I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now. When I started the blog, I selected the title “Recovering Shopaholic” as a way of declaring my intention for recovery to myself and to the world at large. I also hoped to connect with and inspire fellow shopaholics who want to overcome their compulsive shopping habits. Over the course of this past year, I feel very fortunate to have achieved some measure of success on both fronts.
I went shopping the other day for the first time in about a month. As I left the mall, I was struck by a very strong feeling of “maybe I’m cured.” I didn’t feel the same “pull” or exhilaration for the activity of shopping as I used to feel. My mind was clearly “running the show” rather than my emotions and I felt very pleased at the shift in both my thinking and my behavior.
What Has Changed?
As I’ve reflected on the experience over the past couple of days, I took some time to consider what has changed. I pondered the question,
What’s different from the way I used to shop?”
In today’s post, I share my answers… Of course, these are not the only ten signs of recovery from compulsive shopping, and I’m sure I could come up with more over time. In addition, recovery occurs differently for different people, so your signs may not be the same as mine. However, I believe that many of you will find resonance in these signs. If you do, I hope you’ll take some time to acknowledge your progress!
For those of you who aren’t “there” yet, I hope this post serves as an inspiration for things to come, provided you stay on the path and keep working toward your recovery. I’ve been in your shoes, as my earlier posts reflect, and as with any addiction, I know that I’m in danger of backsliding if I’m not careful. But I’m living proof that recovery is possible! I haven’t reached the proverbial “finish line” just yet, but the signs below are a reflection of how far I’ve come. I’m going to continue working on my goals for my shopping, my wardrobe, and my life (I’ll provide an update soon…), but just for today, I’m pausing briefly to revel in my progress.
The 10 Signs
So without further ado, I present my ten signs that you’re a recovering shopaholic. If you have other “signs” to add to the list, please share them with me and your fellow readers in the comments section of this post.
Sign #1 – You go shopping with a defined purpose and plan instead of just to “browse.”
For most of my life, I approached shopping like a sport. I shopped for the sake of shopping rather than for any defined purpose. I loved browsing the stores and picking up any “great deals” that caught my eye. I no longer shop that way. I now preselect where I will shop and what I am shopping for. I have a plan for what I will and won’t buy and this plan guides my shopping activities.
Sign #2 – You leave stores empty-handed.
I used to hate leaving a store without a shopping bag in my hand. I felt like a “failure” if I didn’t manage to snap up something new and exciting at each and every shopping destination. It felt like a let-down for me to ever leave a store without buying something. This is no longer the case. In fact, I often feel proud of myself when I exit a store without a bag in my hand, as I know I had the willpower to resist “impulse buys.” I’m happy to have increased my shopping standards and to not buy anything unless I find things that meet my predefined needs.
Sign #3 – You don’t buy something because it’s not on your priority list.
In the past, my only priority when shopping was to buy something “fun” or “cool.” If something was eye-catching and/or on sale, it often made its way to the cash register in my hands. I’m now more than willing to pass up the flashy pieces and the “great deals” in favor of searching out my defined wardrobe needs. I know that buying pieces to fill real wardrobe gaps will lead to much more lasting fulfillment than the fleeting thrills of snapping up flashy finds or “must-buy” sale items.
Sign #4 – You no longer buy duplicates or multiples (or you buy far fewer of them).
For many years, whenever I found an item I liked, I would buy it in three or four colors. “The more the merrier,” I thought. I also bought duplicates of many pieces of my wardrobe (as you may remember, I once had nine black skirts!). I purchased duplicates for several reasons – I wasn’t fully aware of what I had, I lacked awareness of what I needed, and I was stuck in a style rut.
I now have a much stronger awareness of what I have and what I need, and I’m working on escaping the style rut in which I had been mired for several years. I realize that part of why I kept wanting to shop was because my wardrobe lacked variety, yet I kept perpetuating the problem by buying the same types of styles over and over again. There was definitely some shopping insanity going on there! Fortunately, I’m now working to turn things around.
