Monday, April 28, 2008

Just how does one learn to respect money?

The g.a. combo book says “A desire to have all the good things in life without any great effort on their part seems the common character pattern of problem gamblers.”

I’m not sure about the ‘without any great effort’ part….for me anyway…I have always been a hard worker…


I had a desire to have all of the good things in life…regardless of whether or not I could afford them…and I BOUGHT them…regardless of whether or not I could afford them.

I lived on credit.

I’m not just talking about my gambling…this began long before I ever started gambling…this was just how I lived.

I worked…I worked hard…so when I wanted something….I would justify it by saying just that…I worked hard, so I deserved it.


I was always sure that it’d be EASY to pay for ‘this’ or ‘that’…at some later date.

I bought an expensive fur coat when I was 19 years old.

There was a ‘special’…an interest free thing..with minimal monthly payments. I could easily afford it.

It didn’t matter that I live in the South…where it is rarely cold enough to wear a fur. I WANTED it. Period.

But….I also wanted shoes and clothes and purses and vacations…each of those things were easily justified….because the monthly payment for any particular item would be easily manageable.

But accumulated…

All of those SMALL payments….were a large amount of money.

I did not begin to appreciate money until I was forced to begin living within my means.

When I ended up in credit card debt in my twenties…I thought I was doing that by using a credit card that had to be paid off each month…but I wasn’t really….I was still putting off payment…and rationalizing buying things that I couldn’t afford..and sometimes could not pay for once the bill arrived.

The way (for me) to learn to appreciate money….was to learn to USE it.

No credit.



If I don’t have cash…I do without.

No rationalizing….no ‘planning’ how and when I will pay for this or that.
Of course…big purchases, like a home and a car must be financed.

Everything else….cash.

If I don’t have enough cash to pay for what I want or need….I must find a way to pay less for something…or cut something out.

Due to my gambling debt…this meant that I did without a LOT of things that I wanted for a long long time.

It meant…sometimes having to use old makeup that I’d tossed aside because it didn’t suit me…because I didn’t have the money to buy what I ordinarily use.

It meant…sometimes cooking hamburger helper instead of steak or roast.

It meant…buying generic instead of name brand goods.

It meant…using shampoo from the store rather than something my hairdresser sells.

It meant….not going to the hairdresser when I needed to.

It meant…no new clothes or shoes or purses.

It meant…being uncomfortable sometimes…because adjusting the thermostat was too costly.

It also meant…watching my husband and my children do without.

It meant….preparing sandwiches or leftovers for my husband to take to work for lunch…because he could no longer afford to go out with the guys for a meal.

It meant…no movie theaters or MacDonald’s Happy Meals…or new toys.

We did without for a long long time.

And now…..

Now that we COULD have credit cards again….

It means not doing so.

It means ….any money that I spend on THIS means LESS money to spend on THAT.

It means…not buying whatever I want….with intentions of paying for it at some later date.

I didn’t learn to respect money…until I stopped behaving like I have an unlimited supply of it.

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