The cure for shopaholism is, obviously, underemployment. When you know exactly how much money you have–or more accurately, don’t have–you’ll learn how easy it is to resist buying stuff. Basically you have no choice. (No fair running to family for help. Be proud.) Six months on a negative budget should be enough to reprogram you. When you achieve solvency, you’ll find that you have become immune to shopping for the sake of shopping. You survived without those things, so they are not essential. Then again, some people are just naturally covetous. In which case you should probably ask what gap in your life is being filled by shopping.
The cure for overeating is to not have any food in the fridge. I discovered this when my sister, who used to do the groceries with me, moved out two years ago. I found that many times, my eating philosophy resembled the famous reason for climbing Mt Everest: Because it’s there. If the food isn’t there, you don’t eat it. Or you’ll have to get dressed and leave the house to buy food, which is an inconvenience, so you just stay in and forget about eating. You may realize that you weren’t even hungry in the first place. All we have in the house are oatmeal, bananas, coffee, and catfood. So far I have not been tempted to try the catfood.
The cure for credit card debt is to cut the damn cards, pay them off, and not use them again until you can pay your monthly balance in full. Lots of people harbor the fantasy that they can pay off their debts while using their cards. Duh, you’re just borrowing more money. The minimum-payment-due thing is particularly insidious; before you know it, your entire income goes to them. The “This card is for emergencies only” plan doesn’t work. It’s amazing how many things you end up classifying as “emergencies”: trips to Paris, handbags, books you still haven’t read. I aspire to live on what old ladies refer to as “kass basis”.
The cure for the unfortunate habit of losing one’s cellphone is, according to a taxi I rode, a fine. A sign posted on the windshield advised passengers to make sure they had their phones when they got out of the cab, because if they left it there, they would be charged P300. The warning went on to say that this was “to give lesson to the owner”. I have a friend who used to lose his phone regularly. I said, Are you sure you lost all those phones, or are you going to start ringing one of these days?