‘The devil creates work for idle hands’…so the saying goes. I had a few days off and after months of announcing to anyone who would listen that I am having a big clear out of all my possessions, what started out with a pot of nail polishes continued a week later at the bottom of my shoe shelf.
With popular best-selling books like ‘Confessions of a shopaholic’ and movies such as ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, the term shopaholic appears to be a likeable title for some of us. A title we seem to like to boast about.
It’s no joke, it’s not funny and my bank manager and partner do not think so either.
An online dictionary defines shopaholic as;
A frequent shopper, especially one who is unable to control his or her spending…
Though we joke about it at the back of our minds we may feel guilty at times when making purchases we know are not necessary.
The whole point of highlighting and openly discussing this is the notion and idea that there is so much more of what I and we could be doing with our hard earned cash. Every penny counts and I have so much more I want to achieve than my impressive shoe collection. I can’t cultivate my dreams if I’m spending my money meant for investments on Zara handbags.
So what did I discover during my mammoth clear out; the clothes from years back that still had labels and had never been worn or the pair of shoes that had only been worn once and that was because my sister pinched them without my knowledge and wore them (I only found out because of a picture that was posted on Facebook…the joys of social media). Many of us are guilty of these acts of over shopping and accumulating goods that are hardly or ever worn.
While I continue to tell myself that compared to my sister, friends or even my mom that the 30 odd pair of shoes I have are really not that bad, it really is something for me to consider changing.
I fear that my love for YouTube videos full of what is referred to as shopping hauls and instagram only makes matters worse for people who love to shop. Not to mention the love of receiving a compliment from someone asking… ‘where is that from, you look lovely.’
As a mature student this just will not fly any longer. I cannot justify moaning about paying for a book that costs 50 quid and then proceed to buy three pairs of shoes that were in the sale that total the same amount and call that a victory.
Over the years the idea that shopping is always connected to our emotions has been offered as a reason for mostly women accumulating far too many shoes, clothes, beauty products and bags. Do we shop because we feel sad, have low feelings about ourselves or is it our need to compete with our friends or other women?
What is this obsession with some women owning a pair of Louboutins when they still live at home or still studying or haven’t paid a bill or have no savings (I don’t own a pair…as yet).
I’ve heard they are VERY uncomfortable, £400.00 is a lot of money to spend to feel uncomfortable. Or do we look at our shoes and say….no, I just like looking good. Do we really need that many shoes to be able to achieve this? Notice I say we a lot. This is part of my process of owning up to my habits and not just pointing the finger.
According to Psycguides, research has stated that compulsive and excessive shopping is due to the fact that some people develop shopping addictions because we essentially get addicted to how our brains feel while we are shopping. As we shop, our brain releases endorphins and dopamine, and over time, these feelings become addictive.
Psycguides and shopaholic anonymous have named the following types of shopaholics:
- Compulsive shopaholics who shop when they are feeling emotional distress.
- Trophy shopaholics who are always shopping for the perfect item.
- Shopaholics who want the image of being a big spender and love flashy items.
- Bargain seekers who purchase items they don’t need because they are on sale.
- Bulimic shoppers who get caught in a vicious cycle of buying and returning.
- Collectors who don’t feel complete unless they have one item in each colour or every piece of a set
After being totally honest with myself I came to the conclusion that I fall into the number 4 category. I hardly ever shop full price items unless the original price is already reasonable. Be brave and confess! Which one are you?
Now we have some idea as to why and which type of shopaholic we are here is what I have done to curb my habits in the past:
Stop window shopping in shops or online, you WILL see something you like and either buy it or plan to buy it. The chances are you already have something similar anyway that is in perfect condition (I had a work colleague who would not even take her bank card out with her, just the cash she needed, extreme yes but she had medical school bills to pay for her daughter…she weren’t playing).
Don’t be tempted to click on ads on your computer that have captured your browsing history and now tempting you to click and shop.
Don’t buy it just because it’s in the sale ask yourself if you are really going to wear it within the next few days or weeks. it’s money hanging in your wardrobe or sitting on your dresser.
Before you purchase something do a rough estimation of how much you have already spent on the item you are about to buy… i.e 36 nail polishes an average of £4.00 by 36 is £144.00 on nail polish. When you have bigger fish to fry, that isn’t the best way to spend your money even if it does make you feel nice…for about 3 minutes.
Make the best of what you have. ‘I don’t have anything to wear’ is a lie and you know it’ Mix and match if you don’t want to repeat outfits.
What tips and tricks do you have for curbing your shopping habits? Feel free to share.
I purchased a book some years ago about a New York journalist by Judith Levine who wrote a novel about going a year shopping. In a bid to pay off my fees and save for our future plans I plan on embarking on that crazy journey in the New Year.
I shall keep you all posted. Click on the link if you would like to read about the book and make it your last purchase in a long time 😉