Are You A Spendaholic?
Here's a quiz I devised to see if you're spending will get you into trouble
Yet another recent report has found that Britons are being crushed by ever more debt compared to our European counterparts. It's not only bargains that people can’t seem to resist but sales of luxury items are on the up too.
With spending out of control and many living on credit it's time to explore your own spending habits. Take my quick quiz to identify whether you have spendaholic tendencies:
1/ Are you tempted by bargain offers (bogofs) like 3-for-2s?
A/ Sometimes, when I don't even need them
B/ Only if I need them
2/ Have you kept purchases secret from a loved one?
3/ Do you juggle credit cards?
C/ Always juggling
4/ Do you go to sales even if you don't need anything?
A/ If I'm in the mood for browsing
B/ Wouldn't waste my time
C/ Yes, can’t resist
5/ Do you pay credit card bills in full each month?
A/ Would do if possible
C/ In my dreams
6/ Do you live by a budget?
A/ I try to stick to one
B/ Yes definitely
C/ I wish
7/ How many unworn/used purchases made in the last year?
8/ Do you ever borrow money from friends/family?
A/ Once or twice
C/ Frequently, they see me coming
9/ Do you have any savings scheme/plan?
A/ Yes but I dip into it
C/ Never manage to save
10/ Is there something you can’t resist buying, e.g. shoes, bags?
A/ One such thing
C/ Yes many tempting things
You're treading a tightrope that you may fall from if you don't keep a careful eye on your spending habits. Although the sensible part of you tries to keep your house in order, your spendaholic tendencies jeopardise that. Follow the relevant advice below for "Big Spenders".
You're careful, cautious and aware of the importance of sticking to a budget. You realise things like "bogofs" aren’t necessarily a savings, e.g., if you buy 3-for-2 packets of mince and some goes off that's a waste! My only warning is don't become a tightwad. Yes, it's important not to run into financial trouble but you should enjoy the occasional luxury too.
Mainly Cs - Hey Big Spender!
It’s all spend, spend, spend with you! Constantly in trouble through your spending habits you never seem to learn. Shimmering sale signs hypnotise you with their "come to me" messages. You find it hard to resist certain things that strike right to the core of your desires. You undoubtedly have things you've never worn and other little temptations that have never been opened or used.
Seven Steps To Stop Your Spending:
1/ Be utterly honest in exploring the reasons why you overspend. There are many reasons why people become Spendaholics. But usually they have one common strand to their lives - they feel anxious, stressed, unloved and empty - and they seek to fill this vast emotional hole inside them self by spending. Understand the pain you're in and you can begin to control negative impulses.
2/ Draw up a full list of your outgoings and total these. Include all outgoings over a typical week plus occasional emergency items or necessities. Now compare them to your income. What's the difference between the two figures?
3/ On the basis of that devise a weekly budget to live on. You’re definitely going to have to cut back and putting necessities first will help you prioritise.
4/ Identify your own personal "hot spots" that trigger spending. For example, does arguing with your partner send you running to the shops? Face these hot spots head-on rather than letting them upset you. Also research shows that even something as basic as getting a good night's sleep decreases your chances of overspending. Get practical and avoid shopping when stressed, tired, unhappy, etc., and less able to make good judgements. Use practical measures to prevent overspending like avoiding walking past the shops you find irresistible.
5/ Stop ignoring letters from your creditors and get in touch with them NOW. Show them your budget and make arrangements to pay back what you can.
6/ Cut up your credit cards and resist offers for new ones. Don't even open those glossy letters that come through your postbox offering the newest credit cards!
7/ Ask a trusted friend or family member to become your “crisis buddy”. Agree that you'll ring them when you feel tempted to go on a shopping spree. They can help talk you down from unnecessary spending.
It's up to you to take control of your spending. Right now your impulses are controlling your better judgement. Understand and harness those, as well as taking the suggested practical steps and you can be in charge - rather than charging everything to your credit card that’s already in melt-down!
Citizens Advice Bureau - www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Consumer Credit Counselling Service - 0800-138-1111
Published in the Express Newspaper