The Cold, Hard Facts: Finances

Compulsive shopping spendingAs part of my preparation to start this blog and really address my compulsive shopping problem, I decided to take a good look at the cold, hard facts of my situation.  To do so, I turned to QuickBooks, where I was able to find information about my spending for the past ten years.  What I learned was both surprising and depressing!

The Numbers in a Nutshell

In a nutshell, I have spent close to $50,000 on clothing, accessories, shoes, and alterations from 2003 through 2012, with an average of $4762.56 in these types of expenditures per year.  For some people, this sounds like a lot of money, while it may seem reasonable or perhaps even low to others.

A few other pieces of information will help to put things into perspective:

  1. My budget for each year was usually around $3000, so I exceeded my budget every single year – and sometimes I even spent over double my budget!
  2. I have worked from home for all of these years and wear only workout clothes or lounge wear two or more days per week.

Even My “Best” Year Was Bad…

In terms of shopping outlays, my best year was 2009, when I only spent $3,466.33 on clothing and related expenses.  My worst years were 2005 and 2006, when my expenditures were $6608.59 and $6161.04, respectively.

During this past year, 2012, I spent the fourth largest amount, $5250.34.   While I did better in 2012 than in 2011 (when I spent $5673.29), I still substantially exceeded my budget.  Clearly, I have a problem!

Money is Only Part of the Shopaholic Puzzle

Awareness is the first step toward change, but money is only one piece of the puzzle for a shopaholic.  In my next post, I’ll look at how many clothes I have and how often I wear them.  I know that those cold, hard facts are equally as sobering as the budget numbers, but I need to face the truth in order to change…

Recovery Tip

Track your spending on clothing, accessories, and related expenses for at least a few months and review the numbers.  If you use a financial planning program such as Quicken, QuickBooks, or Microsoft Money, review your shopping expenditures for as long a time period as possible.

What you discover may surprise you.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  That never helps anyone to change.  Simply ask yourself if what you spent was reasonable for your budget and lifestyle.    If not, what would have been a more reasonable amount to spend?

4 thoughts on “The Cold, Hard Facts: Finances

  1. I only have access to my 2009 &2010 tracking atm, but I spend $2560 in 2010 and $1660 in 2009. Most of it overseas (US where it’s cheaper, or Europe). It was when I was working and not wearing a uniform most days (as I do now). Just for your comparison. I have tracked other years too… Usually in a similar ballpark.

    (Admittedly those figures might miss receipts I’m not so good at saving, like cheap underwear, but should cover most clothing specific shopping)

    • Sarah, Thank you for sharing your numbers. It’s good to have multiple perspectives, so I hope others feel inspired to share as well. You definitely did better than me with your spending. I always exceeded my budget, but I am committed to staying within my budget this year. Not shopping at all in May will help me with that. I spent way too much in the past, especially since I haven’t worked in an office where I see the same people every day for a number of years now!

  2. Thank you for sharing your numbers. I have only tracked my spending for the past few years, but I know it’s been out of control for longer than that. I’ve been averaging about $540 a month, which is far more than I should be spending! This year is the first time I have set a clothing budget and I’ve already spent more than 2 months worth. I may have set the bar too low ($150 a month, which is a big change from over $500 a month these past few years) but I deliberately set it low so that I would NOT shop as much. I have plenty of clothes, why on earth am I purchasing so much in a month? This has dire financial consequences for my household, yet I do it anyway. I would rather skip lunch than skip purchasing a new top (sad I know). I figure the first step, was realizing how much I have been spending. Now I have to learn what habits to break so I can considerably reduce this monthly expense.

    • When I tried to drastically reduce my monthly/yearly spending in the past, I usually failed. I’ve found it easier to make more gradual changes, as they tend to work better and last longer. What’s helping me the most now is to limit how many items I can buy. That’s pushing me to think more about what I buy and to purchase higher quality pieces. Perhaps try that for a while and see how it works… Best of luck to you!

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