The answer c9814708_san be, I believe, both.

For me, and many people like me, shopping certainly had many of the elements of addiction.

I would obsess about buying something. I would seek out opportunities to go shopping although I knew it was damaging my relationships and credit rating. I’d often have trouble stopping and would feel restless and irritable or even depressed, when I stopped or hadn’t been shopping in a while. I denied I had any problems with money and was never open about my purchases regarding price or quantity. I would also be out of control sometimes e.g. buying 2 pairs of shoes when I only needed one or none at all!! One of my clients told me of going into a shop to buy a white t-shirt and coming out a short time later with many t-shirts of assorted colors!

These are all common characteristics of addictive behaviors as described here http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/hints/addictiveb.html .

So, I now readily admit, I had a spending or shopping addiction for many years.

For me shopping was not the cure. It was merely a temporary patch or plaster over some wounds, namely my low self esteem.

Buying stuff made me feel better about myself and more worthy of others’ love and attention, in the moment.

It was temporary at best.

Many people who use shopping, or spending money, as a salve for their wounds report having feelings of remorse and even self loathing afterwards. They regret that they have again succumbed to the seduction of shopping. Their self esteem is hit again as, once more, they have broken the promise they made to themselves to stop using their credit card.

Just as alcoholics wake up the next day and regret last night and vow to, this time, never drink again, so does the shopaholic regret the shopping and vow to never do it again. They promise that they will pay off their credit cards and never use them again.

I would, secretly, make statements like that all the time and then further knock my self esteem by not keeping my promise to myself. I couldn’t be relied on, even by me.

Now what about the other part of the equation…that retail therapy is a cure?

For many people an afternoon of shopping is a very enjoyable way to spend time, either with friends, or alone. The buzz and visual stimulus of the shops and malls make them feel uplifted and brighter. It elevates their mood.

One of the questions I ask people when they start working with me is about their attitudes to shopping. If they describe shopping as a hobby it does raise a red flag for me.

Does it mean they are addicted? Not always.

However, it is worth remembering that shops and shopping malls are in business to sell stuff and make a profit. If you are spending lots of time there, the chances are you are going to spend more money than you intend and often, than you can afford.

So if, for you, the occasional outing to the shops lifts your mood and makes you happy then by all means go for it, at least occasionally. We are meant to be happy.

If, on the other hand you find yourself spending more time or money than you intended when you go shopping maybe it is time to evaluate these trips and find other less expensive hobbies or ways of making you feel better or relieve the boredom.

If you found yourself being a bit alarmed or all too agreeable, when you read the first part of this article contact me and set up a clarity/strategy call with me and we can talk about. You can schedule it here :-http://www.financialclarity.co.nz/schedule-session.html

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When I was at primary school, maybe about 8 or 9, I always wanted these Clarks sandals like everyone else had!

Clark's sandals

Mum would never agree. For some inexplicable, or maybe not understood, reason she would never buy them for me.

She always insisted, and bought me these and they were always red! I hated them.

Jellies

Now history has shown that I was something of a fashion trail blazer in the1960’s by wearing jellies! I’m sure that idea never entered Jeannie’s (Mum’s) mind and it doesn’t matter, I still hate them.

I use this story to illustrate a point.

When I was in the midst of my overspending and chronic debting I thought I was on my own because everyone else could manage their money. I hid my shameful secret pretty well; or at least I thought I did. Just as I didn’t want to stand out with my jellies, nor did I want to stand out with my inability to manage my money.

Now, not everyone was wearing Clark’s sandals at school, probably just the girls I considered cool or in!

Like that, I now know that not everyone manages their money well either!

I’m generally considered smarter than your average bear and I couldn’t! I’ve had many clients who were seen as very successful, and in many ways were, but their finances were in a mess. They weren’t all overspenders like me but their money situation was chaotic.

Admitting that I needed help really changed the situation for me and finding that I wasn’t alone made all the difference.

If you know deep in your heart that you could be doing a better job with money then get in touch and we can have a complimentary strategy session to see how you could be doing better. Click on this link to my website and contact me today…I’d love to chat and I know you will feel better after we do.

href=”https://jillporter.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/12637931_s.jpg”>Shame

It’s been a funny few days.

