Reader Request: “Am I a Shopping Addict?”

by Jaime on August 15, 2011

I had a reader email me seriously the other day, saying that while she loves the site, she finds herself buying way more than she needs to… or even should.

So, as I was about to give her the joking little “Welcome to my world!” comment, I remembered a certain post I’d written a while back. With back to school shopping here, and Holiday Shopping extravaganzas not far off, this felt like the perfect time to share this post.

Whether you’re depressed, lonely, angry… shopping has always made you feel better. You made sure you stayed in the best clothes because they made you feel better about you.

But, what happens when you get out of control?
Where do you turn?

1. End the cycle. If you’re buying stuff just to buy it, you’re doing something wrong. And just wanting it doesn’t cut it either.

2. Set rules and boundaries. A good friend of mine, K., instituted her own. If it’s a big purchase (say, something that isn’t a necessity that costs over $100), she waits two weeks. If she still wants it then, she’ll go for it. It helps weed out the must-haves from the must-have-right-nows… and that’s a big help.

3. Make a spreadsheet. Even I’m guilty of not always following this, but it’s a great way to cut down excess expenses. Track EVERYTHING that you buy, from essentials to frivolous purchases (like those Genetic Denim jeans you’ve been craving) with your spreadsheet. If you ever come out on the red, start by cutting out the frivolous purchases. Never, EVER should you not be making rent just because you needed to buy those Ferragamo shoes.

4. Get offline! If online shopping is your problem (like it is for so many American women these days), get your ass off the computer. Go take a walk. Play with your kids. Read a book. I don’t care what you do, but get away from what’s tempting you.

5. Still isn’t getting better? Go see someone. Talk to friends, family… hell, go to a psychiatrist if it helps.

I’m just as strained as most people these days… and I know I still want some denim. Bad. But I’ve got to say no (even when a really, REALLY great deal comes my way!), because it’s more important that I have something saved up for emergencies. Is it easy? Hell no. I want to buy every single pair of great denim I see. But, find what works for you (and I can tell you, it’s not a massive amount of debt!) and go with it.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

April C August 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I am definitely a shopping addict… :(

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