Sign #5 – You don’t buy something because it doesn’t fit your budget.
I used to set a shopping budget every year, but I never once kept to it. Instead, I overspent my clothing budget each month and practiced “creative accounting” to cover my tracks. My primary concern was immediate gratification rather than being a woman of integrity and honoring my financial commitments.
These days, I’ve gotten much better at delaying satisfaction until I can actually afford the things I want to buy. I trust that what I want will be available when I can afford it or that something equally good or better will come along. As a result, the fulfillment I’ve gained from honoring my word is far greater than the short-term rush I felt from buying beyond my means.
Sign #6 – You let a store coupon expire without using it.
Those of you who hold store credit cards are familiar with the coupons sent to cardholders on a regular basis. Such coupons either grant the holder a certain percentage or a particular dollar amount off a future purchase, and generally must be used within a relatively short time window. For years, I rarely let these coupons expire without using them. In fact, I typically rushed out to redeem them right away, as it felt like money was burning a hole in my pocket.
At this point, I only have one store credit card (and it’s a debit card), but I still receive coupons from stores by email and via social media. However, they no longer excite me like they used to and it’s not uncommon for these coupons to expire before I end up using them. But I no longer feel remorse at the “lost savings.” Instead, I realize that something is only a “deal” if it meets my needs and fits my budget.
Sign #7 – You don’t shop during Nordstrom’s Triple Points Days (or other stores “Friends and Family Days,” etc.).
When I was in Nordstrom the other day, I was informed that “triple points days” started the following day. I heard other customers raving about this and asking sales associates to hold their purchases and charge them when they could receive more credit for them (points accumulate leading to discount coupons for later use). I used to jump all over such “opportunities,” but they no longer excite me. I realize that these types of incentives and deals only serve to push people to buy more. I now focus on buying what I need and don’t spend time and energy worrying about how I can save a few bucks.
Sign #8 – You no longer hide your purchases from your significant other.
Back when I shopped several times per week, I was always thinking of ways to hide my purchases from my husband. I didn’t want him to know how many things I bought or how much I spent. I would often hide things in the trunk of my car or under the seats or “smuggle” smaller purchases into the house inside my purse (throwing the packaging away in the dumpster downstairs to hide the evidence). Deep inside, I hated myself for my duplicity, especially since my husband and I had such an open and honest relationship in all other respects.
These days, I proudly show my husband what I bought when I return from a shopping trip. I no longer feel ashamed for buying too much and I enjoy showing him my purchases, as they are fewer and more prudent. At this point, I’m quite a bit under my clothing budget for the year, so I have no reason to hide anything from the man I love. I feel much better about myself for exercising restraint in my shopping and honesty in my communications.
Sign #9 – Your wardrobe is getting smaller instead of larger.
During my shopaholic years, my closet was bursting at the seams. In fact, I had two or even three closets for many of those years, plus I stored additional clothing in a storage unit. I kept bringing more and more clothes into my wardrobe and rarely took the time or the energy to purge the things I no longer loved and used. My focus was directed toward the acquisition of new things rather than the maintenance of what I had.
Over the course of the past few years and especially since early 2013, I’ve made a concerted effort to pare down my wardrobe and be more deliberate about what I buy and what I keep. As a result, all of my clothes now comfortably fit into one closet and it’s easy for me to see what I have. It’s now much easier for me to get dressed each day and any wardrobe gaps I have are more readily apparent. The shopping I do these days is far more deliberate and targeted. I’m buying a lot less than I used to buy and making shopping choices which more appropriately suit my lifestyle needs.
Sign #10 – Shopping is no longer your “default activity.”
Shopping can be the sole hobby for many shopaholics, as was the case for me for many years. Whenever I had free time or needed some downtime, my default activity was shopping. Even when I was on vacation, I looked forward to checking out the shops in whatever locale I was visiting. In fact, I often opted to shop, something I could easily do at home, over taking in sights that we unique to my vacation spot. Who knows how much I missed out on as a result of my obsession with shopping!
