make this goal.

I have SOOOO many nice clothes, there is absolutely no reason for me to have more. I did not need to cut up my CCs, but did unsubscribe to EVERY SINGLE horse, clothing, jewelry, newsletter, sales emails etc. I just cannot see them at all, I cannot go to the websites or I will fail. I know it.

So, as part of my process to throttle back, and perhaps in your case you can use it to ramp back up, slowly. In 2013 I shopped at ebay. As a seller, I needed to get my ranking high, as high as possible to encourage buyers to choose my products over others. I used this as my logic to continue to buy vast amounts of things. Because I am a seller, I did allow spending what money i'd earned (akin to your idea of dog walking) I would buy a name brand sweater for $8 total and it would be a $60 value surprise in the mail. I still felt like I was over spending, even doing that - that was two years ago. I did finally get my ebay account to my goal. Whew. I am very goal oriented, money has never been an issue, it is still a matter of when is too much, too much! At that point I was able to buckle down and halt all of that.

Another curse I had to deal with is 30 years worth of clothes. I cannot imagine your closet! I don't typically wear my clothes out and I haven't gained much weight over the years so our entire walk-in closet was FILLED with my clothes. As phase 2 of no clothing shopping. I purged that closet and boy did that feel awesome. How can one person even think that they can wear 60 pairs of jeans? Really? I donated 12 hefty bags of perfectly good clothes that I could easily have listed on ebay (just thinking of the work that would have been gives me a headache). Instead I donated to a local horse club who got credit for the clothing to get cash back for a year end saddle. All that clothing was then in turn donated to local charities, so it was a double win.

So, How have I done this year on my "almost" buying NO clothing for the entire year? I have bought only one single clothing item. period. It was a Columbia fleece jacket at a company sponsored baseball game and I had $20 in reward tickets. I could not bring myself to buy food, what a waste that would have been. so I bought a $60 jacket for $40. It was something missing from my wardrobe and I don't regret it.

I've given up alot the last few years, but not because of money, I suffered a major back injury so I need to pop that in here. It was serious and very scary and that injury helped propel me to dive into finances. At one point I wondered if I would be forced to go on Disability and that terrified me. 

As a result of all the changes in my life in the last three years as well as me and my DH diligently focusing on becoming FI. We are now looking at my RE date in January 2017. January 2016 (yes less than a month from now) We will begin to LIVE on our rental income. My income is going to be socked away for one last rental, and a couple of other life changing purchases that will propel us in to RE.

Without overcoming a severe spending habit, FI would not have been so close on my horizon. The strange thing is to non-MMM folks my spending is/was the norm.

I hope you do start a journal, and join the "buy no new clothes in 2016" thread when it starts.

You CAN AND WILL do this! I cannot wait to see your CC debt at 0!
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: partgypsy on December 09, 2015, 02:21:06 PM
Just so you don't think everyone face punches here, I had a similar thing with feathering my nest, my house. Probably the most extravagant thing was a leather couch and ottoman, and 2nd a new mattress (around 500). But this extended to kitchen towels, rugs, and especially bed linens! (my gazingus pin).  I used to love looking at the catalogs of sheets and blankets and coverlets. At some point I realized, I have all the sheets and blankets I need for at least the next 10 years! why am I looking at this stuff? Ditto for house furnishings and other house stuff. So I unsubscribed to the emails and the catalogs. although I still like to watch Hgtv shows (fixer upper is my favorite) strangely enough I don't miss them, and every once in a while I will get an occasional house furnishings catalog they are just not that compelling. Which makes me wonder, what was that all about? I am definitely not perfect (see Xmas thread) but maybe I am learning.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 10, 2015, 01:14:35 PM
I've said it before in this thread and I'll say it again. I think a one in, one out policy would be hugely helpful, OP.  You say you love and wear everything in your massive closet.  So force yourself in to Sophie's Fashion Choice.  Buying a new sweater (or ordering a new box) will mean you have to pick an item you love and wear and that is still 100% wearable, and sell it (and yes, you need to sell it, even if it takes effort, not just donate it).  And yes, you must do it immediately, before you gut the tags off the new item, no exceptions.

