April 22, 2013

Emotional Spending..

Do you? Have you? I have and, obviously still do by my fall on Thursday of last week..

Some may ask, what causes me to do that? In a word? Grief. It all began around the year 2000. I had just lost my mom in 1999 to pancreatic cancer. She had been sick for a bit but we didn't know why and the doctors couldn't figure it out. By the time they did she was given six months to live and, the doctors were right. My mom passed away almost six months to the day after her diagnosis. I was my moms full time care giver as we moved her in with me. My mom was also my best friend in the entire world. She had just turned 56 two months before I lost her.

The relationship between myself and my mom was so deep and tight because, when I was nine years old and my father was thirty six, he died suddenly of a massive heart attack. One day he was there and then the next he wasn't. As a little girl this did a number on my psyche. In a matter of hours my entire life was changed, my security in the world was gone. The man who always made everything okay no matter what happened was just.....gone.. never returning. So my mom and I became extremely close. Over the years as I grew up, while my mom still disciplined me from time to time we were more best friends. I shared everything with her. Even when I was teenager, things that most kids would be afraid to tell their parent? I told mine... We did everything together. When I moved out and she moved in with her boyfriend we were always on the phone 2, 6 times a day. We spent almost every weekend together. As you can see, it is as I said. An extremely close relationship.

When I got sick at the age of 22 it was my mom who took over (my ex was useless in this capacity) she did everything possible for me and let me tell you, it was pure hell. She went through hell with me over and over again..So in 1999 while we knew she was ill we never ever expected to get the diagnosis we did nor the prognosis. I, just like my mom had always done in a crisis, kicked into gear and did what I had too never stopping to mourn, never stopping to feel sorry for myself. The "do what needs to be done switch' flipped on and I never stopped. Well then she passed away and that is when it all fell down on me. I withdrew into a massive black hole. I was completely numb. So I turned to spending. I bought almost everything you can think of.. I got hooked on QVC and HSN and just spent and spent and spent. This went on for years...

I think I will stop here because there is much more to this post than just what I've shared up until now. So if you're still interested and would like to know more, check back tomorrow.

Can you relate to any of this?


  1. Oh Honey, yes, I can't tell you how much I relate.

  2. Emotional spending is a real thing, so don't feel bad. Some turn to emotional eating, some turn into addictions, self harm, or controlling others. But the good thing is that you're moving up and away from it. Grief is a very strong trigger. I myself have never been much of an emotional spending (OK, fine. I do buy a chocolate bar about once every few months when I'm just in a very foul mood), but I try to keep my money separate from myself.

  3. I know that emotional spending is a terrible cycle. I have a friend that has suffered off and on for years from extreme depression. She also nursed her Mom through bone cancer until she passed away and her Dad also was killed when she was about 7 or 8 years old and the kids were put into state care because her Mom couldn't handle it. She went back to her Mom after 3 years.

    She ended up getting counseling because she finally admitted to her hubby how deep in dept there were. They ended up refinancing their house to pay off all the credit card debt. She was hooked on QVC. She quit spending for about a year and then started again because it was easier than dealing with the emotional heartache. (during that time her oldest son committed suicide-and I know she felt guilty about it). Anyway, long story short..she spent for another few years. Thank God she has the husband she has. He,once again, refinanced their home and worked hours and hours of overtime to keep them going. She finally got a handle on it and no longer spends like she did. It is really an addiction-just like any other and usually the only way to stop is to stop cold turkey. It's hard, isn't it? You went through a lot of trauma at a young age-but you did it-you pulled through and you can do this too, Robyn, and you will be stronger for it- xo Diana

  4. I know only too well about emotional spending. My father was handicapped and had gotten himself and my Mom in such deep debt that when he passed away they were nearly $100,000 in debt. I worked hard to help my mother pay that off instead of looking for professional help to avoid taking the debt on myself. I paid for it too with a bankruptcy and foreclosure of my own home. I still have moments where I go out and overspend because I am feeling down or discouraged. The last few weeks have been discouraging for me as I realize that I have worked for 45 years and am now retired, am a caregiver for my mother and have NO retirement income and only $25 in a regular savings account. It is tough, Robyn, and you have seen your fair share of grief and stress as well. We just need to keep on keeping on and you are doing that. Good luck to both of us.

  5. Robyn, emotional spending is horrible; I knew a woman who bought $80K worth of "nothing" before she finally stopped. She started coming to me, asking for help, at $10K and then for every $10K she added. I'd tell her, "let's have a credit card cutting party" but she'd never listen. My heart was broken for her; she was so lost.

    Re credit cards...if you call the ones you owe the most, you could ask them what they'd take to close the account. A friend, who works for a lawyer, who spends her days calling credit card companies and asking what they'd take. The figures range from 20% to 75%...a vast difference.

  6. yikes, meant to finish before I hit send...don't beat yourself up. losing your Mom was and is devastating and you've been hit emotionally.

    btw, if you live in SC, you could call Santee Cooper or whoever your elec company is and ask if they have a investment program for people who have elec accounts with them. then, ask if they have a DRIP program for those accounts. utility companies used to be known as the "widows and orphans" stock but they give steady dividends when you need them most...in the future. VEPCO or Dom Resources in VA, is a great utility and I've had stock w/them for decades.


Please leave your comments, I love hearing from you! :)
~Robyn~ XO