When I have free time now, I sometimes still shop, but I also elect to do other activities much of the time. This past Saturday, I had planned to shop, but because the weather was so beautiful, I chose to go on a long walk along the water with my husband instead. I sometimes choose to write, read, or do other activities besides shopping as well. I’d still like to find more hobbies to enjoy, but I’m happy that shopping is no longer my default activity.
An Intention Fulfilled…
The above ten signs show me that I’m progressing well in my recovery. I’m pleased that the intention I set for myself last January – for becoming a recovering shopaholic – is coming to fruition. I’m going to keep moving forward and taking my recovery process one day at a time. I’m reminded of a saying from 12-step groups (which I attended years ago for eating disorders), “Keep coming back. It works if you work it!”
I wholeheartedly believe that change is possible for all of us. It may not occur in a linear fashion and instead may progress in hills and valleys, but we can overcome the challenges we face in life. Stick with it and keep putting one foot in front of the other. You’ll be amazed at what you can do. If I can do it, you can, too!
I’d love to get your input on the topic of recovery. What have been the greatest signs you’ve seen as you’ve progressed on the path to overcome your compulsive shopping and/or closet overload challenges? If you’re still early in your journey, what signs do you hope to see moving forward? I invite you to share your experience and insights in the comments section. If you’re reading this post via email or a feed reader, please click here to comment.
Debbie, I would just like to say how impressed I am with all of the effort and reflection you’ve put into this difficult journey. When I read that you hadn’t been shopping in a month my eyes got really big and I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s so awesome!” 🙂
Although all signs in your list are important and show progress, number 8 really stands out to me because you’re strengthening one of, if not the most, important relationships in your life. You’re showing your husband you care and respect him and the partnership by maintaining open communication which can only make the two of you stronger.
I just want you applaud you on your journey and thank you for bringing all of us readers along for the ride (and the insight)!
I appreciate your kind words, Emmy. You’re right that #8 is very significant. It means a great deal to me that my husband trusts me more these days and that I’m not hiding things from him anymore. The shopping came between us far too often, but I’m very glad the duplicity and arguments are behind us now.
Wonderful progress! And this post is beautifully written.
Thanks so much, Terra!
Hi Debbie. I’ve been reading your blog for sometime, but this is my first time to comment. I find your blog fascinating and always look forward to new posts from you. I too am a recovering shopaholic, I think at a similar stage in the process to you. All ten of your points resonate with me, especially the one about being able to walk out of a shop empty handed. In fact, lately I find that as I become more particular about what enters my wardrobe, I have started to dread clothes shopping because it’s so hard to find something that ticks all the boxes. On the one hand, I’m sad that something that gave me so much pleasure in the past no longer does, but on the other hand it’s a good sign of progress.
Congratulations on your progress so far and best wishes for your continued recovery.
I’m glad you decided to comment, Kayla. I found myself nodding along in firm agreement with what you wrote. I feel very much the same way! I was very disappointed during my last shopping trip, as SO few things are ticking the box now. Congrats on YOUR progress, too. Onward and upward!
Very nicely stated and very powerful. I think having an annual clothing budget has been more helpful for me because I have to plan my purchases (it’s a small budget). I have to think how I’m going to spend those limited $$ across 12 months rather than operate on a month-to-month basis. Knowing that I have to “save up” for a big ticket purchase has kept me out of the stores a lot!
I agree that having limits helps tremendously, Dottie. For some reason, after I set the item limit this year, that’s when things really “kicked in” for me. I’m being much more mindful when I shop and “shopping for sport” seems to be a thing of the past.
I’m still an “in progress,” some days it feels like I’m winning, and some days I feel as if I’ve taken two big steps back. Sigh.
