The shopper in me

H&M peplum top
AE skinnies
J Crew bracelet
Merona wedges

While cruising around the interwebz a few days ago, I came across one of those superficial articles that I would typically and instinctively ignore. However, I stuck around and got to reading  because it covered a somewhat sensitive, if not appropriate for this blog, topic: shopping. More specifically, signs of a shopaholic. GULP.

Although I really do try to be mindful of my spending habits that relate specifically to shopping, I am aware that I shop more than your average gal and as a result, own a lot of clothes. It’s normally okay as long as I don’t get into financial trouble because of it or become succumbed to always owning something new and shiny, but it’s also important to measure my shopping pulse if you will, and ensure it’s within normal range.

The article I read (found here) listed seven signs to look out for in determining if one has troubles with shopping. I thought that in order for your to get to know me better as well accept the opportunity of being honest with myself, I’ll list each sign below and respond with my own shopping and spending habits.

1. You have many unopened or tagged items in your closet 
The way I operate is that once an item is purchased, it will sit in this little pretty Shabby Chic basket for further review. I’ll try it on with current items in my closet to ensure that a) it will be an asset to what I already own and b) I have items that can be paired with it. I pay close attention to the returns/exchanges policies and make sure I keep my receipt and tags on until I’m absolutely certain it’s meant to stay. If not, back it goes and no harm done.
*this doesn’t mean that I’ve never succumbed to unnecessary purchases, justsayin.

2.You often purchase things you don’t need or didn’t plan to buy Ummm, all the time! This is actually the only way I really shop and have never been one to go shopping with a list in hand. I never NEED anything, I can realistically create multitudes of outfits with what I already own. I have a little bit of everything from closet staples to daring prints, stripes to polka dots, jeans to cashmere, so I’m pretty much set. But, I still buy something new every once in a while to update the collection. Sometimes I get tired of wearing a certain top for years and sometimes I’ve been known to grow and go up a size in my jeans. Thinking about this has made me realize that the majority of folks do plan, and it definitely would be helpful for me to think ahead more frequently before making purchases.

3. An argument or frustration sparks an urge to shop
Listen, after a bad day I’m most likely to veer towards chocolate than store hopping, though neither in excess is good for the waistline or budget. For me, shopping is typically associated with pleasure and excitement, so chances are if I’m grumpy I’ll be feeling bad all over. Any attempts at trying on something aesthetically pleasing will be shut down by negative thoughts of body image, sadness, and wishing I hadn’t had so much of that chocolate earlier 🙂

4. You experience a rush of excitement when you buy
Although I’ve mentioned feelings of excitement upon landing a sought after item or getting lucky with Anthro’s charge send system (definitely have let out a yelp or two upon hanging up the phone afterwards) I don’t depend on those feelings if you catch my drift. I can get excited over completing a long run, or getting to skype with one of my besties and her new cutsie baby, or having a delicious meal, or chocolate, or……. you see what I mean. Shopping is not there to substitute anything for me, nor does it fill a void. It does envoke a surge of pleasure, exciting my love and appreciation for the sartorial. 

5. Purchases are followed by feelings of remorse
Have I bought something I didn’t need? Absolutely. Have I looked at said item and wondered what prompted me to bring it home? More than once. Am I still influenced by sale goggles? I’m afraid I’ve reached for those suckers on more than one occassion. Yes, the answer to this is a realistic yes. It happens every once in a while that I’m drawn to a particular style either due to what I see in magazines or what someone else wore and looked amazing in. I then wear said item once and wonder “what was I thinking?” Feelings of remorse abound because I could have used those funds on something more “me” or heck, not spent any money at all and put it directly into savings or towards a trip. There are moments when I open my closet doors and say to myself, outloud: “I seriously do not need anything else, I should be content with what I own already”.

6. You try to conceal your shopping habits
There used to be a time in our relationship when Dr. Love thought I was shopping online too much for my own good. Packages were coming through at a steady rate and I pretty much assumed the UPS guy anticipated a trip down our road. Even though I did not keep everything I ordered and made quite a few returns, it wasn’t a healthy habit. Entering stores with returns in hand are not really my cup of tea and in general it was a waste of time both shopping and returning all those items. These days, I’m more open about what I’m buying and will actually keep the hubs close to me at stores because knowing his low-tolerance level for the sport will get me out at a much speedier pace.


