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Confessions of a budgeted shopaholic

February 6, 2010

“You know that feeling when you see someone cute, and he smiles, and your heart kind of goes like warm butter sliding down hot toast? Well that’s what it’s like when I see a store. Only it’s better.” — Rebecca Bloomwood, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (2009)

So, I am struggling with my new budget. “Self-control” is an understatement. It’s like, if Scott Speedman circa 1999 were to strip right in front of me, and I couldn’t touch him, that discipline is nothing compared to walking past an Anthropologie window on my way to work, and not going inside.

How can I describe the thrill of buying something new? It’s a feeling that makes me seriously question the phrase “money can’t buy happiness.” Sure, it is fleeting, and might only last a few hours. But it is genuine. No one, and I mean no one, can deny how much a new shirt can boost your spirits on a dreary Monday afternoon. It’s just … that feeling! You walk home with your new purchase and fantasize about all the different outfits and shoes you could wear it with. Maybe with those earrings, and that necklace! You start even picturing events you could wear it to, with men flocking magnetically to your side with drinks and compliments flowing your way. All of this giddy fantasy for a new outfit! Why do we do it?!

Regardless of reasons why (which I hesitate to delve into for fear of self-help pursuits), I am addicted to it. Every once in a while (previously, once a week or so), I buy something new to lift my spirits. This is different from essential buys, like new bedding or a winter coat. This is the shirts we don’t need, and the shoes we certainly don’t require. Just … a little something. My mother, the most budgeted woman in the world, does it too. Every week or two, she’ll go into Kohl’s and buy one pair of earrings from the clearance jewelry rack. She doesn’t know why. She says it just “makes her feel better.”

So, as a shopaholic by nature, I think getting rid of this thrill entirely is out of the question. But I need to start limiting the amounts of it. I simply can’t afford to buy a new outfit every week. So I’m allowing myself “a little something” once every 2 weeks. This time, it was these earrings from Aldo, which came to a grand total of $4.98:

Do I need them? Of course not. Not for any reason whatsoever. But it’s five bucks, which is what I spend and then some at an afternoon at Starbucks, and they make me happy. I’m wearing the ’80s-ish ones on the left tonight to a concert with an otherwise boring, “old” outfit.

I think it’s all about self-discipline, allowing yourself tiny rewards along the way. Much like a nicotine patch, or a once-daily Hershey’s kiss on a diet (or the whole bag, in my case). We will see how my new plan goes. I’m surrounded by temptation, and having a credit card with a $0 balance is all the more appealing. But I’m not giving in.

My next reward will be shopping with Shannon at Beacon’s Closet when she comes here in a few weeks (yay!). And after a few weeks of “non-new thrills,” I can then tell myself I deserve it.

I started reading “How To Be A Budget Fashionista” by Kathryn Finney today (from the library, of course, no room in budget for new books) who defines “a budget fashionista” as someone who “effortlessly combines personal style with financial savvy.” I’ve skimmed over some chapters, and it looks like it offers some solid therapeutic advice for the newly budgeted shopper. The first official Thrifty Threads book review will be in the works once I’ve finished.

So, to conclude, I guess it’s not the size of the purchase in the thrift, but the size of the thrift in the purchase. “A little something,” as my Mom calls it, once in a while will get me through.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2010 7:58 pm

    I can’t wait to visit!! I’m so freakin’ excited. And remember, no setting foot in Times Square allowed!

    • omgitsjpax permalink*
      February 7, 2010 1:06 pm

      Oh, absolutely not. I can’t wait for our fun-filled weekend! Reunion!

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