I think I am going to do a version of this.  I have a PayPal account and I can use that to do my ordering most of the time.  I think I am going to start a policy where all of my regular salary goes to my bills/paying off debt and any fun money spending, I need to sell something and have them pay me with PayPal and then use that for any additional clothing purchases.  That way my current clothing is paying for my new clothing.  I know that this is a modified version of what everyone else is calling for but I am not ready for give it up entirely.  It might motivate me to sell things or earn extra on the side.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: matchewed on December 10, 2015, 01:21:01 PM
From a habit standpoint all that is doing is ensuring that you continue the habit while eliminating debt. What happens after you eliminate debt? At some point you'll have to tackle the habit or you fall right into the same trap.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: mm1970 on December 10, 2015, 01:32:02 PM
To be more specific, my shopping problem is these online "subscription boxes" where you either get a mystery box of clothing or you choose 1-2 items and they surprise you with the rest.  Everything is on trend and fits.  It's part clothes shopping/part surprise/and part gift.  It's incredibly addictive.  If you want to invest in something invest in that!  I have an app idea for this industry percolating.
Yes, and this is excessive.  I have been reading about these sites for awhile, on some blogs.

Stitch fix, the fitness one (shoot...Fabletics?)

Anyway, while there is a certain amount of satisfaction with "looking good", you have to step back and ask yourself WHY YOU NEED A NEW OUTFIT EVERY MONTH.  Do you "wear out" an outfit every month?  No.

Like Fabletics, for example, because I like fitness wear.  When I'm not hacking up a lung, I like to work out.  I swim 2x a week, walk with my friend on the weekend, and workout at home the other days (yoga, weights, cardio, whatever).  If I sweat (and I do), then at a minimum I need 4 sets of workout gear a week - two days are swimming, I usually take a rest day, so that leaves 4 days.  That's 3 leggings/ one shorts, and 4 shirts.  In a year, why would I need 12 new sets?

I understand that you "need" dressy clothing, and workout clothing, and work clothing, but...
You need 5 outfits for work if you have a regular job
You need 5-7 sets of workout gear if you only do laundry 1x a week
You could probably be fine with 2-3 "nice" items to go out with friends, and 1-2 "fancy" for other things.
(I have one dress for parties and one pair of heels.  I have one dress that works for weddings.  I have one pair of nice slacks for interviews or nights out with friends.  And I have three pretty blouses that go with those slacks.)

"I get bored" with wearing the same thing is a LAME ASS excuse, and the faster you get over this, the better.  How incredibly wasteful for the world's resources to replace things because you are "bored".  You know most discarded clothing becomes trash, right?  We all talk about "recycling" and giving it to other countries who need it, but the amount that gets thrown away FAR exceeds the amount that the "underprivileged" need.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Villanelle on December 10, 2015, 04:27:58 PM
I've said it before in this thread and I'll say it again. I think a one in, one out policy would be hugely helpful, OP.  You say you love and wear everything in your massive closet.  So force yourself in to Sophie's Fashion Choice.  Buying a new sweater (or ordering a new box) will mean you have to pick an item you love and wear and that is still 100% wearable, and sell it (and yes, you need to sell it, even if it takes effort, not just donate it).  And yes, you must do it immediately, before you gut the tags off the new item, no exceptions.

I think I am going to do a version of this.  I have a PayPal account and I can use that to do my ordering most of the time.  I think I am going to start a policy where all of my regular salary goes to my bills/paying off debt and any fun money spending, I need to sell something and have them pay me with PayPal and then use that for any additional clothing purchases.  That way my current clothing is paying for my new clothing.  I know that this is a modified version of what everyone else is calling for but I am not ready for give it up entirely.  It might motivate me to sell things or earn extra on the side.

Perhaps you could make it more aggressive.  Until you hit a certain debt pay of goal, 1/2 (or 1/3) of the money you make selling clothes or on side hustles goes back to debt.  The other portion can be your fun money.

Also, again I encourage you to count your closet, and look at those numbers and realize how extreme and unneccesary they are.  Before you start one in, one out (OI OO), you should get to a reasonable level (by selling stuff).  *Then* work on OI OO.  OI OO is still obscene if it is supporting a ridiculously large wardrobe.  Again, with the numbers you gave us, you are probably buying 360 pieces a year ($50 per piece, $1500/mo).  Even if starting with nothing, that's a giant wardrobe!  So make paring down your first goal, and THEN do OI OO.