I have had some great responses to telling my back story.

The odd questioning ones as well.

Why would I tell this?

Maybe I should have made it more positive? Maybe it would be off putting if someone was wanting to work with me, if they knew I didn’t have it all sorted out?

None of them were doubts I hadn’t had myself, trust me. However, I take heart from Brene Brown’s quote : “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.”

My purpose in telling my story is not only owning it myself but also, hopefully, providing encouragement to others who may be thinking that they are walking this path on their own. They are not.

I am on that path too and I meet people all the time, who are on their own version of this journey.

In our society, money is not talked about unless it is bragging about how much you have! Most people don’t do that. My mother went to her grave at 93, not ever knowing how much my father earned!!

Things have changed from then but it is still considered shameful to be in debt, to have to borrow money and god forbid to go bankrupt. (At the same time as we are bombarded with advertisements to buy, buy, buy! And to get this credit card and be jetting off on overseas holidays etc, etc,etc.)

I know how lonely it can feel to have these issues and feel that you are all alone. How scary it is. How alienating it feels. Just how fucking ghastly it feels!!

I hope by being honest about my path I can help someone else not feel so alone and to feel braver about reaching out for help, or just to tell someone else, so that it doesn’t feel so lonely and scary.

Another Brene Brown quote helps too:- “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”

Ok so here is Part 2!

If you didn’t see part 1 yesterday, here is the link:

https://jillporter.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/changing-up-the-back-story/

Having got myself back on track following Mum’s death I then had to take another break whilst I had surgery on my hip. I was on crutches for 6 weeks and sore and tired, so not much work got done!

Now I am not going to bore you with all the details but during the next 4 years  I had another 4 lots of surgery! Most of them quite big surgeries and requiring significant recovery time. Between each one, my business would grow again and be on the brink of becoming successful and bang, another surgery, and back down it would go.

Bugger! But great excuses for absolving me of any kind of blame or responsibility, right?

Wrong!

Now I needed all of those surgeries but on some level I needed the hiccough they brought to my business success too.

I’ve done quite a lot of exploration of this over the years but as many of you reading this will know, I’m not much into woo-woo stuff, so I also rejected any idea that I may have had a part to play in any of this.

Recently, I’ve come to accept that I surely did. Law of attraction! On some level I am still a bit skeptical about the role of the Law of Attraction when it comes to needing surgery or for that matter getting other physical illnesses. The traditional medicine which I have known and practiced as a nurse for so long, still has me pretty firmly in it’s grip!

However, what I have come to accept in the past few months, was how my surgeries allowed me to play the victim, not be responsible for my business success, or lack thereof, and to just coast along with it, blaming my “bad luck” for the lack of momentum.

What I had unwittingly done, was go from overspender to underearner..the flip side of the same coin!

The end result is the same. I end up in debt and never have any money…initially from spending it all and more, and more recently, from not earning it!

What have been the effects of all this?

My relationship ended. I may have stopped overspending but now I didn’t have any money at all and that still put the relationship in precarious territory and F left. We remain great friends still.

I moved into an apartment but for the first time in my life couldn’t pay the rent, moved out and went housesitting. I actually love doing this. I stay in some fabulous homes and look after some amazing animals and have wonderful experiences. I hate moving though and living out of a suitcase can get pretty tedious!

When I moved into an inner city apartment I sold my car and walked everywhere. I haven’t been able to replace it.

I have had to borrow money from friends and family. This has strained some treasured relationships.

For some months I was on a WINZ accommodation supplement.

My pride has taken some massive hits.

But, I now know and believe that I truly have something to offer so many people.The lessons I have learned about our relationships with money are too valuable not to be shared. The work I do is important and who could be more qualified to do it! I am taking responsibility for that. There are people out there who need me.

Now that I have spilled all that ( whew!!) I intend that this blog will be a way to chronicle my journey and adventures along the way, whilst also giving some personal finance tips and information. You will also meet some of the funny and sweet animals I look after, and see some of the wonderful views I enjoy.

I hope that it will sometimes be funny, it may be irreverent, could well be opinionated on other subjects other than the one at hand but I hope it will be enjoyable. Please interact with me. I love hearing from you and love suggestions and comments….positive or negative. Until later….

