June 5, 2011

From Addiction to Recovery

Hi everyone,

Its been quite some time since I've written about my shopping addiction. The last time I wrote about it I was just beginning my journey with the first step of recovery. Unfortunately, this is all a self recovery because when it comes to a shopping addiction, there isn't much help out there.

Now, some people may think shopping addiction is something to laugh at or just silly. Well I can tell you it's neither. It has ruined many people financially, destroyed families, ended marriages and the list goes on. As with any addiction it's usually a cover up for something thats bothering one deep down inside even if they don't know what that is. For me, it was facing reality with my illnesses. I am still working on that but it's getting a little easier for me to realize I can't run from it anymore.

Having said this, I am happy to announce that I seem to have broken my addiction to QVC, online shopping and mostly all shopping for "wants" instead of needs. I had some major help though. God. I prayed and prayed and He answered those prayers. Now I can't say I am not tempted anymore, of course I am but now I have the God given strength to say no I don't need that or to really think about a purchase before I make it.. I ask myself, "do I really need this?", "Do we really have the money to spend on this?" "How many of these do I already own?" "When is enough, enough?" If, I find myself perusing a website on a mission to spend, by the time I am done asking myself those questions 99.9% of the time I close the web site without buying anything. I have finally accepted that because we live on a fixed income, it is not alright to spend more than we have because , "hey, we can always borrow against next months checks and worry about it then". I have realize it is more important to have all we 'need" each month more than it is to have what "I want" each month at the expense of something we need.

In the last few months I have begun couponing. Yes, like many I have watched TLC's TV show, "Extreme Couponing" which really is not reality. Its a fantasy because anyone knows you can not do a "normal" food shopping and save all that money..Plus, most stores have changed their coupon policies. They no longer double coupons, triple coupons have gone the way of the dinosaur and using more than one coupon on the same item rarely exists except, on this TV show which I am sure the stores outright disregard their own coupon policies just so they will be on TV.. Don't believe me? Try doing what some of the people profiled on that show do and see how far you get..

For myself, I am a 'normal couponer" and this month I finally got to put it into practice. We do our food shopping for the entire month instead of by the week. When you're on a fixed income it's easier to do it this way. Anyhow, Between my trips to Food Lion, Krogers and Walmart in the last 3 days between store cards and coupons we managed to save $161.00 dollars off our food bills. We were also able to stock up on Dog Food which, when you have 7 dogs gets quite expensive every month. So, I have begun a small stockpile and will continue next month. The difference between "normal stock pilers" and the "Obsessed" is, the normal people stock pile only what they use and will use. I have no need for 50 bottles of mustard or 100 bottles of hot sauce. I plan to stock up on the things that cost us the most each month that we need each month.

So there ya have it.. I went from shopping addict, to someone who wants to save and spend my money on things we need. Once in a while getting yourself something you 'want' is nice and I think you should but for me, right now it's about our needs and as long as they are met if there is anything left over maybe I'll get a want but thats down the road some..

If you're interested in learning how to use coupons the normal way, check back here on my blog in a few days and I will try and post some great web sites you can go to in order to get started..

Happy saving! :)

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~Robyn~ XO