I get it.  I like fashion.  I enjoy clothes and putting together outfits is a creative outlet for me.  I surely have more clothes than most posters here.  But you are currently out of control.  You need to rein it in, not only for the sake of getting ride of the current debt, but also so that you can comfortably abstain in the future.  If you allow yourself a 400+ item closet, you aren't really solving the root problem.  OI OO might help a bit, but you are still way OTT. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 11, 2015, 03:46:22 PM
Unfortunately I had a setback and bought a mystery box today. It was 40% off :/  Today starts the 12 days of breaking my habit.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: pbkmaine on December 11, 2015, 03:54:14 PM
This is why it is best to unsubscribe.


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Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on December 11, 2015, 04:24:43 PM
Unfortunately I had a setback and bought a mystery box today. It was 40% off :/  Today starts the 12 days of breaking my habit.

Can you cancel the order still? Easily possible that you could.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Exflyboy on December 11, 2015, 04:28:51 PM
Unfortunately I had a setback and bought a mystery box today. It was 40% off :/  Today starts the 12 days of breaking my habit.

Seriously?... WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?????... How many posts have been written about this and you aknowledge your in deep shit and you simply go out and do it again?

Well done, you have just shoveled out another spade full of dirt from the bottom of the hole you have dug yourself!

Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: 2ndTimer on December 11, 2015, 04:45:01 PM
Unfortunately I had a setback and bought a mystery box today. It was 40% off :/  Today starts the 12 days of breaking my habit.

That's it.  I'm done.  You are too stupid to save.

MOD NOTE: Forum Rule #1.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: monstermonster on December 11, 2015, 04:49:48 PM
Unfortunately I had a setback and bought a mystery box today. It was 40% off :/  Today starts the 12 days of breaking my habit.

That's it.  I'm done.  You are too stupid to save.

Have you considered going to a Shopaholics Anonymous meeting? This really does seem like its in addiction territory. Here's a link to some of their resources: http://www.shopaholicsanonymous.org/

Here's there test for shopaholic ness, for which individuals answer on a 7-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree:

My closet has unopened shopping bags in it.
Others might consider me a "shopaholic."
Much of my life centers around buying things.
I buy things I dont need.
I buy things I did not plan to buy.
I consider myself an impulse purchaser.

If you score over 25, you qualify as a shopaholic.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Orvell on December 11, 2015, 05:28:04 PM
I've said it before in this thread and I'll say it again. I think a one in, one out policy would be hugely helpful, OP.  You say you love and wear everything in your massive closet.  So force yourself in to Sophie's Fashion Choice.  Buying a new sweater (or ordering a new box) will mean you have to pick an item you love and wear and that is still 100% wearable, and sell it (and yes, you need to sell it, even if it takes effort, not just donate it).  And yes, you must do it immediately, before you gut the tags off the new item, no exceptions.

I think I am going to do a version of this.  I have a PayPal account and I can use that to do my ordering most of the time.  I think I am going to start a policy where all of my regular salary goes to my bills/paying off debt and any fun money spending, I need to sell something and have them pay me with PayPal and then use that for any additional clothing purchases.  That way my current clothing is paying for my new clothing.  I know that this is a modified version of what everyone else is calling for but I am not ready for give it up entirely.  It might motivate me to sell things or earn extra on the side.

Okay, I've read this entire thread, and it's fascinating. Part of the fascination is the extreme to which you've taken this. And the other part of the fascination is to the extreme to which you've taken excusing your choices and mitigating any good decisions you keep trying to make. You are actively sabotaging yourself.

Daisyedwards800, you are a person. You can stop this. You are literally the only person who can.

My brother is an alcoholic. I binge eat sometimes. You shop to excess. These are all addictions, and I don't mean that in a fluffy way, I mean that in a real, brain disordered way. You need to stop. And the only way to do it, seriously and I mean this, is to do it cold turkey.

Take the Shop-Anon advice seriously and reach out. You can't change if you don't actually change.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Villanelle on December 11, 2015, 05:31:06 PM
Look, are you done with this, or not?

It's as simple as that.  The reason I keep suggesting very specific things, like setting a tiny budget, OI OO, having debt payment goals get get you very specific "rewards" is because "I'll just buy less" is never, ever going to work.  You need rules, and you need to go in to this knowing 100% that you will follow those rules.  Don't give yourself a choice, don't say you'll "try" or that you'll "probably" do better.  Decide to do it, with "it" being very specifically defined so you can't rationalize your way around it, and then do it.

Or not.

A good start would be returning the box, even if you lose the "stylist fee" or whatever they charge.  Those are sunk costs (unless you can still cancel, which you should try to do immediately) and keeping shit you don't need only adds to the waste.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: matchewed on December 12, 2015, 06:48:49 AM
We all have setbacks. Move on and try not to do it again.




