Women are notoriously bad at talking about money: how much they make, how much they spend, and negotiating higher salaries. Though women usually handle more day-to-day costs, like doing household shopping and paying bills, economic experts agree that women should be taking the lead on long-term financial planning more often, as well. So Glamour magazine created this podcast, She Makes Money Moves, hosted by editor-in-chief Samantha Barry, to tackle debt, credit cards, salary parity, and more to help women make smart financial decisions and take control of their financial futures. On this episode, we hear Dominique Sparrow’s story of being a compulsive shopper, and how her impulsive purchases, compounded by a lot of medical debt, started to cause serious problems at home. Then, Samantha shares Dominique’s story with financial expert and host of the So Money podcast, Farnoosh Torabi, to find out what she can do to have a healthier relationship with shopping.
Dominique worked in a call center through college, living mostly on credit cards as she paid her way through school. She and her husband got married and bought a house. Then, she got pregnant, but went into congestive heart failure, requiring an open-heart surgery. Thousands of dollars in medical bills joined her already existing credit card debt. The constant daily grind of taking care of her two kids, working eight to ten hours a day, and taking care of the house led Dominique to some destructive patterns. She was “never diagnosed as a compulsive shopper,” Samantha tells us, but the signs were there: “She’d spend money when she felt anxious, stressed, or underappreciated. She bought things she didn’t need, even when she couldn’t afford them...and she hid her habits” from her family, keeping shopping bags in the trunk of her car so her husband wouldn’t see them. The debt climbed so high that Dominique lost track of it: “There was bills that I got we didn't even know were coming in, and I got to the point where I would not check my email, I would not check my mailbox," she says. "My anxiety from being in debt was so high that just, I couldn't do it.”
Together, Dominique and her husband worked out a better system of spending and saving to tackle their budget, but “though they're now in a better place financially, Dominique worries that her emotional spending could derail them again.” Samantha says. So she turns to Farnoosh for some advice. “Anyone who is grappling with emotional spending, it’s not about the money,” Farnoosh points out. “There’s some void that you’re trying to fill, and so exploring that is really worth your time.” Beyond that, look for free ways to treat yourself, like taking a free yoga class, or arranging it with your spouse to take the kids out for a few hours each week so you can have some uninterrupted leisure time; ways to get some important and much-needed self-care without spending any money. “Also, roadblocks help,” Farnoosh adds; not saving your credit card information at online stores, for example, creates an obstacle for impulse shopping. “Just having...extra effort to get my purse, get the wallet out, get the credit card out, I'm like, ‘Ah, forget it. I don't want the shirt anyway.’"
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