Here are some helpful resources for compulsive spenders.
12-Step Recovery Programs
All three of these programs can help you recover from this hopeless and demoralizing condition. Check out phone meetings if there are no face-to-face meetings nearby:
(Please don’t let the name deter you. You don’t have to have debt to find recovery in this program. Remember, a spender is just a debtor who hasn’t run out of money yet.)
(Again, don’t let the name turn you away. This program has helped many compulsive spenders find their recovery path.)
(No phone meetings … yet, but they provide everything you need to start one.)
Conference-Approved Debtors Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous Literature
Read the Big Book online for FREE
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
Ways and Means – The DA Quarterly Newsletter
Click here to go to the DA website. Scroll down and you will see links to the current and past issues on the right side of the page.
Issues are in PDF format.
A Currency of Hope
DA website literature page (Note: some of the pamphlets are free PDF downloads)
These are not 12-step programs, but these sites can be of value to those in or out of 12-step recovery programs:
GreenPath Financial Wellness
They are the only debt consolidation company I trust because I know three people who were helped by GreenPath and got out of debt. In addition, I had two sessions with them, but by that point, I had already consolidated and they weren’t able to do anything more. I was very impressed with them. They are a non-profit. And here is the Consumer Affairs website where they have an overall five star satisfaction rating.
Debbie Roes provides very helpful information for shopaholics. While she is not 12-step focused, Debbie offers a lot of helpful information based on her own experience, strength, and hope.
(I wrote an article for this site awhile back on why Debtors Anonymous is not just for debtors.)
Site for compulsive shoppers (part of the Shulman Center). Though the site is called “Shopaholics Anonymous,” please be aware that it is not a traditional 12-step program, but part of the Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending, and Hoarding. I have spoken at length with Terrence Shulman, read his book, and believe his heart is in the right place, and he has a lot of good information to help compulsive spenders and shopaholics.
Adrenaline Addicts Anonymous Little Big Book
Fantastic 58 page booklet that speaks to the idea that even after we achieve abstinence/sobriety/solvency, we may still use adrenaline as a drug, along with tools to help change that.
A Program for You: A Guide to the Big Book’s Design for Living by Anonymous (but this is really the book version of the “Joe and Charlie” AA Steps workshop)
Drop the Rock: Removing Character Defects – Steps 6 & 7 by Bill P., Todd W., and Sara S.
How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously by Jerrold Mundis
Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Claire Weekes
This is a wonderful, simple approach to dealing with anxiety and in keeping with working Steps 6 & 7.
Forgive Us Our Debts, Please! 365 Humorous Daily Meditations for Debtors, Compulsive Spenders and Underearners by Misti B.
Another daily reader written from a first person perspective by a compulsive debtor and underearner.
Letting Go of Debt: Growing Richer One Day at a Time by Karen Casanova.
Daily reader written by the wife of a compulsive gambler.
Bought Out and Spent! Recovery from Compulsive Shopping and Spending
Contains lots of imaginative and useful writing prompts. Excellent resource. Read my review on Amazon.
Spending Plan Software I Use and Love
YNAB (short for “You Need a Budget”)
YNAB has just started an affiliate program where I will get free months when someone signs up. You don’t have to use my link, but I wanted to let you know. You have 34 days to evaluate for free.
In my opinion and experience, this is absolutely the best software for DA spending plans. I am an expert at Excel and after struggling for years tweaking Excel to do what I want, I was told about this software by someone in DA and never looked back.
I have helped numerous DA members with this simple program and everyone has ended up finding it the easiest, simplest way to manage their spending plan and accumulate in categories.
Other Spending Plan Software
Excel Deluxe “Envelopes” Check Register Spreadsheet
(with One-Click Sort, plus Reconcile Section): $11.95
I played around with this and found it to be a really great option. The only downside for me was that you are limited to only 50 categories. You can test it out with the free version, which only allows five categories.
Every Dollar (Dave Ramsey’s solution)
There are plenty more … just ran out of energy. 🙂