I struggle most with the honesty aspect of shopping – “this old thing,” “it was on sale,” hiding purchases, etc. I do feel I am making progress and purchasing less than I used to, but I can’t seem to shake this aspect of shopaholic tendencies.
Your post makes to realize I need to be more “publicly” accountable in my marriage about my purchases. I don’t hide milk, or smuggle in bottles of laundry detergent… So why should a pair of shoes be any different? 🙂
Welcome, Chelsea. I’m glad you decided to comment and share your perspective. The honesty issues were huge for me, too, and becoming more honest with my husband has made a big difference both for my recovery and my marriage. Your point at the end is a good one. Take things one day at a time and try being open and honest with your next purchase. Build from there… I wish you the best of luck – you can do it!
I am nodding my head as I read, because I’ve noticed many of the same things have changed for me as well. My biggest ‘victories’ have been recent trips to stores where I walked in with a list for what I wanted AND I left stores empty handed when I didn’t find it. I’ve also been doing the power pause more often and leaving items I just ‘had to have’, in the store instead.
I think another aspect of recovering is, honing in on one’s personal style. I adore fashion, and I like to check out the latest trends, but I find I am no longer pouncing on each and every new trend that comes along. Instead I’ve spent my time perusing what’s new and deciding if any of them feel like ‘me’ and most of the time, they do not. And in doing so, I am not running out blindly shopping for the latest ‘it’ item, instead I’m keeping an eye out for items that work with my personal style.
I am a jeans and trousers gal, 99% of the time. And with spring here, I see lots of dresses and skirts. After a long cold winter, they look refreshing, but they are not part of my style. In the past I would pick up ‘just a few’, and then they would sit unworn all spring and summer. Now I only look at the latest jean and trouser styles, for these are the items I would actually wear daily.
I’m so glad you brought up the personal style issue, Lisa. I knew I left out something important! I’m still working on honing my personal style after years of being all over the map, but it’s helping a lot. Like you, I used to rush out to buy the latest trends, but I found myself not wearing much of it because it just wasn’t “me.” I’m being far more cautious now and not being those “it” items unless they suit my style, my body, and my life. I still make mistakes, but they are becoming far fewer. It feels great to leave more stores empty-handed because I listened to my inner voice rather than all of the “experts” out there!
Lovely post, Debbie. That 12-stop quote is worth remembering in many areas of life. You have made wonderful strides.
Thanks so much, Cornelia. I know you’ve been following along for a long time, so it means a lot to me that you are seeing my progress!
What great progress, and an excellent post with such good realizations, Debbie. You are really getting there. I was never a person that had to go shopping as frequently as you did, so I was not that swayed by store coupons or special days. But when I did go, I felt that I should “make it worth my while”, and I definitely enjoyed the “thrill” of walking out of the mall with bags and bags. There was very little planning going on, and sometimes I went as a pick-me-up when I was feeling down. Nowadays I’m much more likely to go with a purpose in mind, and to leave stores empty-handed. For me the real progress is in planning and organizing, and getting my closet down to a manageable size. I was never good at purging clothes, but I find it a real sign of progress that I am much better able to let go of clothing without regret. Getting everything into one closet was a major step for me, and feeling more organized will be another step. I am still not where I want to be in terms of a small, curated wardrobe, but I see progress all the time. One thing that was key for me was realizing that I was not the type of person that could do a 1-step major clear out, but that it would be an on-going slow process. And that that’s OK. Sometimes signs of mental progress are more important than numbers of shirts!
I can identify with a lot of what you wrote, Sarah. It worked better for me to pare down my wardrobe slowly, too. I used to get rid of a lot at once, but then I often did shopping “binges” after that which undid a lot of my good efforts. I’m happy to have my clothes all in one closet, too, and organized in a better manner. I still feel I have too much, but I know I will get my wardrobe to the size that works for me before too long. You’ve made excellent progress, too! Shopping with a purpose instead of as a “pick-me-up” is a powerful step!
