This episode of Maxed Out is about Alicia, a 30-year old woman who works in advertising and has trapped herself in a pattern of binge spending. A couple years ago she was $20,000 in debt and got a consolidation loan she got to help her pay it off. After paying down about $10,000, she started using credit cards again and increased her debt load to $20,000 once again. Alicia maxed out three credit cards in just two months, and Allison Griffiths develops a plan to help Alicia regain self-control. Find out what happens with Alicia's debt problem when you read more.
Her two biggest problem areas are eating out and shopping, and she estimates that any given shopping trip could total between $150 and $500. Alicia says she's filling a void by shopping and admits that she doesn't feel like getting up on days she can't spend, but springs out of bed when she knows there's room on a card and goes straight to the mall.
Allison calculates that Alicia has a monthly shortfall of $720, and at the rate she's going it will take over five years to pay off her debt. Allison suggests that another consolidation loan is in order and will save Alicia $3,000 in interest and cut the amount of time it will take to pay off her total debt. Along with the loan, Allison puts Alicia on a shopping diet where she must put an item on hold for 24 hours and then go home to fill out a shopping questionnaire, tells her to track her spending, and asks her to think of another way to fill her void.
Alicia is able to break the cycle of spending, debt, and regret, and ends up with a monthly $420 surplus. She tries to fill her void by volunteering instead of shopping, spending her time with a program called Dress Your Best that helps low-income women put outfits together for job interviews.