I have a problem. My problem is materialism. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to buy a whole bunch of crap that I honestly know that I don't need. "Keeping Up with the Jones' syndrome" is what I like to call it. As you may have read from a blog post a few weeks ago, I'm addicted to makeup. Oh, but that's not it. I have this bad habit of collecting things. I collect makeup of course, then when I get "momentarily" tired of buying makeup I move on to the next thing; sneakers. Then the next month, I might want to build on another collection of mine. Now please don't get my shopping and collecting mixed up with hoarding. I AM NOT A HOARDER. I can and have gotten rid of plenty, but the problem is, I just buy more!! I see people wearing cute outfits and automatically I feel the need to have it. Or I see a cute pair of sneakers that I figure that no one I know will have and I just have to be different, so I buy it! While shopping is satisfying, it's equally draining. I'm an adult living on my own, no kids, and no major financial responsibilities. This is my time to save, but as much as I want to, I just don't. I'm one of the cheapest people I know but I have become addicted to buying things. A cheap shopaholic; great I'm a walking oxymoron. No matter how small or trivial, I buy little trinkets here and there until I have racked up hundreds of dollars on a whole bunch of nothing. I can't cut up my cards because I still have bills to pay. I don't want to become even more of a homebody and stay in the house to avoid the stores. So what can I do?
The first step to recovery is to accept the fact that you are indeed a Shopaholic. It may be hard to say it out loud, but unless you just really just like to read my blog posts, chances are you kept reading because you can relate.
If we're in the same boat repeat after me:
"Hello, my name is ________________ (insert name) and I am a shopaholic."
...and there you have it. You just took the first step to recovery. Now we can move on.
Retail therapy doesn't exist.
Retail therapy; these two words are what started my shopping addiction in the first place. Contrary to popular belief the therapeutic effects of shopping don't last very long. Did you have a hard week and want to make yourself feel better by shopping til' you drop? Just think of how hard of a week you'll have next week when you look at your bank statements and realize you did too much. Instead of partaking in this "therapeutic" activity, read a good book, go for walk, listen to music, or go to real therapy! Just find something less expensive to occupy your time.
Sometimes the Jones' can't even keep up with the Jones'.
Stop trying to keep up with the Jones'! This is my biggest problem. Just keep in mind that the Jones' may be able to afford whatever it is they are buying, OR they could be faking the funk and be in the same financial bracket as you. In that case you still don't come out on top lol. Having expensive taste is expensive, so if your bank account says McDonalds McRib, stop trying to spring for Filet Mignon. Go shopping in your own closet. If you're anything like me, you probably have clothes in your closet with the tags still on it; what a shame. Go on a free shopping spree in your closet, chances are you'll find something you forgot you had.
Put your credit cards on ice....figuratively.
I have read about people literally freezing their credit cards and only defrosting it once they have paid off their debt. But that's not happening in this household! Credit cards should be a safety net, just keep them on standby IN CASE you have an emergency and need them. If you are disciplined enough (which I am not right now) then maybe you can handle keeping your credit cards in your wallet. However, if you are anything like me, keep your credit card in a safe place so you can use them when need be. Oh, and pay those credit card bills!! The best way to build your credit is to keep your credit card balances below 30%. So if you use your credit card (for emergencies or regular purchases), make sure to pay it off as soon as possible.
Go cold turkey.
Start small; outside paying your bills, go two weeks without spending money. I have tried this before but I tried to do it for a full 30 days. I made it two weeks and then bought myself something as a reward for making it that far. HUGE MISTAKE. A relapse is a relapse and should not be rewarded. This time I am going to try two weeks and I am not going to reward myself. Once I make it the two weeks, I will start it again for another two weeks. It's not as hard as you may think. You can't run before you walk right? So just take baby steps.
Don't be fooled, I don't have it all figured out. I have relapsed more than a few times. However so far, I have gone a month without buying makeup..specifically lipstick. I'm thankful that I'm not addicted to any substances, but a shopping addiction can lead you down the road of destruction just as fast. The road to recovery is anything but easy, but if I can do it, then I know you can.