Your point about personal style in the comments section struck me too… I have a problem there too…
My problem is that I KNOW my personal style, I’m honed in on what works for me, what doesn’t, and the exact type of clothing that fits my lifestyle… The problem I have is that I keep finding MORE clothes that fit into my criteria and I have a hard time saying no to those items. I think it’s mostly because I am drawn to unusual, printed, and special pieces… So it’s not like I can just let it go and know ill come across another one later… Because I won’t. It’s not like walking away from a basic white tee shirt that I know will be there any time I need a new one.
How do I combat this?
It’s great that you know your personal style, Chelsea, but I see how that can also be problematic. My best advice to you would be to limit how often you shop so that you won’t be tempted as much by pieces you see. Setting a limit for how many items you can buy each month could also be helpful. I know that having an item limit (as well as a budget) has been helpful to me. I think it’s also good to remember that there will ALWAYS be more things for us to buy, even the unusual pieces. There’s lots of creativity in the world and we will always find other things to love and buy in the future. Best of luck to you!
Debbie, great advice! I do currently keep a budget, but can be guilty of some of that creative accounting you talk about. I really like the idea of setting a limit on items each month instead… It would be easier to stick to and maybe make me think even more carefully about any pieces I would be bringing into my wardrobe.
Love your blog 🙂
That “creative accounting” can really trap us up, Chelsea! The item limit has been very helpful for me. I’ve been using an item limit for the year, but I’m going to switch to a monthly item limit. I still need that extra discipline and I’m not really ready for the open-endedness of a yearly limit just yet. Perhaps next year… I think it’s important to be able to re-calibrate our goals and rules as needed if we find they’re not working for us. More about that in my accountability post next week!
I can relate to many of these. Not hiding purchases, not using coupons, doing other things than shopping, etc. One thing that has been one of the largest changes for me is not caring about clothing so much. I still like to look nice, but the outfit is no longer more important than the event. I have more desire to live my life rather than dress for it. I do still browse and will buy something that is unplanned though. It sounds like you’ve made great progress!
I’m starting to care less about the outfit, too, Tonya. It’s also easier for me to create outfits I love now that not so much new stuff is coming in the “muddy the waters,” so to speak. I love what you wrote about having more desire to LIVE your life rather than dress for it. Very important point!
What a thoughtful post. This is my first visit here, but I feel I have been reading for a long time. Everything you mentioned is yes, yes, yes.
I also find that I look at stores, especially in the malls, differently now. The layout, the obvious lure to consumers, the sale patterns and gimmicks. In some ways, I feel good when I see others shopping and keeping salespeople employed and the economy moving forward. I’m happy to be a “cruiser” now.
Welcome, Susana, and thanks for your comment. Isn’t it amazing how our perspective changes once the “spell” of compulsive shopping gets broken? I am seeing things very differently now, too. For one, I used to enjoy the attention from salespeople, but now I find myself wanting to be left alone. I like your term “cruiser”… It’s a whole different level, isn’t it?
After reading your post I realized that I also “recovered” so much over the year, but I could never synthesize in the way you did here. You are truly insightful and an excellent writer! Most of your points resonate with me except sign #3 in that I still came across pieces that actually suit me and work well with the rest of my wardrobe. They were not on my priority list because I was not aware of their existence and potential fit with my style. I guess style is a work in progress. Especially for people like me who enjoy fashion and want to look their best in their entire life, being content with a set of style is impossible. However, I did notice one other sign of my recovery. I am better dressed with fewer clothes. I now spend a lot time thinking and analyzing style without actually shopping in the mall, which resulted in more discerning and well thought through choices. My colleague all think I am even more stylish nowadays (I work in fashion related industry therefore people pay attention to how you dress) although I am repeating outfits much more frequently, and my wardrobe is only one third of what it used to be!
