I struggled with the title of this blog. One title I considered was, “Why Do I Shop?” I discarded that because why I shop and why I spend money shopping are two totally different things. I am going to assume you understand the difference. Another title I considered was, “Why do I spend money?” I decided that title did not fit because this is about spending money on stuff, not experiences or other things. I decided on the title, “Why do I spend money shopping?” This title best fits my focus, especially since I had several recent examples of spending money shopping and not being pleased with my purchases, including taking several purchases back in the past few days. The items I returned are good examples of the points I am trying to make about my spending, and the changes I want to make.
Those who have been with me for a few years will remember my year of no (really, very limited) spending, which was chronicled in a book, A Year in the Life of a Recovering Spendaholic. The year of limited/no spending was 2006, although the book was only published in 2017. It is available from Amazon, and I have some copies for sale as well. I would love for you to read it.
I had two most profound changes from my year of no/limited spending. First, I no longer wasted money on purchases. (Not true lately, but more about that later.) Second, I was no longer an impulsive spender. (Also not true lately, which I will explain further.)
Please note that the title of my book is “Recovering,” not “Recovered.” I am a Spendaholic and will always be. Although I am much better about what I buy and what I walk away from, I will always have a spending tendency. My problem is just like those who struggle with alcohol, eating disorders, and other addictions. The best way for me to control the problem is to be in control. When I am shopping, I sometimes forget, and buy things I do not need, or do not even want, and end up returning, wasting time and money by doing so. A recent example.
I went to Belk a few days ago and saw a few things that were on sale. Sales are one of my problems. I left Belk with (another) throw, a set of pillowcases, and 2 sink mats. I used one of the sink mats and decided that they are not the right size. But since I had already used one, I could only return one. I liked the throw but decided that I already have plenty of throws. There were no matching sheets for the pillowcases, and I know that I will not be happy with mismatched bed linens, so I decided to return the pillowcases, although they are great quality and only $7.00 on sale.
While in my closet tonight, my eyes fell upon a recent purchase, a sterling ring holder. I bought it a couple of months ago and love the way it looks, but I find that I am not using it. The ring holder part is not tall enough to hold much, so I have reverted to using my crystal ring holder which is much more practical. While it really wasn’t an impulsive purchase, I let my need for beauty, (not want, but need; I have a need for beauty, and I love sterling) override my practical side. Had I only paid attention to its size, I would have known the sterling ring holder would not work for me.
Back to the two changes from my year of no spending, not wasting money, and not being impulsive. While those changes stuck for a while, eventually I slipped back into some old habits. Not in total, but more than is good for me. I still wait until I get home if I want some tea, and do not have any with me, instead of stopping and spending money on tea that will not be as good as mine. That is an example of not wasting money, But I do waste money when I buy something that doesn’t fit, or work for me, such as the dish drain and sterling ring holder. I am being impulsive when I buy another throw when I have plenty, even when I love the one that is on sale. I am being impulsive when I buy a white jean jacket for one of my granddaughters, not knowing if she will like it, even when it is 50% off and is a very good price. It can’t be returned, and she doesn’t like it.
Being in control includes not buying something because it is on sale, regardless of how good of a price it is, especially when I do not need it.
Being in control includes living within a budget, something I have never done. Is it too late for me to do so at soon to be seventy-one years of age?
Have you heard, there is another Prime Day coming?! It is scheduled for October 11-12, 2022. Regardless, convince yourself that if you didn’t need it before Prime Day, you do not need to buy it. You may rationalize that spending money on Christmas gifts during Prime day is really saving money, not spending money. Maybe so if you plan to buy something that is less expensive on Prime Day. But not if you forget you have it or buy more because you forget what you have already bought for Christmas. This can be tricky. Just be careful.
Why Do You Spend Money Shopping? A good question to ask yourself before getting caught up in the frenzy of holiday shopping.