Mother's shopping addiction racked up a $140,000debt for her family

Shopping addict who came clean after racking up $140,000 in credit card debt over 19 years reveals she’s no longer allowed to go to stores alone and has to ask her husband for permission to spend money

  • Susan Kroslak, 42, from Ohio, developed a shopping addiction in her early 20s
  • Hairdresser began spending up to $4,200 a month on clothes, shoes and bags
  • Mother-of-three reveals how her family was able to pay off $140,000 debt 

A woman who got her family into a debt worth $140,000, has revealed how she is no longer to go into stores alone and has to ask her husband for permission to spend money.

Susan Kroslak, 42, from Ohio, developed a shopping addiction in her early 20s after blowing $2,100 on her mom’s credit card in one shopping spree. Her spending got worse after she married in 2001 and had children – now aged 11, nine and six.

The hairdresser would spend up to $4,200 a month on clothes, bags and shoes, which eventually turned into a shocking $140,000 credit card bill. 

In April 2020, Susan revealed the hidden debt to her husband and family, leading to her having to work overtime at a hair salon to pay off the hefty fee and started going to therapy.  

Susan Kroslak, 42, (pictured) from Ohio, has revealed how she was able to pay off a $140,000 debt racked up from an addiction to shopping 

Susan would shop whenever she could find a chance – during her lunch breaks at work, whilst her children took a nap, and after the family went to bed. 

‘On shopping trips, I would buy things for myself mostly. Shopping for me was my little thing I did for myself,’ Susan explained.

‘I enjoyed taking my kids and husband shopping too but that didn’t give the the hit that shopping for myself online or even sneaking away to the shops would do for me.

‘I would shop all the time – on lunch breaks from work was when I could get away to an actual store, when my kids were napping or after everyone went to bed I would shop from my phone at home.

‘I was spending anywhere between $1,400 to $4,200 per month.

‘My spending got worse after I was married because our credit limits got higher as our income potential grew. The credit was available and I took advantage of it’.

After hiding her shopping addiction from her family for 19 years, Susan had to reveal the hidden debt to her devastated husband when it peaked at $140,000.

They decide to move into a family owned home and began putting large amounts of their monthly salary towards the debt – having officially cleared it by the end of 2020.

Susan (pictured) revealed she’s unable to go shopping alone and her husband has complete control over their finances 

But Susan is still having to attend therapy sessions weekly and give complete control of her finances to her husband.

Susan said: ‘I had to set a lot of boundaries to pay the debt; all the money is funnelled through my husband so if I want something, I have to ask him and he has to give me the money.

‘It’s miraculous that I’ve managed to make it through this. I send him receipts for everything I spend because it keeps me in check.

‘A shopping addiction is a very real thing and there’s a lot of people that struggle with it.

‘I recently asked for a gym membership and he was fine with me doing that; I asked if I could get a new pair of jeans and he took me shopping. I can’t go shopping alone.

Susan (pictured) who believes her shopping addiction started at a young age, has given a lot away to have a ‘minimalistic level of clothing’

‘I am working to earn levels of freedom with our finances. It takes time to build trust but it’s so worth it. I finally feel free in my heart for the first time in my adult life.

‘I have got rid of a lot of things; I’ve sold clothes, given a lot away and really gotten down to a minimalistic level of clothing’.

Susan believes her addiction stems from having a strained relationship with her mother growing up. 

She would regularly spend money on her mother’s credit cards which was the beginning of her shopping addiction.

Susan said: ‘My parents were both raised in traumatic situations and that trauma passed along with the way they parented me.

Susan (pictured) said she would secretly spend, when her husband said no to buying something because she didn’t feel worthy of the material things 

‘My mom and I don’t have the best relationship; it’s been strained since I was 11.

‘I found worthiness in material things and proving to others that I have these expensive things; it was a way to show that I was a treasured person and it made me feel wanted and valued.

‘As I got older, it made it worse and when my husband would say no to me when I asked for something, it would translate into my brain as I’m not worthy for this stuff.

‘So, I would secretly spend and that’s where it spiralled out of control’.

Susan first came clean about her spending habits to her husband in 2006 after spending $16,200 on their joint credit card.

After she came clean, it left her family devastated but the addiction didn’t stop there.

Susan (pictured) revealed her family made a fair bit of money from selling their home, however she spent it all 

In the next 15 years, Susan would go on to spend a further $140,000 on their joint credit card, leading to the family having to make major sacrifices in order to pay off the balance.

She explained: ‘We eventually ended up moving into an apartment and we made a fair bit of money from selling our house but I spent it all.

‘We worked hard to put up to $8,400 a month towards the debt. I was doing overtime and my husband gets a good wage from work; if I didn’t spend it all we could do amazing things with our money.

‘We moved into a family home where our rent was very low which helped us massively in paying off the debt and saving.

Susan (pictured) who could’ve claimed bankruptcy, added that she wanted to work on her addiction to be able to provide for her three children

‘We paid all our debt off by the end of 2020 and it was the most amazing feeling. I had a void in my heart when I wasn’t shopping; if you’re an addict, you understand.

‘I could have claimed bankruptcy at one point if I had wanted to’.

Susan has three children, eleven, nine, and six, and wanted to work on her addiction to make sure she could provide for them growing up.

Susan also wants to help others who are also suffering from a shopping addiction.

She said: ‘The thing about being an addict is you can’t have corners to hide in so knowing my husband is monitoring the accounts on a weekly basis gives me nowhere to hide and I am constantly staying open with him so that this doesn’t happen again.

Susan (pictured) said she’s constantly being open with her husband to prevent her shopping addiction from spiraling again 

‘I would encourage people to talk to someone that they can trust and confess what’s going on with them. Addiction is something that thrives off secrecy and hiding. Bring your actions into the light.

‘However you want to look at it, it’s being unfaithful to hide such sensitive information like that and in revealing that information, it then gives you accountability.

‘You need someone to keep track of you.

‘I go to therapy every week and I’m feeling a lot better’. 

Susan (pictured) who goes to therapy every week, said it’s important to have someone keep track of you for overcoming addiction 

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