Thanks for your comment, Iris. I’m glad you liked this post and were able to identify with many of the signs of recovery. The additional “sign” you mentioned is a good one! I feel that I am better dressed with fewer clothes, too. I used to buy so much that a lot of it never got integrated into the rest of my wardrobe, if that makes sense. I would force myself to wear those things out of guilt, but a lot of them were “great deals” that really weren’t that great at all! One of my earlier posts was titled, “You Don’t Need a Large Wardrobe to Be Stylish.” As time goes on, I become more and more convinced that’s true!
Debbie: I re-read your insights and 10 benchmarks in this post. I’d like to add #11: You no longer think and talk in “fashion-speak,” no longer using terms like “statement pieces,” “investment purchase,” “this season’s color,” etc. You think about clothing in personal terms and make purchases based on your own personal needs. (OK, you might still read Vogue, but you don’t BUY based on Vogue’s (and others of that ilk) dictates.
Good point , Dottie.
Yes, that IS a good point! I knew others would add things I’d forgotten… This one is definitely true for me now. There is a lot of freedom in no longer feeling the need to follow the dictates from all of the “experts” out there. I feel good to finally be learning to trust my own inner guidance instead of listening to others about what I “should” be wearing.
I read something recently (I wish I could remember where – maybe in one of your links!!) that said a lot of the members of the fashion press were “lazy” for covering the easily accessible stuff — press releases from major fashion houses, brands, stores, and so forth. I often wondered why “every” magazine decided a few years ago that women needed an oversized, expensive handbag in some strange color (“tangerine”). Was there s secret meeting everyone went to discuss the size, color, and cost of women’s handbags? Why would the fashion press encourage women to spend upwards of $600 on a electric blue handbag — and then buy a second one for $800 in daffodil yellow? The frivolous nature of a lot of the fashion press is tragic. We need to develop our own sense of self-worth independent from the glossy pages of fashion mags and other sources. That’s why I like this blog so much — reading how women develop their own strategies for full lives without succumbing the rampant consumerism. (P.S. I used to work for a magazine — not a fashion one — and saw how a press release or other contact would lead some writers to develop to an industry “story” that might not have been independently researched.)
You didn’t get that link from me, Dottie, but it sounds fascinating! I often wonder about those “must haves,” too. I think the fashion industry is very out of touch with the reality of most women’s lives. You’re right that we all need to develop an internal sense of self-worth because we’ll never be able to keep up with the yardstick of the fashion world. I feel free that I’m no longer trying to keep up anymore…
Hi Debbie – great post! I can relate to quite a few – for me having written an inventory with numbers has been huge – when I even begin to “think” I want another sweater – I look at all I have, all I still have to give to consignment and/or sell, and realize I don’t NEED one! I also am trying to keep somewhat of a budget and that is eye opening in itself. I find it easier to limit my numbers of incoming items (initially thought 3/mo now planning total 24) but my costs are up a bit ($3600/yr) – I love having a plan for purchases and needs though, and it def is keeping me in check! I’m not a big mall shopper and find myself deleting all the emails with sales/deals from my fav stores as well now. My biggest job is to pay off my credit cards hopefully by fall….that will be the best feeling! Thank you for this post!
Congrats on your wonderful progress, Sandy! I agree that inventories and item limits can be very helpful. They definitely have been for me. Best of luck to you in getting your credit cards paid off. That will be a wonder accomplishment for you!
Debbie, this post resonates with me too. I’ve been able to skip coupons for the first time in years, and I feel I’ve made a ton of progress. I can see it when opening my closet every morning!
The honesty thing is difficult because my husband doesn’t worry much about it unless the bills aren’t paid (which never happens) and isn’t interested in my purchases. I have made a bigger effort to show him what I’m doing and talk to him about it. He is unaware of my sneaking in things out of guilt, but I wasn’t hiding from his judgment as much as from myself I think. Now I am more aware of my actions and am doing much better but I still have work to do.
Good for you for skipping the coupons, Meli! You HAVE made a lot of progress in recent months – I can see that from your blog posts, as well as your comments here. Your point about hiding from your own judgment is quite valid. I think that was true for me, too. I still have work to do, too, but we are getting there and should be proud of ourselves!
