Friday, November 1, 2013

The Shopping Issue

On August 28, 2013, it hit me: I shop too much!!!! To be fair, I knew that I shopped too much. But, what really hit me is how broke it was making me. We make too much money for me to have to rely on my credit cards to take care of our family in between pay periods.

My husband has depended on me since the beginning of our marriage (8/8/10) to make sure everything was paid on time and that there was always money left over for what we needed, WHEN we needed it. In the beginning, it was great. I was able to put hundreds of dollars aside every paycheck in savings and for incidentals while all of my credit card balances remained at zero, untouched unless I needed to make a small purchase to avoid the card from being marked as "dormant" by the credit bureaus. My husband had great confidence in me and felt good about the money he was giving me because he felt I took great care of it.

Then, a little over a year into our marriage, I discovered QVC. Oh, that QVC is the devil, I tell you. Shortly after discovering QVC, I discovered beauty gurus on Youtube - that's when it all REALLY went downhill. I started shopping for handbags and makeup nonstop. Every little recommendation a guru gave me, I bought it. When I came across one guru's recommendation for a fast-drying top coat in June of 2012, my obsession with nail polish began (I now have over 600 bottles).

It was weird. It was the day before my 37th birthday and I was sitting at my desk at work going over my bills and balancing my checkbook. I was considering buying something, I don't recall what, and was trying to figure out how to make it happen with what I had left in the bank or on my credit cards. When I realized all of them were nearly maxed out and I barely had enough left in the bank to make it until my next paycheck, my heart sank into my belly. Not because I couldn't buy what I wanted to buy, but because I was disgusted with myself. Ashamed. Embarrassed. How could I let this happen? I let myself down and more importantly, I let my husband down. There he was, working this full-time job PLUS building a marketing career on the side to bring in extra income, and here I was looking for ways to spend it all.

It was then that I decided I needed to stop shopping, cold turkey.

The first week was easy. I was so committed, that I un-liked a lot of polish and shopping related Facebook pages and unsubscribed to almost every single beauty related youtube channel.

The second week was also a breeze. I started to feel proud of myself for making this important decision. I began to feel less stressed and a lot more optimistic about our financial future.

The third week, I ran into a video about some new lip stains by Jordana and I felt that I absolutely had to have them all. I slept on it, thought about it some more, then decided to buy them. That was ONE $26 purchase in THREE WEEKS. I didn't feel bad about it.

At around week six, I found myself really browsing again. Looking at bags and polishes, and makeup. I'd even picked up a few bottles of polish, but nothing expensive, $2 to $3 each. Two of them I actually gifted to my mom and sister.

Last week, I bought myself a handbag that I'd been looking at for months. It wasn't expensive and I didn't feel bad about it. This week, I bought more things. What I bought was really for my sister as Christmas and birthday gifts, but, because I wanted them also, I bought a second set of items for myself. Still don't feel bad about it.

Today, I got some notifications of EXCELLENT deals on Avon and Julep stuff that I love and I fully intended to take advantage of them...but, as I was online adding things to my cart, I stopped myself. I've had enough.

I'm not going to allow myself to fall back into that trap. "Oh, I'll just get a little something here and there, no big deal." But it is; it IS a big deal when you really don't NEED anything you're getting. And those little purchases add up quickly. Shopping is in fact a disease, a disorder, a bad habit, a full-on sickness that I simply REFUSE to accept. I quite literally don't need another bag, organizer, makeup or makeup-removing item, nail polish, fragrance, lotion, etc. I have PLENTY of ALL of that. I have more than enough to last me for years, even if I gave half of all of it away.

I am in full control of my spending now. I can name at least 20 things that in the last nine weeks I WOULD have purchased had I not regained control of myself, and that would have cost me hundreds of dollars (maybe even exceeded $1,000). Instead, all of it has gone to tithing, saving, paying down my credit card debt (which has been drastically reduced), and I still have a lot of it sitting in my bank account.

During this process of greatly reduced unnecessary spending, I found out how my emotions connected to the purchases. I found I wanted to buy things the most when I was either angry or stressed. I broke out of the habit of stress-and-anger-spending with prayer and restraint. Soon, I found that decreasing my spending increased my appreciation for what and who I already have in my life. Even my husband has remarked at how much happier I've been these past few weeks. After two years of constant spending looking to make myself happy, I discover and learn to truly appreciate that all I needed to be happy was already in my heart and home...

I am truly, truly blessed!!!

Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

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