Unfortunately I had a setback and bought a mystery box today. It was 40% off :/  Today starts the 12 days of breaking my habit.

That's it.  I'm done.  You are too stupid to save.

Forum rule #1 dude.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Tjat on December 12, 2015, 07:06:48 AM
Why do you feel like you have this need to constantly purchase useless clothes? Is it to impress others? Because there's a sale? Because you don't like what you look like underneath?

Answering this question will help you stop. In the meantime, how did you even notice this latest box was 40% off? Strangely math doesn't apply here - 40% off something that is a 100% waste of money is still 100% wasted. Telling yourself it makes you happy is a symptom of your addiction - you sound far from happy. I also suggest that you disconnect your paypal account from your bank account/credit cards. This is way to easy for you to slip - if you have to goto the trouble of typing it in each time, it should be a useful deterrent.

As far as your spending - you are in a hair on fire debt emergency that your high income is a crutch for. 25% interest rates is really absurd. I suggest the following

1. Immediately consolidate all credit card debt on lendingclub.com. Get the shortest loan you can afford the payments for
2. Reduce your 401k savings to just maximize your company match and divert it automatically to your credit card payments.
3. Read Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" (I don't follow his advice, but I also don't need it. You need it or something similar)
4. As soon as your debt-free, increase your 401k
5. Consider therapy at some point in this process. I think you realize you aren't being objective at times, and there's only so much a online forum can help you with.

Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Hadilly on December 12, 2015, 08:08:50 AM
You might consider looking at the recovering shopaholic blog. Lots of good writing on the topic of compulsive shopping. There is also an associated Facebook group.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: pbkmaine on December 13, 2015, 07:36:05 PM
We can't help you if you are not willing to help yourself. You have to really want this, and you have to take action. You have gotten some good advice here. Do or do not. There is no try.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 14, 2015, 08:45:54 AM
Just wanted to say that, for me, part of resolving to not do something usually means a process whereby--whoops--I do it. Keep resolving, keep doing it less, keep digging into the 'why', keep forcing yourself to see that your debt isn't sustainable, and that there are better uses for your money than more stuff you don't need. It is not about being stupid, it's about re-wiring, which takes time and is hard. PM me if you want to put me in your phone as a sponsor-style contact when you are feeling like spending.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Mmm_Donuts on December 14, 2015, 11:46:45 AM
Just wanted to say that, for me, part of resolving to not do something usually means a process whereby--whoops--I do it. Keep resolving, keep doing it less, keep digging into the 'why', keep forcing yourself to see that your debt isn't sustainable, and that there are better uses for your money than more stuff you don't need. It is not about being stupid, it's about re-wiring, which takes time and is hard. PM me if you want to put me in your phone as a sponsor-style contact when you are feeling like spending.

This is a great response. OP came here for support... It's a common problem and there are bound to be slip ups. Don't be too hard on yourself op! You can do this. Don't be afraid to ask for help in your immediate circle as well. Or via a support group.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Kaspian on December 14, 2015, 12:02:31 PM
Just wanted to say that, for me, part of resolving to not do something usually means a process whereby--whoops--I do it. Keep resolving, keep doing it less, keep digging into the 'why', keep forcing yourself to see that your debt isn't sustainable, and that there are better uses for your money than more stuff you don't need. It is not about being stupid, it's about re-wiring, which takes time and is hard. PM me if you want to put me in your phone as a sponsor-style contact when you are feeling like spending.

This is a great response. OP came here for support... It's a common problem and there are bound to be slip ups. Don't be too hard on yourself op! You can do this. Don't be afraid to ask for help in your immediate circle as well. Or via a support group.

I'm not sure this is the right web site for an overspending support group?  People here like to liberally dole out Facepunches for not re-using Ziploc bags for God sakes.  (And I like that!)

I think the OP maybe buys something, feels guilt, comes here looking for forgiveness?  The same way gamblers will confess their losses (always minimizing the actual damage) to friends or anyone who'll listen?  None of us can give absolution I'm afraid. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: lhamo on December 14, 2015, 12:44:16 PM
You are addicted to spending money.  It is going to be a hard thing to break.  Even if you manage to stop buying clothes, you may find you switch to buying other things to fill that need you have for an externally-generated dopamine rush.