I am not there yet. I have gotten better though and am buying less. When I am contemplating buying something–usually tops, shoes, or books, the little devil and angel on my shoulders debate. Mostly, my awareness when I am shopping has heightened exponentially. Specifically, I ask myself if I LOVE something, if it FITS NOW, and do I REALLY, REALLY need it.
Hang-ups are that I still : (1) enjoy shopping as a pastime, which equals searching for surprise treasure; (2) tend to buy something if it is a great brand at a low price, even if I don’t need it.
Any ideas on how to change? Thank you very much,
It sounds like you ARE changing, Tosia! It doesn’t happen overnight, but the awareness you wrote about is a very important step in the process. I would say that working to cultivate new interests and hobbies and setting some limits on your shopping (by means of a budget and/or an item limit) would be helpful to you in moving forward. If you can set up some accountability with others (some readers are accountable here and report their accountability when I do mine…), that would also be helpful. I know that for me, having to share what I bought here on the blog has made a big difference. Just keep moving forward and taking things one day at a time. A few months or a year from now, you will look back and be very impressed with your progress!
Thanks so much, Debbie, for your encouragement!
I keep track of all my expenditures on a calendar and was astounded at the amount of money I have spent, especially in the last 3 months–so that was an eye-opener. I also have exceeded my closet space (2 closets–one for warm weather clothes, and one for cold weather clothes), so I definitely need to remember that issue when I shop.
I did take two big bags of clothes to Goodwill the other day, as well as donating books to the library.
I still struggle with shopping extreme sales where the prices are ridiculously low. I also enjoy walking/browsing through well-lit stores, listening to the music, and looking at new (to me) stuff. I have considered buying name brands for resale to Clothes Mentor stores for consignment. I may do an experiment and see if the resale value exceeds the original price.
I am not sure what else to do –or not do? Spring is here which gets me outside more to work on landscaping which I enjoy, so that is good. I also like to keep physically active.
I so appreciate the other perspectives on your site and learn new ways to approach my shopping addiction. Thank you again,
It sounds like you’re doing a lot to try to help yourself, Tosia. You’re making progress, but I understand the feeling that it’s not happening quickly enough. You have to remember that your shopping problem didn’t come on overnight, so it will likely take a while to turn it around. It’s great that you’re doing tracking, but I’d recommend that you also set some rules for yourself to help you stay more accountable. Setting an item limit this year has been very helpful to me. Check out some of my other rules and read the comments from fellow readers on this post, as that might help give you some ideas: https://recoveringshopaholic.com/shopping-and-wardrobe-goals-for-2014/ Best of luck to you!
I really loved this:
>>My primary concern was immediate gratification rather than being a woman of integrity and honoring my financial commitments.
You are indeed a woman of integrity!
Thank you so much, Bette! I’m so glad that is true for me now, as it wasn’t for a long time. Having this blog and being accountable to all of you (as well as to my husband) has helped a great deal!
I too have not gone to Nordstrom for triple points! I focused on organizing my house and doing my tax returns instead of shopping!
Good for you, Paula! My guess is that you feel a lot better about yourself for having organized your house and done your tax returns rather than having gotten those triple points at Nordstrom! The “satisfaction” we get from shopping is generally short-lived and usually doesn’t lead us to feel proud of ourselves. I hope you gave yourself a pat on the back for the important step you took!
I am so very happy Debbie to read this post. As I commented on an earlier post you made, you did make incredible progress in your journey and still are even though you didn’t quite see it at the time you wrote the other post, That ” first step of the thousand mile journey” is now a full fledged power walk journey!
(Abgurl writing this from sunny Dubai- the shopping capital of the world and not one item purchased to go home with me!)
