If you’re anything like me, you love to shop online. Seriously, I love it. The convenience, the variety, the free shipping, the uncertainty and high probability that I’ll be returning whatever I just bought, thus not have to pay for it at all – what’s not to like?
I can easily lose an hour just browsing. But it’s one thing to get a great deal on something I need, or to occasionally treat myself to something fabulous that I don’t need, and quite another to peruse the sites everyday in response to the billion and one store emails that clutter my inbox each week.
Worse, I wasn’t shopping because I love clothes – which I do. I wasn’t shopping because the deals were just too great to miss – sometimes I bought things that weren’t on sale. I was shopping because I was pissed, or irritated, or in need of a little soothing. Something stupid happen at work? Bloomingdales.com, here I come. Somebody acts up on the commute home? Saks, what’s your sale tab lookin’ like today?
It got to the point, if it wasn’t for my – tiny – automatic saving deposits, I wouldn’t have saved a dime. And I work five days a week, sometimes on weekends and holidays, not just 9 to 5. I was buying new hangers, scrapping for closet space, and increasingly discomfited by the sight of all my possessions – things that were cluttering up my mind and my environment and keeping me from my other financial goals.
I knew I had to change. I had to:
- Downgrade: No more Saks and Bloomies. I switched to the Gap and Forever 21. It was my version of ‘crawl before you walk.’ You know, just in case I had withdrawal and went on a counter intuitive, uber destructive buying binge.
- Unsubscribe: I went through my inbox and cleaned house. Some of the retailers were persistent, but I clicked unsubscribe as many times as it took to keep their demon temptations out of my email stream. “But I might miss a sale!” Girl, please. The little trick no one tells you? Those stores have sales every week, damn near. You ain’t missin’ nothin’.
- Replace: The best way to kick one habit is to pick up another. I’m working on being vegetarian, and dealing with my uncooperative belly is easier than staring at little white bill envelopes every 28 days, like WTF? Now, instead of finding enough merch to qualify for free shipping, I hunt for the foods I’m supposed to eat. Ever looked for crackers made without wheat? Uh huh. Rice flour is not as common as you might think.
So do yourself – and your wallet – a favor. Focus on quality not quantity – finding just the right dress or accessory to fit your style, budget and level of comfort, not your unsettled mental state – meditate, exercise, whatever. Just find another non-shopping-related way to soothe those work pains.
– Kellye Whitney