Strongly suggest you go to the library and check out the book "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts."  It is by a doctor who worked with addicts in Vancouver, and he explores his own addictions (to buying classical music CDs, and to professional success) as he explores the nature/outcome of addiction in his clients.

Get it from the library -- you don't need to buy it.  You need to start practicing how to do things/get things that bring value to your life without spending money.



Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: galliver on December 14, 2015, 02:05:23 PM
This crossed my facebook feed and I wondered if it would help the OP:

(https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/11214309_932888176766373_3483414399818207345_n.jpg?oh=cc117fb41d0a7a46b716a2e8b9ed273e&oe=56D42294)
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: honeybbq on December 14, 2015, 03:32:25 PM
Unfortunately I had a setback and bought a mystery box today. It was 40% off :/  Today starts the 12 days of breaking my habit.

You spent money and YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW ON WHAT!


Read it over and over and over until you see how ridiculous this is.


YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU SPENT YOUR MONEY ON.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Villanelle on December 14, 2015, 03:46:40 PM
Maybe you need a smaller, more immediate strategy.  Next time you want to buy a box or shop online, have a specific plan for exactly what you will do instead.  Go for a walk, color a page in a coloring book for adults (which seem to be all the rage right now for stress and boredom relief, but don't spend a lot of money on the book or supplies), play an online chess game, d a free online yoga class, or whatever interest you.  Set that as your shopping replacement and as soon as you feel temptation, do the new thing instead.  Every time, as often as needed. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: beeth_oven on December 14, 2015, 07:31:44 PM
I live in NYC and like clothes, too. First of all, some positives: you've got a great salary and are doing well in the 401k department, so you know how automating your savings is a big win.

For the clothes, can you apply some systems? I didn't like how I was tracking on clothes spending (like, I buy $400 sneakers) so I made some changes that might work for you:

-Like others said, unsubscribe from every sales email. EVERY ONE. I did this, but left myself subscribed to a few. And guess what? I tripped up when the few I still subscribed to sent me sales emails. If you don't know about the sale, you won't be tempted to buy. Easy as that.
-If you like your clothes already, then why are you still shopping? When shopping, focus only on what you need. Do an inventory on your closet and figure out the gaps. Then only shop for those items.
-If you trip up on the one above and find yourself wanting to buy a duplicate, do the one in, out out policy. Sell the old item and use the proceeds to buy new things. I do a periodic purge of my closet and sell things on ebay or consignment shops. However, this only works if you're buying high-value stuff that people want. If it's cheap fast fashion then it's basically a sunk cost.
-Buy gently used items on ebay or consignment shops. Say you get a designer sweater for $30. Wear it a few times, then you can resell it for the exact price you paid for it, or even more. I do this with dresses because I wear them so infrequently. Remember that clothes lose their value the second you wear them. If you're buying a lot of clothes, make sure you can at least reclaim some value from them.

Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: With This Herring on December 14, 2015, 10:20:42 PM
I think you need to cancel your credit cards now.  You're done.  You need to remove your ability to use them.  You know that the impulse to buy is too strong; remove your means of doing so.

Unsubscribe all shopping-related emails.  Those that can't be unsubscribed, set to go to your spam folder.

For perspective:
I like looking nice and wearing pretty dresses.  I haven't bought any clothing (except new underpants) since probably last December.  These things can go together.  You are an adult; you are not getting taller anymore, so the clothes you have will fit you until they are worn out or unless your weight swings.

So, your instructions:
- Cancel all credit cards.
- Until all debt over 4% is paid off, cut 401(k) contributions to whatever it takes to get any employer match.
- Pay minimums on all CCs and student loan debt.  Then with all extra money:
  + First, put it toward the CC with the highest rate.  Once that is paid off...
  + Put it to the CC with the next-highest rate.  After all CCs are paid off...
  + Put it to student loans to pay off that 6.7% loan.  Once that is gone...
  + Start maxing out your 401(k) again and put extra money toward killing off first the variable interest rate loan and then the remaining lower-interest student loan.  Max out your HSA as well.  It is a great way to minimize taxes, and it looks like your contribution is short of the max.  Build up more non-401(k) savings.  You need a cushion in case something goes wrong with your job (and taking a 401(k) withdrawal is not the right solution).  $2500 is less than two months' rent for you, so you would be in trouble quickly if your employer went Enron.
- Cook yourself supper, and stop relying on the cafeteria and restaurants.  You can slowly build a repertoire of recipes that taste great and can carry over to multiple meals.  Try www.budgetbytes.com (http://www.budgetbytes.com) .
- Start filling your time with library trips and reading the many good self-help books that the other posters recommend.
- Check out the addiction groups that other posters have recommended.
- Start REALLY tracking your money.  This is important.  You may find a lot more holes it your spending than you thought.  Many posters here like Mint.com (http://Mint.com) and https://www.youneedabudget.com/ (https://www.youneedabudget.com/).  I like my Excel spreadsheet.
- Figure out what is missing in your life.  (Again, agree with other posters.)  My guess (based on very little info):  You are lonely.  You mention that you don't go out that often.  I'm wondering if you mean you don't go out at all (just to friends' apartments to hang out or anything) except for the $60 outings once or twice a month.  You don't mention an SO or roomie or friends or family members criticizing your collection and habits.

