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Dealing with Financial Addictions





by John Savage, Author, CFHC



Addictions

Additions is another area of financial challenges that I have found to be a disruptor in the lives of well-meaning people. I have work with some people over the years that have either been in denial and did not want to get to the root of the issue of what challenges they were facing or those who realized they have a problem, and it is disrupting every facet of their lives. Some of the additions or additive habits can easily drain one’s finances before they realize it.


Gambling – casinos are designed to make money. All the lights and sounds can be overstimulating and fun for the moment but often, people are so hyped up, they will continue spending without restraint. This can be a challenge for even the best of us.


Smoking – this is not only unhealthy, but it is also a very costly habit. The reason the government came in a taxed tobacco products is not because they care about your health, they know it is designed to be addictive and with those neurological triggers, regardless of the taxes, they know you will come back for more and are will to pay what ever prices to get the same stress relief and dopamine fix over and over, even to the point of affective what bills you pay or how much food you have in the house.


According to the CDC, the use of tobacco products has been associated with “direct medical cost” in excess of $225 billion dollars and loss productivity of $156 billion dollars.


Drinking – drinking is another addiction that can been an expensive habit, destroy breaks down families, and can destroy your health which only ads to monthly medical expenses and ultimately less expendable income.


Shopping – many people who shop a lot are trying to estate different situations such as a bad divorce, volatile home life, abuse, stress from work, or they just love the high they get from buying nice things, or things they covet but can not really afford so they put it on credit every month so they can have it. This one of course can lead into racked up credit cards, no savings, or overall poor financial habits.


Ordering food at home all the time – this can be great but now with being able to buy groceries from home, and services like Food Jets, Door Dash, Uber Eats, Safe Way home Deliveries, and more, there is no end to what you can have at your fingertips. Once you start, it can be easy to get hooked. What seems like an initial savings can turn into double what you would have paid in gas after you factor in automatic tips, service, fees, and vendor transaction fees.


Overspending on “Deals” at the grocery store – many times finding deals, using coupons, in store discounts on clearance can be great money savers but also an enticement to purchase even more food than you planed for or allocated for in your monthly budget. Many people love to use coupons but the goal is to draw you in the store and entice you to buy, which is fine, but getting overly excited to drive an extra 15 – 20 minutes away just to save on a special soap or detergent is not always recommended unless it is more of a health concern to allergies or other environmental sensitivities.

Buying shoes and clothes ever month.


There are many other addictive behaviors as well. Often the root cause is from a "life event," anxiety from a job, or stress at home or in relationships. There is always a root cause because we often do things that make us feel good at lease in the moment. There is a dopamine affect that happens that can bring a sense of peace and joy to help us escape the realities of life or certain circumstances we are facing that feel beyond our immediate control.


With time, patience, and discipline, the situations can be overcome as they so often are by many other people everyday who know what it’s like to walk in your shoes. It starts with a choice!


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