Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Saturday, February 20, 2016

"6 Signs You’re a Shopaholic"/ "Losing your job is miserable, so it's essential to keep cool"

Oct. 12, 2015 "6 Signs You’re a Shopaholic": I cut out this article by Gail Vaz- Oxlade (TV host of 'Til Debt do Us Part) from Metro on May 26, 2014.  Here are the signs and here are the solutions:

1. Spending makes you feel rich. You like showing off that you’ve got money to spend. As counterintuitive as it may seem, some people become chronic spenders out of a fear of poverty. It’s a can be a self-esteem thing too. If you have a trophy kitchen but you’re not cooking, take it as a sign.

2. You have ALL the toys. You may not be in the red, but your closet is jammed to the rafters with stuff. Chronic spending is often unconscious spending, so you may not even know you’re doing it. Take a look around. Do you seem to have a version of every popular trend?

3. A $5,000 credit limit means you have $5,000 to spend. Not to put too fine a point on it, but your credit limit is not actually money in your pocket. If your credit card balance runs close to your credit limit every month, consider yourself a chronic spender.

4. Shopping makes you happy. I hate to burst your bubble, but shopping isn’t going to make up for a crappy childhood. Nor will it cure an unhappy career, a disintegrating relationship or anything else that ails you emotionally. If you’re buying to feel better or out of a sense of entitlement, you’re spending for the wrong reasons.

5. Your favorite phrase is “Oh, why not?” All of us fall prey to impulse shopping from time to time. The problem for people who can’t curb their desire for immediate gratification is that they’re not prioritizing. They’ve lost (or never had) the ability to figure out if they can do without, so, but for a whopping salary, they’re a centimeter away from destitution.

6. Your theme song is “Don’t worry, be happy.” You don’t like to think about money. So you don’t. You never bother to check your receipts. You don’t keep a running balance of what you’ve spent. You just go blissfully along, running up a new credit card balance. Even if you pay it off faithfully, you’re luckier than you are smart.

If you think you might be out of control, try the following:

Figure out your buying patterns. Take an inventory of what you own. If you have 30 pairs of jeans, only five of which you wear regularly, avoid the jeans rack.

Quell the urge. Postpone buying what you think you want for 24 hours.

Cut back. If you always buy two or three, buy only one.

Simplify. Buy only the basic necessities such as food and transportation and keep track of every penny you spend.

Quit cold turkey. Freeze your credit cards in a bucket of water and pay for everything with cold, hard cash. No cheating with a debit card!

"Losing your job is miserable, so it's essential to keep cool": I cut out this article by Gail Vaz- Oxlade in the Metro on Nov. 3, 2014.  Here's an excerpt of her article about money.  There is another half about job search which you can click on the link to read:

Job loss comes with two big stressors. First, there is the financial stuff that you need to figure out. Second, there is the emotional misery that you must wade through. Either piles of poop can sink you so above all else it is very, very important that you keep a cool head.

When you lose your job, apply for Employment Insurance benefits right away. Since it can take several weeks before you see a penny, the faster you do this, the less amount of time you’ll be scrambling for cash. If you have received a severance, this will affect when you EI benefits will start coming. A delay in the start of the claim will result in an extension at the other end of the same number of weeks and your EI claim can be extended by up to one year. However if you receive a severance payout of two years or more, you won’t be entitled to EI. Severance or separation pay is paid out in a number of different forms and each is handled differently by the EI system. You need to speak to your HR department to get the lowdown on how you’ll be affected.

Speaking of what you may get from your employer, check how long your benefits will stay in place and if you’ve got any vacation/sick pay coming. And if you’re entitled to reimbursement for expenses, file an expense report right away. While your employer is feeling rotten at having to let you go, ask for a glowing letter of recommendation.

Now it’s time to sit down with your fam to discuss what’s going to be different. This should include your immediate family AND extended family. No point in pretending everything is A-OK. Brave and strong you might be, but accepting help when you need it the most from people who love you the most is exactly what family is supposed to be about.

Yes, you should tell the kids. You’ll have to tailor your communication to your children based on their ages. But they’ll overhear the adults talking, they’ll feel the stress and they’ll internalize it if you don’t address it directly. So tell ‘em. Just reassure them that while some things are going to have to change, you are going to do whatever it takes to make sure the family is safe.

Since you’ve been counting on the income just lost to make ends meet, you’ll need to look for ways to reduce your expenses so that you can live within your means until you find another job. This may mean making several budgets. The first may include your severance. Once that ends and you’re relying solely on EI, you’ll need a second budget. If you find work quickly – maybe not the bestest job, but one that keeps food flowing – then you may need yet another budget.

Find as many places as you can to trim back. Cut your clothing budget completely, except for kid essentials. Ditto your entertainment, gifts, and all other non-essential expenses. Trim back on food. Trim way back on communication (telephone, cell, internet, and cable or satellite).

Remember, a budget isn’t something you make and then try to squeeze yourself into. Nope, a budget is your plan for how you’re going to use the money you have. Now that you have less, you must get creative. Is daycare still an option with one partner out of work, or will you swing-shift to take care of the kids at home while upgrading skills and job-hunting? Or will you both take on part-time work to keep the kids in daycare so you don’t lose your spaces?


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