where’s candy finnigan when you need her?

6 04 2010

so, i read an article this morning entitled “6 signs you’re a shopaholic“.  now i’ve seen confessions of a shopaholic (meh). i’ve watched multiple episodes of intervention. so i figure that it’s going to be all like: sign #1– you hide your purchases from your loved ones.  or perhaps sign #3– you’re in complete financial ruin. going into this article, i was feeling exceptionally confident that i definitely was NOT a shopaholic. but now, i’m not so sure.

1. you spend more when you’re emotional. um, yeah. doesn’t everyone? i’m not exactly cleaning out the macy’s every time my boss and i have an awkward moment, but a really nice meal or a totally unnecessary pair of completely impractical shoes after a period of high stress or general bummed-outness is a beautiful thing. nice things feel good. so when exactly am i toeing the line between appropriate reward and blatant shopaholism?

2. your spending habits result in added stress. yes, every time i buy something that i really don’t need/can’t afford, it makes me feel a little guilty. yes, every time i get to the end of the month and realize that i don’t have any more $$$ to throw at my debt above the minimum payment, it makes me feel like a failure. but no, my apartment is not filled with bags of garments with the tags still on, my FICO score in the healthy 700s, and i haven’t dodged a creditor call since i was 19 (sorry columbia music house! 15 cds for $9.99 my ass!).

3. you’re a compulsive spender. check. once the dam breaks for me, it’s all over. if i choose to get one thing that i don’t need/can’t afford (usually both, see question #5), i am also simultaneously making a decision that i can have everything i want/can grab. 1 pair of full price pants at the gap usually equals $300 (or more) in new clothes.  i actually find that it’s easier for me to pretend i can have everything and let myself try things on. when i leave my brain open to the concept of buying, rarely do i ever find something so amazing that i can’t leave it behind. it’s the times when i tell myself that i can’t have anything, that i go apeshit and come home with a briefcase and 3 pairs of 4″ heels (true story).

4. you can’t live without plastic. this used to be true about me, although since the cards went into the freezer, i’ve definitely learned to live without them. that said, i still cheat a little with my gap card (i do it for the points!), but i always pay it off completely every month.  however, there is still something very seductive about credit that makes it hard for me to close my legs.  i always make sure that i have enough cash in my bank account to pay my bills, but if i want something additional and don’t have the actual real money, somehow i can always convince myself (see question #5) that i will have it next month, and that i’ll pay it off before interest even starts to think about accruing. do you know how many times that logic has turned out to be true? ZERO. yet i keep doing it. that’s seriously f-ed.

5. you’re constantly making excuses. guilty. actually, i’m the best excuse maker i know. everything from “i don’t want to  let that coupon expire” to ” i really need to start building a more professional wardrobe”.  i’m good at it because i can generally find a genuinely valid excuse to buy something. it’s not like “that top will look amazing one me when i finally get that boob job” or “my mom will really love these be-glittered gnome figurines”.   i’m smarter than that at least.  but the truth is that i’m a smooth talker, and if i want it, i can figure out a way to bring it home with a clear conscience. (until i actually get home and then the guilt settles in- see #2).

6. you’ve tried to control your spending in the past. hey wait! what if i’m trying to control my spending in the present? how exactly is that a bad thing? the best part was that their advice was “set up a budget”. um… so you mean “keep  trying to control your spending”? i’m confused!

so, do i have a problem? probably a little. i wouldn’t have $15,000 worth of revolving debt if i didn’t. but i also don’t think that candy and the intervention posse will be sending me off to detox anytime soon. i completed step one (admit you have a problem) a long time ago, and i’m making (slow but steady) progress. today’s little check-in however reminded me that i still have a long way to go.  maybe it’s time for some outpatient financial therapy?

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27 04 2010
true life- i watch too much true life. « broke 207

[…] so many polyester wigs! i have to say that watching this episode made the part of me that was worried about being a compulsive shopper a few weeks ago feel a lot better. i have never maxed out a credit card, never not paid my rent, never had my […]

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