Broke-Ass Financial Coaching: Shameful Spending
While being young, broke and beautiful is all well and good, some people’s finances are more jacked than others. That’s why we’ve invited Betsy Crouch (aka Coach $izzle) to come onboard and dole out some much needed advice. She is a professional financial coach after all. If you’ve got a question you’d like answered please email her firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe your question will be the next one answered.
“Coach Sizzle, how do you think I would know if I was addicted to _____?” – b.e.
Commonly I get into conversations with clients about addictions in the context of shameful spending. A client asked me this question recently in relationship to losing money gambling but many different things could be substituted into the blank space. Many people have something that they spend money on that they are not proud of. I have observed clients using a whole host of financial strategies to enable damaging spending habits.
I am not a mental health professional or a therapist, and I am in no position to tell someone whether I think they are “addicted” to gambling or anything for that matter. In this case and in many cases I recommend clients seek professional guidance and support. If you feel like your spending in a specific area may be a problem then it is worth addressing seriously. Even if a professional tells you that you are not technically “addicted” to something, if you feel like it is something that is creating challenges in your life or keeping you from how you would like to feel or live, then look at it, confide in a friend, and ask for help.
Here are the some of the financial habits I have observed among clients who have a self proclaimed “problem area,” of spending in their life. If you are using these habits to enable something that you feel is damaging to your health and wellness physically, mentally, or emotionally, then I would suggest taking a closer look at it.
1. Making different rules for x money and y money:
I have had multiple clients tell me, “oh yeah, this money that I make from my main job, this can go towards debt and savings, and the money I make from DJing ‘doesn’t count’.” You can really do whatever you want with your money. If you are willing to lose $1200 per month gambling, and you have those funds, go for it, if you want to spend $500 per month going out to bars that is your choice. Saying that the money “doesn’t count,” sounds like you don’t want to look at it, know how much is there or how much is spent on what. Having separate sets of rules for money is not inherently bad. However if you think it is a problem then it is a problem for you, no matter what anyone else says.
2. Resisting tracking spending:
This is the biggest and most common one. “Oh, I don’t want to know how much I spend on THAT.” Really? If you had a child and they went out with their friends would you just not want to know what they were doing or where they were going? If you are like most people on the planet your money is hard earned and you make money from giving your time. Why are you afraid to know where your money is going?
Here is the question, if I said I was going to track every penny you spend for a month and then publish that report publicly online, would you be fine with that? I have found this to be a great litmus test to find out how comfortable and secure people are with their spending and savings.
3. Purposely lying about spending to themselves or others:
“How much did you spend on Saturday night?” “Oh, I spent $30,” and you really spent $108. Have you ever had that experience? I have. Lying closely follows shame. By the way, you may say “Betsy I don’t drink, I don’t gamble, etc.” You don’t need to be buying illegal substances for your spending to be a problem. You may be buying baseball cards or crafts supplies. If you like to go to JoAnn Fabrics and make craft projects on the weekend, and that is how you want to spend your money, then own it, accept it, and plan for it. If you are ashamed or spending compulsively, what would you ideally like to experience?
Finally, there are many options for help and support if you feel like you need it.
San Francisco: Haight Ashbury free clinic for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Counseling
New York: Please comment below with recommended free counseling services in NYC.
FREE addiction help line: Click Here
Gambling addiction help line: Click Here