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home : columns : dear harriette October 20, 2020

8/21/2020 10:46:00 AM
Compulsive shopper needs to slow down

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am always shopping. Whether it is for myself or someone else, I find myself gathering items in a store that I see fit to have but may not necessarily need at that point in time. I never go to an event or friend's home empty-handed, and when it comes to birthdays, I believe that it is always polite to give a gift -- even if small -- if I am celebrating with someone. Every time I pay off my credit card, the next week I find the balance is right back where it was the week before. I've come to find that I just buy too often! How do I put a cap on what I buy and stop giving out gifts all the time? Any suggestions? -- Shopaholic

DEAR SHOPAHOLIC: Compulsive shopping is considered to be an addiction, much like excessive drinking, gambling or smoking. It is real and hard to control. This doesn't mean you should give in to it. Just know that your behavior seems to be out of your control, and you should get help to learn how to alter your behavior. Much like Alcoholics Anonymous, there is an organization that may be able to help you; exists for people just like you. In a community of peers, you can talk about your compulsions and discover healthier options for how to spend your time.

Some people make exhaustive lists of what they need to do and how they intend to spend their money. By following their lists, they set themselves up for the possibility of success. Only what is on the list is allowed for them to do, including what they do with their money. This could include a cap on what you spend on gifts. Consider making gifts yourself as well -- including home-cooked food and handmade cards. Get creative.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am in my mid-30s, and with the quarantine, I began to search for a way to earn a certificate online to start my own business, but I am not sure what direction to go in. I pretty much know everything about cars, mechanics, design and how to sell, but I can't seem to figure out how to focus my plan. What's the best way to start a business? -- Starting a Business

DEAR STARTING A BUSINESS: Write down everything that interests you and what types of opportunities are available in those areas. Figure out where there is a need. I was told years ago by a successful entrepreneur that if you can identify a need and fill it, you will make money. People want their problems solved. As you consider what specifically you want to do, be sure to identify a way to help resolve problems, and your chances for success will increase exponentially.

Since you know you are interested in cars and the mechanical side of things, figure out what you can do in that space that will differentiate you from others in your area. If you can carve out a specialty that will draw clients to you, you automatically create a unique space for yourself. Just make sure that the need you identify has enough potential customers to be sustainable over time.

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