Why I Need To Stop Shopping (And Why I Don’t)

Friday, March 14, 2014

I feel like being a shopaholic is a right of passage when you reach the age of about thirteen or fourteen, spanning until someone pries your credit out of your cold, dead (and perfectly manicured) hands. It is always the same old "It was fate!" or "I needed it!" or "I have nothing like this!". I use these every time I step foot into a store that I know I should keep a distance from (See: J. Crew, especially the Factory store). In reality, it is probably not fate, you probably didn't need it, and you already have six plain white v-neck shirts. But what's one more, right?

As a college student who needs to, you know, buy food, toiletries, and textbooks galore, shopping for unnecessary clothing or beauty purchases is not the smartest move. I have the tendency to use food money for a new shade of red lipstick or a sweater that I would end up wearing once. I get a lecture every time I come home from my mother telling me that I need to be smarter with my money. And I think I've finally started to listen to her.

First and foremost, at some point, I'm going to have to realize that maybe I do have everything that I need. Shopping for more and more trendy pieces clutters my closet and makes me devour ice cream by the pints when I see my bank statements dwindling to double digits. Dipping below $100 on my debit card gives me a feeling similar to what I imagine a bullet wound would feel like.

Second, one day I am going to want to go out to eat with some friends and realize that I have spent my entire earnings on things that I did not necessarily need. I have the tendency to put my frivolous purchases above the ones that will keep me alive, no matter how much I say that shopping keeps me kicking. If I keep telling myself that it is okay to buy over $100 worth of merchandise from Kate Spade because "it was a really great deal" and I "couldn't pass it up", where will I draw the line?

Third, I can finally prove to my mother that I can save my money. I'm pretty sure that every time I got a paycheck over the summer, she made silent bets with herself on how quickly I would deposit or cash it and come back with new clothing pieces or makeup. I get a little satisfaction knowing that I'm winning in a way. For example, I've put myself on a makeup buying ban and my mom seems to be proud of me for resisting the urge to buy eighty more blushes or six new shades of lipstick that I probably already have.

On the other hand, I love shopping. It's something that makes me happy. I get a sick satisfaction out of carrying a bunch of bags around the mall, even if each only has something small in it. I love bringing home new purchases and trying them on, or swatching them on the backs of my hands. After the initial stress I get from the overwhelming amounts of clothes surrounding me in stores, or in malls in general, I become absolutely jubilant. It's probably really embarrassing to be seen with me when I'm in the zone. I probably look a bit deranged and lost, but at least I feel happy on the inside.

Maybe I should just cut down on the shopping and not completely eliminate it from my life. Is that even possible in the first place?

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