Why Can't I Stop Charging - The Dollar Stretcher
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Why Can't I Stop Charging

This may sound simplistic but my goal is to stop charging, to stop using credit. The simple answer - cut them up, freeze them don't use them etc. Been there, done that a thousand times! So there has to be something in between that I am not getting. - FW

Gary's response:
FW is not alone. Many people are unable to control their spending. Try as they might, sooner or later they spend money on purchases that they had not planned on making. So, to paraphrase FW, what is it that we're not getting about the purchases? Why do we find it so difficult to control our spending?

I'm not a psychologist, but I honestly believe that all of us spend money thinking that we have gotten value in return. We don't spend money just to spend money. At some level, the purchase feels like a reasonable decision.

So the question shifts to what are we receiving in return for our money? In many cases where we can't seem to control our spending, we're really trying to get something different than the item we bought.

Sounds strange doesn't it? If I'm buying a new shirt isn't that what I'm trying to get? Maybe and maybe not. I could be trying to impress a co-worker or someone else I'd like to attract. Or maybe I'm buying clothing I don't need to make up for a lack of suitable clothing as a child. Could be that I want people to see my new clothes and not the 15 pounds I gained in the last 6 months.

One way for FW to understand their spending is to ask what emotion they feel when they're about to make the purchase. In some cases that emotion can lead them to understand the previously unexplainable purchases.

In other cases, it can be used as a warning signal. Presence of the emotion means that you should make sure you're not in a position to spend money. Flee the mall! Turn off the computer shopping site! Take immediate action to remove the ability to charge a purchase.

For some people these strategies will work just fine. But, for others, they will still struggle to control their spending. For them the only answer may be to not have any credit card accounts. If you don't have a card you cannot use it. Just like an alcoholic can't be a social drinker, the out-of-control spender has no choice but to avoid credit.

Only FW knows for sure whether spending can be controlled. And, ultimately the bills belong to FW whether the purchases were planned or not. Hopefully FW will find a way to control their use of credit.

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!



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January 19, 2011 6:18 PM

cindy said:

Gary you are on target with this one and it is true sometimes we just forget oh this will not hurt just this once yeah??!!!!!!!!! SRE IT HURT it hurt bad up goes the expense of things and a percent lower on the credit card saying ding ding dingDING your credit score is shot and you can'st stop me ...

Sure you can stop it cut it up freeze it have mommy hide it or debt mangement services been there and done that too. we all did our halos are tarnished we learn as of now.

January 19, 2011 8:44 PM

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About Gary

For more than 25 years, Gary Foreman has worked to manage money effectively. Prior to starting The Dollar Stretcher, he was a financial planner and purchasing manager. While helping clients manage their hard earned money as a financial planner, he applied commonsense, time-tested techniques during the turbulent 1980’s. The experience convinced him that you didn’t need to hit the lottery to accumulate significant wealth. Following that, Gary had an opportunity to learn more about how to get the best value for a dollar spent in the corporate world. As the Purchasing Manager for a computer manufacturer, he was responsible for supervising over $10 million in annual purchases. Gary began The Dollar Stretcher website <www.TheDollarStretcher.com> and newsletters in April 1996. Over 300,000 readers benefit from the time and money saving ideas presented in The Dollar Stretcher newsletters each week. His mission is to help people "Live Better for Less". He also provides private label newsletters for companies wishing to provide money saving information for their clients and/or prospects. Gary lives in Florida along with his wife of thirty years and their two children. Much of his time is spent working with the men's ministry of his church. One of their ongoing projects is the "Holy Smoke BBQ" which sells bbq on Friday nights with the profits going to support local foster kids and orphans. When he has a free moment you’ll find him restoring a Checker station wagon nicknamed “Two Ton” or cruising in a '65 Impala SS Convertible with doo-wops playing in the background.

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Gary is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who edits The Dollar Stretcher website <www.stretcher.com> and newsletters. You can follow Gary on Twitter.com/gary_foreman
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