Overspenders: Rebecca's Story
Updated: Apr 6
Excerpt from The Money Trap...
Not everyone who gets into trouble with debt from their overspending has a story as dramatic as Billy. Rebecca cannot understand how she got into so much trouble. She could list for you, chapter and verse, why each of her decisions is just the natural and right choice to make. Except that when you add them up, she has had to borrow hundreds and often thousands of dollars each month to support her spending.
Rebecca is a freelance musician and music teacher. She regularly earns about $50,000 (written in 2001) dollars per year. She regularly spends in the $60,000 per year range. Rebecca does not mean to spend more than she earns--she is forever putting herself on budgets. She just doesn't seem able to keep them. Certain things always turn out to be budget-busters, but somehow impossible to resist. She cannot understand how she earns $50,000 and is still in debt. And she is in debt to the tune of $70,000. She is a single mom with a teenage daughter. She hasn't been on a vacation in three years (something she is quick to note). She seems to imply that someone else has spent the money she now owes. But no one else spent the money. It just seems that way to Rebecca, because she feels so much like a victim in all of this. She says that dealing with the relentless calls from her creditors, and with the tidal wave of feelings that accompany the calls, is the hardest thing she has ever had to do.
When describing how she lives, however, she leaves a few things out. Most overspends do. In her case, for instance, when it is her daughter who wants something, she is rarely able to say no, no matter the cost. Her daughter does wear expensive clothes, and does have expensive lessons and trips. For Rebecca's part, she can't resist old, and very often expensive, music scores ( she justifies it by reminding herself of all the luxuries she doesn't buy). She is also partial to certain other collectibles and to decorating with unusual fabrics and furnishings. It is true she would not likely be in debt without these things--the rest of her life is lived in a fairly modest way.