7. You feel anxious on the days you don’t shop
In thinking about the multiple attempts of going a whole month without shopping and always falling short on day 15 or 20, I realize that it’s something worth paying attention to. Rather than provoking anxiety, not shopping is unfamiliar to me. Without realizing I end up buying something because I like it and it’s within an affordable range. But I don’t think too much about it (see #2) until I get home and decide that I either don’t need it or it’s a fun addition to my closet. Shopping, dare I say it, is kind of like a hobby (that was hard to write!) and not doing it for an extended period of time can feel unnatural. Decreasing the amount of time spend shopping is something I continue to work on and dedicate that time instead to being inspired on refining my own personal style.

Though a lengthy post, spending this time reflecting upon my shopping habits served to be a therapeutic process in recognizing that I’m not where I’d like to be. Still a work in progress I have to be more conscientious of where my money is going and if I’m creatively tapping out due to the steady growth of my clothing collection. The article provided helpful tips such as avoiding trigges,doing away with temptation, only using cash, and most importantly, being honest enough to ask for help. They are all realistic efforts at helping me stay in line with my goals of being a smarter, more careful shopper. So now I turn to you dear friends: what do you think of your own shopping habits and have you got any additional tips on how to curb the shopping bulge and stay balanced (checkbook included)? 

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5 thoughts on “The shopper in me

  1. Hi Dea, thanks for an illuminating and candid post. i agree with many of your sentiments. In my opinion, whilst it is worth keeping an eye on the factors listed in the article, I feel like it is not worth getting too 'guilty' about (provided that one is not in financial trouble and still has money for enjoying life with one's loved ones). I think the issue of 'need' is tricky – Anthropologie, for example, is not a store to supply things one 'needs', but that is not to say we have to survive one pair of $10 jeans! And as regards the excitement in making a purchase, it is important to distinguish between genuine excitement in buying something you love and excitement in buying just for the sake of buying (which is problematic in my view).

  2. I really liked this post because I sometimes (oftentimes) feel guilty about shopping! At this point in my life, I have plenty of nice clothes and really don't "need" anything new. However, do I enjoy changing up my wardrobe a bit with different years and seasons? Hell yes!But I have become more responsible. When I buy something, I show it to my partner immediately. Not that I need his "approval", but if I'm not comfortable sharing the purchase, then something is up. Also, I try to avoid aimlessly going into the shops! That, for me, is probably the easiest way to not spend quite so much. While I do shop on-line, it doesn't hook me quite as much as going into a store. So, avoiding the stores does help rein in my shopping habits.Finally (shew, lengthy reply), like the first commenter said – just shopping to shop or buying just to buy seems more problematic, especially in the long-run.

  3. I associate fall with the great tradition of back-to-school shopping, so this post is well-timed for me. I guess one additional factor I like to consider when evaluating my shopping habits (money considerations aside) is how my other hobbies and interests are doing. You mentioned that shopping is a bit like a hobby, and I think that can be true. I am intentional about asking myself if my other hobbies getting healthy amounts of my time. I check to make sure I'm still exercising, crafting, reading, staying in touch with friends and family, trying new recipes, etc. If any of those other things are suffering in my life, I then ask if that is because I have been spending a disproportionate amount of my time shopping, whether online or in person. If the answer is yes, then it's time to step back!

  4. This is a great post Dea. Like Kristina, I have plenty of clothes already so rarely do I "need" anything but I love adding a few items here and there each season to jazz it up.As someone who works in conservative corporate America, I see fashion as a creative outlet and I won't be made to feel guilty for indulging in that. As with anything in life, moderation is key.

  5. Phew! I'm in the clear. Ha! I know I shop more than the average woman, but everyone has their thing, right? I don't watch as much television, or read as many novels as woman X. OR spend time on facebook. Or get massages once a week. Or have a housekeeper like woman Y. Great article though as food for thought. (p.s. I have a chic little spot new clothes sit with tags on during their "try it out" phase too!)

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