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She needs a credit card intervention

Unemployed and spending like crazy

By Karen Datko Sep 18, 2009 11:23AM

Ashley Baxter has good cause to be worried about her friend. The woman has gone on a major plastic spending spree since she became unemployed five months ago.


We'd heard that such people exist but hadn't run across a case quite like this. It's one thing to maintain your normal standard of living for appearance's sake when you're jobless. That's bad. But this seems worse. Along with the $40 lunches, $300 eyelash extensions and extremely expensive handbags, the friend is now committed to an extra $300 in monthly payments on debt that she didn't have when she was working, Ashley writes at SpendOnLife.


Those aren't living expenses, folks. Is a credit card intervention in order?


Here's what to say, Ashley writes in a post called "Intervention: When friends can't say no to credit," and it all falls under the general category of: Cut your spending drastically if you're not earning.

  • Find no-cost stress relief. Bars cost money. "For the sake of your finances don't attempt to drown your sorrows in things that will make you forget they exist," Ashley writes. Instead, as Dennis Hopper says, "You, my friend, you need a plan."
  • You can be entertained for free. The library, Hulu, long walks, volunteering -- get the picture?
  • Your currency is now time -- you've got plenty -- so if something needs done, do it yourself (and maybe charge others for the same service, Ashley advises).  

Overall, Ashley says:

Your willingness to see both the positive and negative sides to your situation will play a large factor in how quickly the situation turns around. When that occurs you don't want to find yourself much deeper in the hole than when you began.

Has it worked? Ashley's friend turns a deaf ear. "She will surely regret the unnecessary added expenses later, but the advice I've been asked for is taken less seriously than Jessica Simpson's career as an actress," Ashley says.


Do you know people like this, who use spending to cushion the psychological blow of losing a job or are just unrealistic? Would you try to sit them down for a little talk?


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