Los Angeles bankruptcies can stem from a wide range of issues, from an unexpected medical problem to a foreclosure resulting from a predatory loan.
L.A. Bankruptcy Attorney Vincent Howard has also accepted clients, however, whose financial problems were the result of an addiction to shopping.
Even though approximately 5 percent of people struggle with this problem, shopping addictions are addressed in popular culture as a light-hearted, non-issue. In fact, our culture celebrates materialism and rewards you for having nice clothing or the latest gadget.
But anyone who has grappled with a compulsion to buy knows that it can be greatly destructive. In fact, out-of-control spending can quickly lead to maxed out credit cards, incessant calls from debt collectors and an overwhelming feeling of stress.
Bankruptcy can help.
In order for you not to fall into a similar trap, though, even after bankruptcy, it's important to understand the root causes of your spending, and seek help in curbing it.
The first step is to seek someone out who you can talk about it with. That might be a friend, but if you may also consider therapy or a 12-step program for shopping addicts. Having someone to help you understand why you shop, and share your frustrations and your triumphs, can help you avoid future pitfalls.
Secondly, be deliberate in choosing other activities. When you go to a mall to spend time, the whole atmosphere is a den of temptation. Consider instead filling your time with activities such as joining a book club, playing a sport or taking a cooking class. What you want to focus on are activities that won't suck you into racking up even higher debt.
Thirdly, surround yourself with people who will be supportive. Ideally, you'll have at least a few friends who know what is really going on. That way, when you are out with them, they can help steer you away from temptation.
Also, consider when you're in the moment that you may need to give yourself a time-out. Unlike addictions to alcohol or tobacco, which you give up entirely, even once you recognize a shopping addiction, you're going to need to enter a store at some point in your life. But that doesn't mean you have to overspend. It's all about not giving into that temptation. Sometimes, that means literally stepping outside. Stores are designed to suck you in, make you want to buy. It's a thrill. That's why it's important to separate yourself, at least momentarily. Give yourself time to really think before any purchase over a certain amount - say $50. You may even consider waiting a full 24 hours before making a decision. By doing this, you'll be far less likely to cave to impulse shopping, which is what ensnares many people in a cycle of vicious debt.
Finally, recognize your weaknesses. For some people, it's shoes. For others, it's expensive golf outings. Knowing what it is can help you indulge in moderation. Those who need help can contact Bankruptcy Attorney Vincent Howard.
If you're facing a foreclosure and you'd like to discuss your legal options with an experienced Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney, don't hesitate to contact Vincent Howard and the team at HOWARD LAW. For a consultation or to learn more, send us a message online or call 1-800-872-5925.
Are You Addicted to Shopping?, By Kimberly Palmer, U.S. News & World Report