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Overspending due to boredom (brought on by chronic illness)

(10 Posts)
Oopsadaisydoddle Mon 25-Sep-17 19:53:05

Hi everyone,

Haven't posted on here for aaages so hope you don't mind offering advice.

I am stuck in a rut whereby I (and hubby to be fair) spend without thinking. We have consolidated in the past but still end up with a perpetual £5000 on our credit card (0% interest luckily for a good while). In fairness, we have had some house renovations done, including a new kitchen and bathroom - with money either gifted or set aside- but we always end up spending more than we allocate. We also spent nearly £1000 therapy for me to overcome bulimia and disordered eating, which I must say, was worth every penny. In truth though, that is not the main cause of overspending. It's frittering. Spending a couple of £100 on credit cards each month, kidding ourselves we would pay it off, which we did, but then we'd spend more. With the amount gradually increasing.

A few things have contributed to my spending. I have ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia and it restricts me in a lot of ways..the main one being that I am often stuck in the same four walls because I can't work anymore. I am lucky that I am able to 'potter' and do the odd bits, but most stuff leaves me exhausted and in pain. So, I order things off Amazon and eBay like they're going out of fashion! Sometimes it's stuff we need. Sometimes it's stuff for my hobby (I make and decorate cakes when I can). Some of the stuff I do actually need for making the cakes but I have made a few expensive purchases that were not really necessary.

We do have a YNAB account, but often don't bother looking at it before spending. Our groceries are expensive because I struggle to cook and hubby is often too tired after work (he has quite a busy, mentally taxing job). So we end up with takeaways (which of course aren't cheap).

My kids are picky eaters, in the sense they like opposite things to each other. One example is my son loves spag bol, yet my daughter doesn't like tomato based things. I often suffer from nausea too so in the past, when I have prepped something for dinner, I often end up borking at the thought of it by the time it's cooked.

We've recently started buying a lot of food from M&S-I find it 'safe' for my eating issues as in my opinions it's better quality than the other shops we have here. We use their offers so it actually works out quite reasonable, especially as I know I'll eat the food.

As I said earlier, my main issue is the boredom. Spending gives me something to do and something to look forward to. I don't have many friends anymore because I can't go out and socialise like I used to. Because I was off sick a lot before I eventually left work, my work friendships took a downward turn too. I often felt like the odd one out because I was the only one on odd hours and had my lunches and breaks on my own.

I would give anything to be well, be able to go out and about with friends more (if I had some lol) and I would love to go back to work.

I don't really know what I want from posting but I needed to get it off my chest. I know I need to stop spending on crap, but I worry I will be even more bored.

Just to add, we have a decent income so should be able to have a decent standard of living. I read this back and it may come across as me being depressed (I'm not, I don't think-just frustrated)! I take anti anxiety meds and I am actually 'ok', I just feel I need to stimulate my brain somehow. The trouble with that though, is the fact I often don't have the energy or the brain power.

If you got this far, thank you.

tangledyarn Mon 25-Sep-17 20:00:19

I don't have any particular advice but just wanted to say I can really relate. I have a number of chronic health problems and spend a lot of time in bed/stuck in the house and have got into a really unhealthy pattern of compulsive spending.. mostly on clothes but other frittering too. I know it's because I generally feel v sad and anxious about my situation, self esteem at rock bottom and am struggling to find meaning in my life. Things that I am trying to do to work on it are to try and save for something particular, work on decluttering which focuses my mind on how much I am wasting and generally trying to be more mindful so I am spending consciously rather than out of boredom. I think it's a good thing to address but also important to recognise that things are really tough for you so don't beat yourself up.

GrasswillbeGreener Mon 25-Sep-17 20:06:41

Can you try to restrict your discretionary spending to creative hobbies that you will sell the results of?

Oopsadaisydoddle Mon 25-Sep-17 20:14:07

Thank you both for the replies.

Tangledyarn, sorry you're experiencing health issues too. Your tips make sense and I will definitely see if that helps. You habe also summed up how I feel.

