Over the last couple of years one of my obsessions, which can run concurrently and often do, was to clear my credit card debts and overdraft. I wasn't so compulsive on this occasion I must admit and decided to realistically achieve these aims over a couple of years and I'm pleased to say that I'm almost there.
Just as I almost got to the end of my debt free journey, I hit an obstacle. Knowing I was coming to a point in time when I would have no debts and some disposable income once again, I got obsessed by the idea of creating a capsule wardrobe and of acquiring all the items on my current wish/need list at once.
I've mentioned this in a previous post, giving the excuse that the sales offered too many bargains to ignore. Whilst this is true in part, it is not the whole truth, the truth is I got a bit obsessed again and impatient and instead of acquiring these things in a relaxed and measured way over the coming year, I've virtually completed the list and my capsule wardrobe in a matter of a couple of months.
It's not something that I'm particularly proud of, especially in a year when I was wanting to slow and simplify my life. In addition, whilst in the process I was also beginning to get a bit worried that I would never be able to stop spending. Writing a blog post about it a few days ago did help. It did make me stop and think about where all this spending was leading and whether it was all actually necessary. I mulled it over for a couple of days.
In the end, it was a visit to our local library that stopped me in my tracks. Whilst waiting for a prescription which wasn't ready, I popped into the library next door to kill some time and came across a couple of new to me books on money management.
I started reading one of them in the queue at the post office counter and continued it whilst waiting to collect an online order from the Asda drive in. I later continued reading it at home, whilst in the bath and later retired to bed still reading it. For some reason it resonated very strongly with me and I woke up this morning and feel like my compulsion has abated somewhat.
The book in question is this book by Kate Northrup.
The title is a little strange as she admits herself, but don't be put off by it. The essence of the book is about helping you understand your relationship with money. Aside from relating her own financial journey and story, which is interesting, she asks you to examine your feelings about money, uncover the messages you received about money as a child and how this relates to your behaviour with regard to your finances now.
I didn't do all of the exercises in full, but this book did really make me start to understand how one's relationship with money could relate to your feelings of self worth and self value. In order to value yourself, you need to value your money, because money is essentially your ticket to personal freedom and shouldn't be relinquished easily. When put like this, it has made me look at my recent spending on various non-essential items in a completely different light.
I'm still only half way through the book, but for me it has already stemmed the flow of money out of my bank account and restored my faith in myself to be a bit more patient and take things at a steadier pace. What's the hurry? If I still need the things on my list in 3/6 months time then I can buy them, chances are I won't, but for now, the compulsive spending stops here.