Fighting Shopping Addiction

It used to be I could avoid shopping malls and manage to refrain from overspending, but with my Internet-connected lifestyle, it’s hard to avoid constant temptation. I’ve made a commitment to only purchase items this year that support my goal to get healthy (or reward me for dropping a few dress sizes), but that doesn’t equate to frugality.

While it seems silly, I get a major rush from shopping. It started when I was young. Since there was little emotional connection in my family beyond constant fights, the one time where I felt I could bond with my mother was when we went shopping. Going to the mall was our thing. And we spent way too much money on my clothes. Spending $1000 at Nordstrom was a common occurrence. I never bought designer clothing but the amount of clothing purchase added up. If I liked a shirt in blue and it came in six other colors, my mother would convince me I needed every color. Being able to purchase all of this made me feel in control, like I was on top of the world.

Fast forward a decade+. I’m now fully responsible for my income and expenses. My mother constantly comments on my decision to not purchase a new car (which, granted, is a fair comment as my car is a mess) and not purchase a condo (less fair comment given 1br condos start out at $500k around here.) The shopping addiction is still with me. I still don’t have it in me to buy designer clothes, but I do buy a lot of items when I shop.

Case in point – today I spent $300 on Amazon.com. On what? A $140 slow cooker (the cheaper ones all had negative reviews, this one looked great and I’ve been reading a lot about how it is easy to cook meat in a slow cooker), a bunch of high-protein food (jerky, protein powder), food storage products and a book on what to cook that’s low carb using a slow cooker. $300. Gone. On products that – if I use – will be of high value at least (better than more makeup I don’t use.) But, still, that’s $300 I could have invested or put towards the down payment on a house. Instead, on day 3 of February, I’ve blown my monthly shopping budget and the some.

It’s a pretty standard addiction. I’ve watched the Shopping Addiction show on television and could relate a lot. While some of the ill were addicted to designer clothes, often they’d show men or women who liked to just buy a lot of stuff, with so much they ran out of room to actually live.

I wouldn’t say right now I’m at that point – I just got rid of bags and bags of clothes that are waiting to be donated to charity. But I’m still terrible when it comes to shopping and refraining from splurging. As I lose weight it also is difficult to avoid going to the mall for new outfits. I don’t want to buy anything new until I’m at a stable weight, and I think I can find clothes in my wardrobe that are more kind of size changes than others (ie I should probably stop wearing my jeans that are falling off of me) but eventually I’ll give in. I have a weird phobia of used clothing but I think buying second hand would make more sense when my size isn’t stable. Even so, I could probably end up spending too much at a consignment shop with nice options.

My life always feels so out of control. I feel happiest and most in control when I’m shopping. I hate it when sales people try to help me – I always shop as if I’m on this great mission, looping around the store (generally department stores, boutiques make me too nervous with all the attention you receive) and I get a great arm workout carrying gobs of clothing to the dressing room. At least for now I look bad in many of the clothes at my size, so I rarely buy the items. But if I find something I look halfway decent in it’s hard to avoid the purchase, even if I don’t really need it.

I really should avoid Amazon.com in addition to the mall – and take some sort of no extra shopping challenge for the next few months until I hit a certain size or weight threshold. That would at least give me motivation to keep losing weight and help me avoid spending all of my hard-earned money. In the meantime, I’m going to look into shopping addiction cures and therapy.

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3 comments

  1. erin says:

    Good for you for trying to cook more at home, but you got screwed on the slow cooker. Ours was $50 at Kohls (Hamilton Beach take and go). 

  2. Most people already have a phobia about secondhand clothing, and it's perfectly normal. Don't buy it if you don't want to wear it or feel weird wearing it. I'm less picky about that sort of thing, but I also grew up wearing secondhand clothing, so… it doesn't bother me.

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