GWBG-thanks. I do get paid for my cakes (I did actually register and get inspected as I wanted to do it 'properly', but I haven't got the energy to do many so it's not profitable. Also, DH has to help me with some things (lifting, rolling icing etc). Caking is my passion and I love doing it, but it's also lonely because I am at home on my own still.

I've often thought of trying other hobbies, like crafting, scrapbooking etc, but I find it overwhelming and end up spending loads of money on equipment but not actually having the right things to make anything!smile

AlphaStation Mon 25-Sep-17 20:14:27

I'm sorry you are ill with such a difficult disease. If you need something to do, why not explore sites such as Coursera.org and Edx.org ? To spend money will never fill your need of feeling busy and need of company. Take to heart the 1938 quote from "The Sword and the Stone"; "The best thing for being sad," replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake in the middle of the night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting."

Nuttynoo Mon 25-Sep-17 20:18:35

You need more counselling/cbt. Seems like you have an addictive personality. In the meantime, remove your credit cards from all online sites, cut them up and call the card company to ask they don’t reissue new ones. Also ask the bank to do the same with your debit cards. Then deal with cash. If you have to go to the bank to take cash out, it should put you off frittering.

Oopsadaisydoddle Mon 25-Sep-17 20:19:55

Also, I cannot see an option to 'thank' the replies so apologies if there is and I am missing it. I am grateful for anyone commenting.

I also have fibromyalgia. I'm a single parent on a very low budget. When I was on benefits I got into bad habits with spending, as I couldn't really build up savings. I used to either buy things I didn't 100% need or take the kids on trips.
When I got work, I had to adjust to being able to save.
I changed to a TSB account which let me monitor my spending on different categories and set targets for it. It also takes a few pennies off my current account when I spend, and adds it to my savings.
I set myself savings goals and gradually worked towards them.
I found I replaced my compulsive spending with compulsive saving, but over time rather than all at once. I didn't feel like I was depriving myself.
It's really hard to use willpower when your reserves are sapped with chronic pain, crap sleeping etc. I had to change my habits without forcing it.
I saved up about £3000 a year on a quite low income, and I pay off my credit card every month.
I also use my compulsive nature to do online surveys and things www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/make-money-surveys
I don't know if I'll be able to tail back on compulsions altogether but I did find that channeling myself in a different direction helped.
I made specific goals so I could work towards things I wanted - I've been saving for the deposit for a house.

When I read your post it's all about spending less, and like you're angry at yourself. If you tried saving a little every day, even a pound, and treating yourself with something you've saved up for, it might turn saving into a positive experience.

I'm also doing a course on futurelearn right now - they're not too draining and they make me feel productive.

Sorry if I'm repeating things others have said - just thought some of this might be useful.

Oopsadaisydoddle Mon 25-Sep-17 21:04:59

Thank you Nuttynoo. Not sure about addictive personality (but not saying you're wrong-I just don't know). I also have diagnosed OCD, so I imagine that is contributing to my black and white take on things. I am a fan of CBT/counselling, but I'm not sure how I would benefit from it at this time.

SLPA..thank you for such a detailed response. I am sorry you suffer too. Compulsive saving sounds like a very good alternative. You sound like you have done brilliantly, considering your income and single parenthood. I know how difficult it can be. I was a single parent to my eldest and I often found I did 'fun' (expensive) things to compensate for the lack of consistency from my son's dad.
I wish you lots of luck in your house buying.

Oopsadaisydoddle Mon 25-Sep-17 21:13:13

Also, yes, I do feel angry at myself, I think. Like we've been in this situation for years and I still haven't got it under control. Never being in 'serious' debt in relation to our income and expenditure, but never getting rid of it.

I've been sat pondering in between reading and replying and I think if I could meet new people, it might solve the problem. Thing is, I joined that meetup thing but ended up either being busy or too exhausted and in pain to go out. Same with my ME support groups. There are a couple in my area but they're on an afternoon, which is usually my worst time of day. I still sleep during the day you see, and it tends to be then.

I shall have to rethink that. Maybe try and force myself one day just to have some interaction with other people!

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