My Biggest Money Problem $999.99 Giveaway

by Jon Dulin · 7 comments

retirementEveryone faces money problems at one point or another in their lives. It may be due to loss of a job, or a medical issue. In my case, the issue was overspending. If we travel in the Way-Back Machine when I was graduating college, we will find me searching for a job. It took me some time but I found a job. It paid me $27,500. I lasted less than a month due to the super long commute and the job just not being the right fit for me. Somewhere along the way, I picked up this false notion that once I graduate college, I will find a job and make $70,000 a year. That fact that this was not the case left me with a sense of depression.

Out of Control Spending

I soothed my depression by shopping. Yes, a guy that shopped. I would buy clothes, electronics, movies, and CDs. I maxed out a credit card. That was a mini-wake up call, but not a big enough one. I thought that to solve this problem, I would open a new card, transfer the balance (this was the time when you could transfer balances for no fees). I had a nice two year 0% interest rate on the new card. Now, I can just focus on paying off that card over time. This allowed me to use less of my savings each month to pay off the debt. Problem solved. But, the problem was not solved. I didn’t even address my overspending. I quickly found me having thousands of dollars in debt on the new credit card!

My Wake Up Call

My true wake up call came one day when I was shopping. I was looking at a jacket and it was almost as if a light bulb went off. I questioned why I was buying this jacket. I had a perfectly fine jacket at home. I had no need for this jacket. I realized I was using the “high” of new items to make me feel better. The problem was that after a few days, that high went away and I was right back in the downward spiral.

Fixing Me

I looked at all of the stuff I accumulated and it crushed me knowing what I was doing. I vowed to change my ways and I did. I came the to conclusion that it isn’t the end of the world that I wouldn’t find a job making $70,000 tomorrow. I could get there, it would just take some time.

Soon after that, I found a part time job. I began budgeting, saving a little bit from each pay check to build up my emergency fund and taking whatever was left over after expenses (which wasn’t much) to my credit card debt. A couple of months later, I found a full time job. I ended up working that job and keeping my part time job. (Note: the part time job was in retail and I was working both jobs during the Christmas season.) I was working close to 80 hours per week. It was rough, but working all of those hours made me not want to go out during my little free time. This help me to avoid all unneeded spending.

I used the entire part time earnings to pay down debt as well as a good portion from my full time job as well. It took me some time, but I eventually paid off all of that debt. Looking back now, I am grateful for the lesson learned as I think of where I could be financially had I not over spent. If you are suffering from overspending, take it from me who was in your shoes: don’t be ashamed of it. Acknowledge it and work to find the root of the issue. The sooner you do so, the sooner you can get your finances back on track.

The $999.99 Giveaway

I am joining up with a handful of other personal finance bloggers in giving away $999.99 cash! This giveaway will run through February 28th.

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I am thankful for the chance to be part of this great giveaway!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian @ Luke1428 February 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Good post. I have the same challenge in that when I get upset, down or frustrated I want to sooth my pain with shopping. I’ve learned to recognize and suppress it over time, but I know it is still there waiting to rear its ugly head.
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moneysma February 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm

The good though is that you recognize it and be proactive in stopping it.

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My Financial Independence Journey February 5, 2013 at 7:52 pm

When I was younger I didn’t have as tight control over my spending as I do now. What was amazing is how much stuff I got rid of when I moved. Stuff I hadn’t used in years, or wasn’t planning on using, or only bought to satisfy a short-term interest or desire. And some large collections of books, DVDs and CDs.

Now I keep much tighter control over my spending. Probably too tight. But there are no more collections and my last move was super easy, with very little stuff thrown out or given away.
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Chris @ Stumble Forward February 5, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Great story. That’s pretty much what happened with me I got to the point were I was living paycheck to paycheck and I made my mind up that I didn’t want to live like that anymore. So I sold off all of the toys ( snowmobiles, timeshare, music equitment) and started living on less and came one big realization that living on less is actually better than having everything.
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moneysma February 6, 2013 at 12:39 pm

It’s funny how that works isn’t it?

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Johnny Moneyseed February 9, 2013 at 9:52 am

Your story reminds me of myself. I never dreamed of a $70k/year job though. I learned the hard way that you can be debt free and build WEALTH making only $30k/year with the right tools and mindset.
Johnny Moneyseed recently posted..Your Money or Your Life: Part 1My Profile

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moneysma February 9, 2013 at 8:58 pm

You can do it, you just have to make the decision you want to do it and nothing will stand in your way. It won’t be easy, but it can be done.

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