stories from a recovering shopaholic

I want to use the word "recovering" very loosely because I just bought a flannel crop top, denim midi circle skirt, and faux leather midi circle skirt a few weeks ago. Actually, scratch that. Relapse is part of recovery and I'm trying to learn to be kinder and more patient with myself. I just have to be more mindful of what my triggers are.

Anyway, that's not the point. Let's realign the focus.

Its really easy to get trapped into the spending lifestyle. "Sign up for 20% off your first purchase" turns into daily emails announcing new items and secret sales. I had nearly 20-30 emails DAILY from various retailers advertising their items and sales. I was spending so many hours of my day online window shopping. I probably could justify an ASOS purchase everyday because my closet "needed" it. And that "Save For Later" feature didn't help because I just kept a collection of things I was saving to buy every pay period. I was actually pretty embarrassed when my neighbor across the hall commented on how many packages I get on the regular. He only moved in about 3-4 months ago.

Clicking on Zara's announcement of their semi-annual sale makes me want to spend money on "discounted" shoes that I probably will only wear once or twice because I'll get annoyed with seeing everyone else wearing them and/or will buy some other shoe and forget they exist (the latter being the most likely outcome). ASOS reminding me that I can get an extra 20% off all items makes me want to justify buying that dress that will probably sit in my closet for 3 months before I finally wear it once then eventually donate it to my local thrift store.

One thing I am trying to do is to re-train my brain about shopping. Over the past few years, shopping has become a bit of therapy for me. New shoes and dresses where used to help lift me up out of morose moods. A new leather handbag won't hurt your feelings like people do. Feeling and looking beautiful just helped to take the edge off any anxiety or sadness I was dealing with. But, when shopping becomes your crutch, it only leads to downward spirals in other areas of your life. Struggling to pay bills and having to borrow money to live just because you wanted a couple new pairs of shoes just really isn't the move. And I soon realized that I would rather spend money travelling instead of buying items that I would wear thrice - and it didn't matter if the item was "only $7.99". I realized that I would rather buy one $200 bag that I would wear almost every single day instead of 20 bags ranging from $9.99-$49.99 that will only get worn a handful of times (if even that). I mean... I have this gorgeous fur clutch that I will wear..... where?! Sure, collecting clothes is a hobby for some but I'm, honestly, not on that level of living yet. And I cringe thinking of all the times I have "cleared junk" from my closet and donated it to thrift/vintage shops just to refill my closet with more things that won't get much wear. Its a cyclical process that has me losing way more money that I should be.

I think its extremely important to re-gain my self-control. Sure, I've tried to "pray away" impulsiveness but I'm sure God believes that learning to be disciplined on my own would be far more useful. Because learning how to establish that practice in one arena of life will surely lend to developing that habit in other areas. So, ya girl is working on some serious baby steps. Yes, I will relapse and it will suck and I will be upset and disappointed in self but... I will just take a deep breathe, put on my big girl panties, and push myself to do better. I'm still going to be proactive in managing this because it is a bad habit that I want to be rid of.

These awesome tips from My Fab Finance have really helped me to prioritize and better control spending. Unsubscribing from emails alone has been a tremendous help. Ignorance, as it turns out, is completely bliss. I'm also slowly trying to get into the cash-only lifestyle.  I've decided to leave my credit cards at home (i gotta pay off those balances and save them for emergencies/big purchases ONLY). I've cut up my debit card and now only carry an ATM card. Because ATMs for my bank aren't readily found here and those non-bank ATM fees hurt so bad, I'm less inclined to just withdraw money to perpetuate my silly spending habits.

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit so ...let's see what new ways I can add to my existence by the time August  rolls around. Here's to self-improvement!


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