After years of spending my way through grief, my wake-up call came when I nearly lost the house – that's when things changed
[pic]Spending can easily turn into an addiction. Photograph: Frank Baron
Until very recently, I was what I would term a spendaholic.
Growing up a working class girl, I knew how to earn and how to spend,but not how to manage money or my emotions. When I lost my mother, father and brother in quick succession, I tipped over from normal spending to spendaholism.
My mother's funeral happened on mybirthday, and I took to shopping as my "outlet to express; I couldn't stand being home alone with my sad thoughts. I spent my way to over £27,000 of debt and the mortgage climbed from £10,000 to £100,000 inseven years.
The UK as a nation suppresses its emotions, especially when it comes to talking about money troubles and death. Us Brits seem to be good at playing the game of "lets pretend it's allright when it's not". When you are feeling down, your friends don't know what to say, or how to treat you.
But when I was out shopping, even people who didn't know me were friendly.
Supposed help suchas loans and financial advice to remortgage simply enabled me to pile on the pounds: they gave me the green light to spend. Trying to budget was useless while I was emotionally overwhelmed. There wasno logic to my thinking and the urge to fix and spend won everytime. I tried harder to be a success in my job to cover the cost of my spending, but deep down I knew I wouldn't be able to keep this upforever.
My big wake-up call came when I almost lost the family house. I was mortgaged up to the hilt, the bank manger shook her head, the credit cards were declined and this quick fix to feel goodnow revealed a very dark, long-term consequence.
I got mad at myself; I now wanted to change, and to get my head around this awful mess. Most of all I wanted to keep our house. Finally I took...