Excessive Spending - answering a call for help

A reader asked for help with "excessive spending" on consumer type products. It was clear that this reader had a serious problem and was looking for solutions, so I helped provide some guidance as best I could.

Apparently my reader was caught up in consumer spending and just couldn't stop what was clearly self destructive behavior.

The following response was provided to my reader in hopes of helping address the situation of excessive spending.

I wanted to offer a range of potential options for consideration. As with anything like this that I share, the name, location, and personal attributes of the individual will be masked or otherwise removed to protect their privacy.

I offer you insight with respect to my response to "excessive spending" for two reasons. First, you might have such a problem, and the advice could come in handy. Second, I want you to see what is typical of my responses.

On my four websites and two blogs, I respond to every comment and question personally and as best I know how. I am honored that individuals seek my advice.

Here is my response to "excessive spending" in the world of consumerism:

Thank you for sharing and asking for help. The first step to fixing anything is to recognize it's broken. Admitting to yourself that you're the one that needs some work is sometimes very difficult to do. I salute your insight, courage and initiative.

I try to help everyone that asks for help, and I'll not make an exception in your case, however, I wish I could point you to a good source for help. I don't have much experience to go on. I've never had this problem. Someone else in my life did. In your case, you can't simply disconnect yourself from yourself, so you'll have to fight this one on your own turf (with help of course) and recreate a new you that represents a change in course for the rest of your life.

My immediate suggestions are:

  • Check out the local paper for support groups. Any addiction group might be able to point you in the right direction.
  • Visit a bankruptcy court and spend time listening to some of the proceedings, especially initial hearings. That will show you where you might be headed.
  • Dr. Phil McGraw has good advice about finding the "pay off" and replacing it with something else. You get a "pay off" when you spend, so find something that isn't self destructive to fill that void or that need.
  • Get busy doing something besides spending money. I find it's much more satisfying to stay engaged in activities. Staying busy reduces interest in self-destructive behavior, and reduces opportunity as well. Find a replacement for spending money. One of the best replacement activities that I can think of is making money. It consumes your time and pushes your personal finance in a good direction.
A page I wrote a while back addresses the idea that money doesn't buy happiness, but rather it's achievement that helps create the happiness you seek. If you haven't read my page on this, here is the link.

I don't know your situation at all, but I know someone who told me they couldn't have any money in their pocket, and they would even take someone to lunch just to spend it. It doesn't register with me as normal behavior, and I don't have a clue as to how this might be addressed. The only thing that comes to my mind is "crash and burn." Sometimes it takes a severe consequence to get a "wake up call" and start changing behavior. Hopefully that isn't your case.

In the following forum, it looks like people are talking about what their excessive spending is caused by. It seems like the first step is to get it out in the open. You might find more insight and learn from what others have done to curb their appetite for "buying happiness."


Also, here are some additional sites that might help you learn more about what you're doing, why you're doing it, and what you can do about it.







I am reminded that sometimes people don't change who they are or what they're doing unless they get angry about it. So, if you're angry about your current situation, then direct that anger in a constructive manner to help get yourself out of this situation.

I consider myself on "the other side" of this situation. If there was a rope that I could use to pull you through to this side, I'd use it, but the reality is that you have to climb up that rope yourself. I've been told by professional counselors that "everyone has to do their own thing" and it's true. You have to do this yourself. Keep the faith and keep climbing.

My sincere best wishes for you as you work your way out of this. I'm open to more discussion about this. Feel free to Email me and let me know how you are progressing.

Thank you for having trust in me and asking for my help. It's the primary reason I maintain the Frugal Living Freedom website. I've seen firsthand what irresponsible and excessive spending can do, and I'm hoping to show others a different way so they don't have to go through what I did.

Good fortune to you.

So, if you're in need of help or advice, I'll try my best to answer your question and address your need. Whether it's "excessive spending" or something a little different.

If I can't help you, I'll let you know that too.

Done with Excessive Spending, back to About

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.