'I'm in so much trouble," Heather wailed. "I love to shop. I shop when I'm bored, I shop when I'm in love, I shop when I deserve a reward, I shop when I feel low. Money? Money makes me feel sick."
Heather was one of Abby's new clients, and although she was earning decent money, she was up to her eyeballs in debt - to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dirhams. Yet despite her mounting bills, she still had a long, long wish list of designer clothes and luxury accessories that she wanted to buy. Put simply, Heather was consumed by consumerism.
Abby let out a deep breath. Heather was not the only one in trouble. Abby liked Heather and admired her spirit, but financially, Heather was a disaster. "Forget the Hermès bag. Forget the Louis Vuitton scarf," Abby said, the sharpness in her voice making Heather sit up and take notice. "It's time you took emotional control."
Wealth Diva SMS
Are you addicted to spending? Check the seven signs that follow. Don't worry if one or two apply to you - we're only human. But if you're living them all, you should start looking for some answers.
– You're unsure of your financial state. You have no idea what's in your account, what your interest rates are, or where you stand with your retirement income.
– You're a shopaholic. You have a tendency to habitually shop for items you don't even want or need. When you have extra money it burns a hole in your pocket. You spend just to spend.
– You always buy on credit. OK, this one isn't necessarily all bad. By all means use your credit card to get the points, but pay it off. Ignore it blindly and you're in trouble.
– You use credit to pay off credit. You try to get a quick fix on your finances and use credit to pay off credit to enable you to spend (even) more.
– You live from paycheque to paycheque. There is always more month left than money. You are outliving your earnings, you have limited or no savings and no plan to establish a savings routine.
– You buy more house or car than you need. You're caught up in a lifestyle, perhaps a case of Dubai fever, that means you live beyond your means.
– Money is your husband's concern, not yours. You spend without a second thought and leave the money matters to the man in your life. You don't consider what would happen if he wasn't around.
Making your money work
"Haven't you ever wondered what else your money could be doing for you?" Abby asked. Heather shrugged. "You mean, like, choosing a different top?" Abby couldn't help but roll her eyes. Heather was one of those "more money than sense" types. She earned too much, and a creative at heart, she spent because it felt good. She wasn't going to get her finances under control until she could control her wacky spending habits.
Abby knew just the person Heather needed to see: Sasha. Perhaps if she learnt the art of "closet confidential" she could access her creative spirit and manage to save money too. Abby handed over Sasha's mobile number and listened as she booked herself in for her first session. "Let's see if 'closet confidential' pays Heather the dividends she so desperately needs," she thought.
Janelle Malone is a writer, blogger and commentator on personal finance. You can contact her at www.womenmoneyandstyle.com for any financial questions you may have.