Thank you so much for your kind words and kudos, Abgurl! And kudos to you for not buying anything in the shopping capitol of the world! I appreciate your believing in me even back when I wasn’t believing in myself. Thanks for following along on my journey and cheering me on!
i have achieved the 10 + I have another point to add: I no longer find myself buying clothes online “just to see what they look like” and then returning them because I knew from the start they were all wrong.
You have grown by leaps and bounds, Deby, and it’s been wonderful for me to see your progress. The “sign” you added is a really good on. I used to do that, too. I bought for the thrill of buying, but am so happy to be doing that far less often these days. Congrats for all the great changes you’ve made!
I have to say in part, it was because the return policy was so easy. It allowed me to fantasize in a “what if” way, and encouraged me to take a chance on purchasing items that spoke to a different style or attitude–but once I saw in person, were all wrong. I was “buying into” the lifestyle without considering whether it was appropriate for MY lifestyle.
I remember once such disastrous purchase last summer that was a turning point. I got into liking maxi skirts and dresses because they are easy to wear and have a beachy boho vibe I was seeking to cultivate for my summer “look”. (Also, with maxi skirts I don’t have to be so mindful of using self tanner since my legs are pale as ghosts without it.) So, I purchased online, what appeared to be a lovely multicolored (in my colors) ikat (one of my favorite patterns) print knit maxi skirt.
When I received it, the colors could only be described as “virulent”. It literally hurt to look at–so bright and clashing I felt like I needed sunglasses to even remove it from the box! That was one of the first of my online shopping wake up calls, one I will never forget.
It’s interesting how the colors of items online can be SO different from what they are when the items arrive in the mail. I can almost picture those “virulent” colors! I can definitely see how you call that incident a wake-up call. I’ve definitely fallen prey to buying into a lifestyle, too. I shudder to think of how much money I’ve wasted doing that! No more!
I only recently discovered your blog, but this post has made me browse through the archives (again) a lot. It is striking how much you seem to have progressed since you started the blog, especially since you have been suffering from this problem for so long. I was never a shopaholic, but last year I was definitely heading into that direction. Thankfully, the underlying problems were so obvious that I was able to make a substantial change in my life, nipping the lurking addiction in the bud. Nevertheless, I am very interested in becoming a more mindful shopper and I find your blog very informative, inspirational and motivational in that regard. Thank you for sharing so honestly!
Thanks for your kind words, Liesbeth. I am very happy to have recovered as much as I have. There are still lots of ups and downs and I know I have a way to go, but I am pleased with the progress I’ve made. Writing this blog and being accountable to my readers has helped tremendously. I’m glad that you were able to curb your budding shopaholism before it really ruined your life. I’m glad that you’re finding my blog helpful and I appreciate your taking the time to let me know!
I definitely consider myself RECOVERING from my former shopaholism.
In the past I shopped constantly, shopped on vacation, shopped online. I was a serial returner. Buy and return. No plan, no budget, no limits. Funnily, I thought of myself as a great shopper!!!! Shopping was my occupation, my hobby, what I did to fill my days.
I no longer shop like this. I really did get sick of it. I wanted to simplify my life and stop adding more and more stuff to it. My wardrobe was a mess – a riot of too many colors, too many prints, too many cardigans. Very few items went together, dressing was time consuming. I was spending too much money on some areas and not enough on others.
Last year I radically streamlined my winter wardrobe by selecting only one set of core neutral colors + 3 accent colors – ONLY. I removed everything else. It has made an unbelievable difference. NOt only does everything go, it is streamlined, quick to decide and dress. I also then only wanted to shop for things that improved this cluster. I am now approaching my summer wardrobe in the same way.
You have such a wonderful success story, Carolyn – very inspiring! I got sick of the constant shopping and returning, too, which is a big part of why I started this blog. Streamlining colors and styles helps a lot to pare things down and get onto a better wardrobe track. I used to shop for anything and everything that caught my eye, but I now shop for more specific requirements. My new way of shopping is definitely less fun and can be a lot more frustrating, but it serves me better in the end. I wish you continued recovery and a happy summer wardrobe!