It's scary how closely your post and thought-processes seem to mirror the main character of the chick-lit novel "Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella.  It was uncomfortable to read it and see the main character make all the wrong choices.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: 2ndTimer on December 15, 2015, 08:18:09 AM
Unfortunately I had a setback and bought a mystery box today. It was 40% off :/  Today starts the 12 days of breaking my habit.

That's it.  I'm done.  You are too stupid to save.

MOD NOTE: Forum Rule #1.

You are right.  I apologize.  I was trying to shock OP into realizing that her behavior was not rational and went too far.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: therethere on December 15, 2015, 08:26:30 AM
I don't see anyone has suggested this yet... Go through your closet and take out all the items with tags on them. Put them all out on your bed or something and just take it all in of how much money is wasted just to hang pretty clothes in your closet that aren't even worn. Then return those items!!! Even if you have to pay restocking fees or only get the lowest price try to return all of them (receipts or no receipts try it anyway!). Immediately use this money as a payment on your credit card.

I rarely go clothes shopping. But when I do, if I'm in a good mood, I tend to overbuy. I keep the tags on everything and only pull stuff out as I wear it. 30 days later if its still in the bag I bring it all back to the store. I'm sure a lot of your shopping addiction has to do with the physical/emotional act of shopping and not the clothes.

Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 15, 2015, 10:41:07 AM
As far as being lonely goes, I do have a SO, and I would be upset if I didn't have him, but I feel I may not be truly in love with him.  I am having a lot of trouble feeling love right now.  I never had this problem before.  It is like I am in a fog.  I also don't enjoy spending time with friends even though I have them.  I feel bored by them.  I think I have a case of burnout or something?
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Orvell on December 15, 2015, 10:45:08 AM
As far as being lonely goes, I do have a SO, and I would be upset if I didn't have him, but I feel I may not be truly in love with him.  I am having a lot of trouble feeling love right now.  I never had this problem before.  It is like I am in a fog.  I also don't enjoy spending time with friends even though I have them.  I feel bored by them.  I think I have a case of burnout or something?
I have been feeling similar things lately. And I can tell you that for me, taking control of my life helped. It was cleaning and organizing that helped me. But for you, taking control of your finances might have a similar benefit. :) Take back your life. Focus on creative outlets. Make sure you are putting something back in the world, not just consuming it. :)
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 15, 2015, 10:46:07 AM
I would recommend finding a therapist--that the only thing that sparks excitement in you is purchasing goods, rather than building relationships, is troubling. It sounds as if a lot of things in your life need a reboot and hopefully acknowledging this one problem will help you untangle all the connected strands.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Orvell on December 15, 2015, 10:48:48 AM
I would recommend finding a therapist--that the only thing that sparks excitement in you is purchasing goods, rather than building relationships, is troubling. It sounds as if a lot of things in your life need a reboot and hopefully acknowledging this one problem will help you untangle all the connected strands.
This is good advice! Therapists are very valuable.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: monstermonster on December 15, 2015, 10:48:54 AM
As far as being lonely goes, I do have a SO, and I would be upset if I didn't have him, but I feel I may not be truly in love with him.  I am having a lot of trouble feeling love right now.  I never had this problem before.  It is like I am in a fog.  I also don't enjoy spending time with friends even though I have them.  I feel bored by them.  I think I have a case of burnout or something?
This sounds like depression, nearly text book. You're trying to self-medicate by shopping. Which is good, in that at least you're trying to find something to handle your "fog" feelings (in some cultures, depression is described as "thoughts running around fast" or "foggy feelings")- however you're causing yourself harm (financially) and you're not dealing with the root of your depression. I'd highly recommend some cognitive therapy to deal with both the obsessive behavior (buying clothing) and the lack of interest in activities (depression). You'll be surprised to see what talking about these to people who aren't strangers on the internet can do for your feelings.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: With This Herring on December 15, 2015, 10:52:17 AM
As far as being lonely goes, I do have a SO, and I would be upset if I didn't have him, but I feel I may not be truly in love with him.  I am having a lot of trouble feeling love right now.  I never had this problem before.  It is like I am in a fog.  I also don't enjoy spending time with friends even though I have them.  I feel bored by them.  I think I have a case of burnout or something?
This sounds like depression, nearly text book. You're trying to self-medicate by shopping. Which is good, in that at least you're trying to find something to handle your "fog" feelings (in some cultures, depression is described as "thoughts running around fast" or "foggy feelings")- however you're causing yourself harm (financially) and you're not dealing with the root of your depression. I'd highly recommend some cognitive therapy to deal with both the obsessive behavior (buying clothing) and the lack of interest in activities (depression). You'll be surprised to see what talking about these to people who aren't strangers on the internet can do for your feelings.