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Do you procrastinate? I know I do! I could do it for the Olympics!!

I have been meaning to write this on here for the past week or so, but always found something more important that needed doing, actually probably more urgent if I was truthful, because I’d procrastinated about that too!!

Sometimes procrastinating can be really expensive; both financially and/or just personally. If you don’t stop doing something that is harmful to you, eg smoking it ticks both of those boxes. As soon as you stop, you save money and also start to improve your health. But what I am focussing on here is money.

I have had several conversations recently, with people who intend to deal with their money shit, “in the New Year”!

Great idea you might think and in principle, it is! However, as the graphic says, time is money! The longer you delay taking at least the first step, the more it costs you. At this time of the year especially.

If you are spending without having any real plan or budget, and no really clear idea of where it has been, or is all going, you could be in trouble! This is particularly if you are doing all this spending on credit cards! The New Year will bring some nasty surprises when those credit card bills come in! Trust me I know these things!!

So here are three tips to stop the flood and, depending where you are with the Christmas shopping, lessen the shock of those New Year bills.

  1. Make a plan now! I mean, as soon as you have read this, or at the very least today! The sooner you start the less it will cost you. Detail your income from now until the end of December. If, you have already been paid, then use the balance in your account now. Then put down all of your planned spending until the end of the the month. This should include gift buying, food shopping, meals out, alcohol, parties etc! It is an expensive time of year! If at the end of that you estimate that you will still have money in the bank or your wallet, well done you!! If not, go over it again and you have two choices – either reduce your planned spending or increase your income!! To help with this you can go to my website, Financial Clarity and download a copy of the Holiday Planner developed by Karen McCall.
  2. Stop using your credit cards. I mean NOW! Using credit cards allows you to be completely oblivious to your spending or have your head in the clouds or, deep in the “money fog’ as I like to call it! If you won’t be able to eat unless you use your credit cards, then that’s OK but make a plan for when you are going to use them and for how much. eg I will spend $100 at the supermarket or grocery store. Then just use it for that and NOTHING more!
  3. Shop with a list or even better do all your shopping online! This means that you are in control of your spending. You buy just what you need and spend just what you have planned. You are not tempted by the slick marketing of the retailers or by your own desires!!

…and most of all have a wonderful Christmas, happy holidays and a healthy and abundant 2015

If you think you need more help than this don’t hesitate to contact me jill@financialclarity.co.nz or +64 21 211 5327

Is today your day?

April 8, 2014

lotto numbersThis week’s Money Motivator I wrote on the potentially negative effects of selling Lotto at the checkout in supermarkets. I don’t think it is a good idea. It puts the temptation of acting on magical thinking too close for comfort. What do you think?

In Financial Recovery we use several terms to describe money behaviour. One, which I have used before is the money fog, where people ignore the signs of their precarious financial situation. Not opening mail, not knowing what their credit card balances are and how much interest they are paying, are all examples of money fog!

Another one is “magical thinking”. Essentially this is when we expect a miracle to get us out of the mess we are in. With money and debt, examples are a knight in shining armour racing in on his trusty steed and rescuing us, winning the lottery or getting an unexpected inheritance! All, we know are pretty unlikely to happen!

Therefore, like others, I was concerned with the news that Countdown supermarkets will have Lotto outlets right at the checkouts. Likewise the news that Lotto tickets will be able to be bought with credit cards!

TV3 had an item about this at the weekend. The CEO of the Mad Butcher, Michael Morton said that “ “A jackpot weekend can take up to 8 or 9 percent of (sic) our total weeks’ sales, and on a Saturday with a big jackpot it can be up to 15 percent of a loss of sales,”

Darryl Evans of the Mangere Budgeting Services Trust, said that on the Monday after a big jackpot they have a big increase in the number of people requesting food parcels.

A lot has been made in the media about the ease of purchasing leading to an increase in gambling. This is not my area of expertise so I cannot comment. However, what I do know, is that people who have a spending addiction, together with those who have substantial debt including, but not limited to, credit card debt, will be enticed by the power of their magical thinking into spending more than they can afford on Lotto. They believe that winning Lotto would solve all their problems and spending their last cent, or going deeper into debt, on tickets is worth it because they WILL win and therefore, on Monday, they will be able to repay it!

