A Spendaholic Needs Help - and a swift kick

I've known a spendaholic or two in my time. I don't mean spendthrifts or people with wasteful spending habits, but people who have a real problem with money. Their money, your money, anyone's money.

Sounds a lot like the U.S. Congress, doesn't it? Well, I'm certain there are a bunch of them under the dome of the capitol back in D.C. that have their own type of money addiction.

Thankfully, they're not risking their money - just ours.

This type of money addiction is caused by deep personal problems. It can be like kryptonite to a Superman trying to stay focused on frugal living.

Let's look at why people have such addictive and wasteful spending habits, what we can do about it. If you think you might be one of them, read this and get some help. You'll need a competent professional to get you out of this deep hole.

If you don't have a problem, but live with one, you'll need to know what you're facing and how it can ruin your life.

What's the Problem?

The problem with a spendaholic is that they are missing something in their life. They have a great big hole inside of them, and they need to fill it with something that costs money. If Dr. Phil McGraw were here, he'd probably tell you that spending money provides some sort of "pay off" for these people, and they need to keep spending to keep themselves satisfied.

Here are examples of people I am familiar with:

  • One person can't have any money accessible to them. They have to spend all the money until their pockets are empty. If you ask them about it, they will tell it to your face just like I am telling you. It isn't something that seems to be a bother. It's just the way they are.

  • Another person I know would spend all of their take home pay and live paycheck to paycheck - not out of need, but out of desire. They never have any money to save, and no interest in saving in the first place. After marrying an individual with substantial wealth, they built a new house and specified all the finishes and such throughout. Builders would come and marvel at the opulence of the home.

  • In my last example of a spendaholic, we see an individual that would consume and give away any resource available to them that wasn't nailed down. This person gave their new car away to family members and then bought another one, gave personal items of family members away to others at work, charged items on credit cards that weren't theirs to use, and sought out people as sources of funding for their limitless desires.
No matter the activities, you can see that a spendaholic just can't spend enough money to fill their personal void.

Often they will spend money to buy happiness, the most costly and elusive of things that one might attempt to buy, but as you are aware, it isn't available at any price.

Nevertheless, the spendaholic keeps trying to purchase it with new cars, new homes, new gadgets, new furniture, jewelry, decorations, clothes, vacations, fine dining and the list goes on and on. Spending money makes the spendaholic feel:

  • affluent
  • influential
  • in charge
  • special
  • popular
  • envied
  • in fashion
  • emotionally comforted
  • wanted
  • respected
  • needed
  • recognized
  • personally healed
  • temporarily medicated

    Most likely they have themselves convinced that they can't earn those feelings - they have to buy them. For each person, I suppose the list is a little different, but my experience shows that this is a pretty good start at understanding what makes these people tick.

    What's the Solution

    Again, I think Dr. McGraw would suggest that these people find something that provides the same "pay off" without the adverse effect of draining financial resources to do it. Perhaps a professional could provide some sort of therapy, but I have no idea what it would be.

    A swift kick to get them headed out the door would be my suggestion. It sounds like great therapy for the spendaholic and their victims.

    All I know is that my personal experience tells me that there is a time to walk the other way - the earlier the better. I believe that people really don't change anymore than a zebra can change from stripes to spots. We're talking about a money addiction, and I don't know of many people that are capable of kicking an addiction - any addiction.

    I would advise you not to hang around and repeatedly become a victim of a spendaholic, hoping that perhaps you can change them. They need professional help, and as I mentioned, a good swift kick in the butt.

    Why do we have Spendaholics?

    Have you ever wondered why we have people with money addictions? Well, the answer is quite easy. We have them because we tolerate them, we put up with them, and we enable them. We are talking about irresponsible people here, and when we bail them out time and again, that just reinforces that it's no big deal to engage in such irresponsible behavior.

    If there are no adverse consequences, and we are always rescued, then there really isn't any reasons why we should ever change our pattern of behavior that gives us such great "pay offs".

    If you're in a relationship with a spendaholic, you have to stop being an enabler. Look at yourself and determine whether you enjoy being the victim and the "fixer" of things. If so, then you are in a co-dependent relationship where you need the spendaholic to mess up as much as they need you to keep solving the problems.

    Tough love is the only answer. When you draw a line in the sand and stop enabling them, your relationship will become strained (to say the least), but they either have to stop, find someone else to abuse, or leave for greener pastures. Either way, you'll be better off.

    The Point

    Here the lesson for us is simple and clear. A spendaholic is a type of money junkie similar to the kind that runs for re-election every so often. They need a money fix on a regular basis so they don't have to face the emptiness within.

    If you're one of the unfortunates that is desperately trying to buy happiness, then seek professional help. You'll be glad you did, and others around you will feel much better about it as well.

    If you know a spendaholic, do your best not to get wrapped up in his or her madness. Keep your distance and don't give them an inch (or a dime either). They are like black holes in space and they will suck you into their financial madness if you let them.

    Keep your financial distance from these money addicts. If necessary, make that geographical distance as well. Frugal living just can't be practiced anywhere people like this have influence on your life.

    Done with Spendaholic, take me back to Addicted to Spending Money

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.