This.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Kaspian on December 15, 2015, 11:52:25 AM
Shopping won't fill an empty hole in your heart for God sakes.  In fact, it does the opposite and makes it bigger, blacker, and sadder.  Alternatives for spending time that won't *worsen* depression include playing with a dog in a park, making a really hearty chili which simmers for hours, going for a swim, petting a horse, playing guitar with a friend, and bowling with a group of little kids.  ...Pretty much anything other than what you are doing. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: SanDiegoAli on December 15, 2015, 02:20:49 PM
OP - I totally feel you. I'm also trying to break a shopping addiction.  It's hard.  It's not as easy as "don't spend".  Advice like that gets nothing but eye-ball rolling from me.  If not doing something was the magical cure then every person would be rich, every person would be thin, and every person would be a great athlete.

For some reason it is extremely hard for many people to grasp addictions aren't just to food/drinking.  Just like telling a depressed person to "just be happy", it's utterly useless.  I know **most** people on this forum don't GET IT as far a spending addiction is concerned, but it exists and getting yourself out of it is hard as fuck.

End of rant.

OP - unrollme is a GREAT resource for unsubscribing from emails.

Also, I personally can't get on board with most "recovery" like groups because 99% of them are based in religion and I'm an atheist.  I agree that therapy could help you a lot. I have also been reading books on the psychology of consumerism in my journey. Best of luck to you. I don't use my cc's AT ALL anymore, but still struggle with wanting to buy, esp. at this time of year.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Tjat on December 15, 2015, 05:08:45 PM
This sounds like depression, nearly text book. You're trying to self-medicate by shopping. Which is good, in that at least you're trying to find something to handle your "fog" feelings (in some cultures, depression is described as "thoughts running around fast" or "foggy feelings")- however you're causing yourself harm (financially) and you're not dealing with the root of your depression. I'd highly recommend some cognitive therapy to deal with both the obsessive behavior (buying clothing) and the lack of interest in activities (depression). You'll be surprised to see what talking about these to people who aren't strangers on the internet can do for your feelings.

+1. Therapy sounds like the right next step.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Stockmom on December 15, 2015, 09:12:59 PM
Donating money seems to work for me.  Nothing like giving money away to make you really start to pay attention to how you're wasting it.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: matchewed on December 16, 2015, 09:44:27 AM
Assuming it is some mental health issue here is some food for thought.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao8L-0nSYzg
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 16, 2015, 10:25:57 AM
I had never been depressed before like this if that is what it is.  I was very happy until I switched careers, where they made me work until midnight and under incredible stress every day for months on end.  I hated the place and it burned me out.  It made my cynical and sad.  Then I found a new job, which was stressful in a different way (I have a fear of public speaking and had to do this for my job).  After a year of that I finally found a job in October where I am comfortable.  I have been steadily feeling less stressed and better, but I still have this burned out mindset where I don't enjoy other people's company.

Also this past year, I had not been able to choose between an exboyfriend and a new boyfriend, and I was telling both of them I couldn't decide and was depressed over it badly.  I have not resolved the situation well.  I feel like I have let everyone down and been a horrible person.  I chose the old one and then I spent weeks crying in my bed over the decision and left him too.  Nothing is clear to me.  The only thing that makes me happy is having pretty soft comfortable things to wear.  I can't even bring myself to exercise because I think I don't deserve to be in good shape. 