Now, I think most of us have dreamed of winning Lotto and what we would do with it when we do, but the difference is that the people I am talking about, see it as a realistic strategy for getting them out of the hole they’re in! Then come Saturday night, Sunday morning or whenever they check their tickets, they are overwhelmed with the disappointment of their strategy not working. Not only did they not win but now they have less money to buy the essentials or, worse still, are deeper in debt. This impacts their relationships, their mental health and can take food from their family’s table.

I know this because it was part of my magical thinking! I would buy a ticket religiously every weekend, believing(!) that this was my time and here was the solution, only to be bitterly disappointed on Sunday or Monday when I checked the ticket(s)!! My spending on this never went beyond $25 each week, but I am aware of people spending hundreds of dollars on Lotto, money they cannot afford.

It is also interesting to note that Countdown report an 8% increase in sales of Lotto when they trialled selling them at checkout as opposed to separate booths! They also get 7% of the profit from Lotto sales; they know it works!

If this is your thinking and behaviour, or you know someone who has these beliefs, get in touch and we can have a chat about strategies to use to avoid such spending and creating more successful strategies.

Often, when talking to people about the work I do, I tell them that I help people clear their credit card debt once and for all and never have to use a credit card again. For many that sounds like the definition of impossible! They have cleared their debt before, often many times, and know that it just goes back up again.
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Then, when I tell them about the process I use and explain that, if possible, I will get them to commit to not using their credit card at all until I see them next time, I see the horrified looks and panic setting in!

The reason for this is that, like so many people, their credit card is their security blanket! It’s what stands between them and financial disaster if the car breaks down, the child needs orthodontic work, the dog needs surgery, Christmas arrives, someone has a birthday, friends ask them out for dinner, they need a holiday etc etc! It is where they go for “money” when all else fails. I know this, I have done this, more times than I care to remember, but I also knows that it doesn’t work and only makes the situation worse.

I am not going to go into all the other reasons people use credit cards, like air points etc and the reasons why it is better and cheaper to use debit cards or better still cash! Today I am just talking about using them as your back up plan! I have been a bit facetious above with the “emergencies” people use their credit cards for, but I have either given them myself or heard them, and more, many times when people have told me that they only use them for emergencies.

Now, if you are reading this and thinking “but I do only use them for emergencies and then immediately pay them off in full” then fine. Whilst I do think that there is a better way, this message is not primarily for you, but read on because you might be interested in how you could do it differently.

I then go on to explain how I help them save their way out of debt, once and for all!  Doesn’t that sound good? Too good to be true? Not at all. If you follow the method which I teach you, which was developed by Karen McCall of the Financial Recovery Institute, that is exactly what you can do. I never ask people to cut up their credit cards, nor put them in a container of water in the freezer, I just ask them to trust the process, which has worked for thousands and thousands of people, and not use their credit cards until they see me again. As Karen says, “ if you want to get out of a hole, first you must stop digging”!

The other key steps are to pay the minimum on your credit card each month whilst building up a savings account, which we call a Periodic Savings account. Now I can hear all of you with financial backgrounds or those who pay off your credit cards in full every month, exclaiming that this will cost extra because of the interest. Yes, you are right but if you are someone who constantly uses your credit card and can never manage to always pay if off in full every month, then, trust me, this is a much cheaper way in the long run. Remember I teach you how to pay if off, in full, once and for all and to never have credit card debt ever again.

That’s because the Periodic Savings account becomes your security blanket; it’s where you go to get the money to pay the dentist, the vet, the restaurant, the holiday and Christmas! Using a formula I teach you, you can plan for all these and more, and know that you will always have the money available to cover all these events, without having to bring out the credit card. Once this is functioning well we also start another account which we call a “Safety Net” account and here you provide for coverage of all your expenses if you were to have an interruption in income.

So, if you would like to learn how to save your way out of debt, once and for all, use one of the methods below to contact me and we can have a coffee and discuss it further, to see if I can help you.

I’d love your comments about all of this and feel free to share it with your friends either by email or socially below.

Have a great week everyone and give it a try… Can you manage to not use your credit card for the next week?