I am a bad person, which is what this whole thing is I think. 
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on December 16, 2015, 10:26:18 AM
As far as being lonely goes, I do have a SO, and I would be upset if I didn't have him, but I feel I may not be truly in love with him.  I am having a lot of trouble feeling love right now.  I never had this problem before.  It is like I am in a fog.  I also don't enjoy spending time with friends even though I have them.  I feel bored by them.  I think I have a case of burnout or something?
This sounds like depression, nearly text book. You're trying to self-medicate by shopping. Which is good, in that at least you're trying to find something to handle your "fog" feelings (in some cultures, depression is described as "thoughts running around fast" or "foggy feelings")- however you're causing yourself harm (financially) and you're not dealing with the root of your depression. I'd highly recommend some cognitive therapy to deal with both the obsessive behavior (buying clothing) and the lack of interest in activities (depression). You'll be surprised to see what talking about these to people who aren't strangers on the internet can do for your feelings.

THis is what I have been suspecting :(
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: norabird on December 16, 2015, 10:28:53 AM
You aren't a bad person. You need to work on forgiving yourself. Once you do that, you won't need clothes anymore, because you'll feel whole. Please do find a therapist!
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: Orvell on December 16, 2015, 10:31:44 AM
{snip}
The only thing that makes me happy is having pretty soft comfortable things to wear.  I can't even bring myself to exercise because I think I don't deserve to be in good shape. 

I am a bad person, which is what this whole thing is I think.

Oh... *HUGS*
First and foremost, you are not a bad person. You have an addiction to shopping, or at the very least a very terrible ingrained shopping habit, and are not in a good mental health place. These things do not make you a bad person. At all. <3

You really need someone who can talk to you about these feelings and who knows what they are talking about. Call your health insurance provider (like, today) and get a list of people they suggest, and make an appointment. You deserve to start feeling better.
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: AmandaS1989 on December 16, 2015, 10:37:59 AM
Just chiming in to second Orvell and norabird. You are NOT a bad person and you DO deserve to feel better about yourself. Listen to Orvell and call your health insurance provider for that therapist list. Sometimes talking to a professional is necessary.

Maybe you can also sit down and make a list of things you like about yourself. That might put you in a more positive mindset. Don't give up though. You CAN beat this and get back on the road to feeling good and having a fat bank account. :)
Title: Re: Need a spending intervention - HELP
Post by: galliver on December 16, 2015, 02:07:24 PM
After a year of that I finally found a job in October where I am comfortable.  I have been steadily feeling less stressed and better, but I still have this burned out mindset where I don't enjoy other people's company.

Also this past year, I had not been able to choose between an exboyfriend and a new boyfriend, and I was telling both of them I couldn't decide and was depressed over it badly.  I have not resolved the situation well.  I feel like I have let everyone down and been a horrible person.  I chose the old one and then I spent weeks crying in my bed over the decision and left him too.  Nothing is clear to me.

Hey now. Clearly neither of these dudes deserves the pleasure of your companionship because neither of them knocked your socks off to the exclusion of the other. Keep an eye out for the one who does. But don't rush into anything; you don't need a boyfriend (and if you feel like you do...then you especially don't). Learn to be your own person and find satisfaction in the simple things in life, and forgive yourself for your past. (Seek them out and reconcile with them if you must. But there's probably too much that has gone down for you to pursue anything. Forgiving is not forgetting.) Each year for the past 5 years or more, I've made basically the same resolution: Make better choices. I think it has worked well and I recommend this to you. From this day out, make better choices. When you recognize you are making a decision, and are leaning toward something you may later regret...make the better choice, instead.

As a side note, I hate the word "deserve" when used in giving relationship/life advice, especially on the internet. Partly because it can be hard to tell if someone deserves something from their own account, and partly because it's not always about what you deserve, it's about what you can earn, what you can create. You can create a state of fitness by working out and watching your diet. You can create good friendships by picking the right people and pouring energy/effort into the relationship. You can create a full bank account by abstaining from shopping or other luxuries and saving instead. This is regardless of whether, in a karmic sense, you "deserve" nice things in your life. On the flip side, people get laid off, they get sick, they lose loved ones in car wrecks regardless of whether these things were "deserved." So: let go of karma, fate, etc. and create the life you want with the things you want in it. And then you'll "deserve" them because you have put in the effort to make it so.