Confessions of a shopaholic - Part 1

By Hand On The Hip - 1/19/2019

Hello there!

You read all about how year 2018 has been quite eventful for me. From being almost 10,000 kms away from my family and basically starting a whole new life altogether, things have been pretty overwhelming. For someone who has never lived without seeing her parents at least once or twice a month, this is a major challenge. I am always missing out on festivals and birthday celebrations at home, I miss the fact that I could cross the street and pick up some Chocolate Dad from Pabba's, I wish Sydney had auto drivers to haggle with - aaah, I miss everything about home. Well, change is inevitable, but the only thing that has been constant and absolutely gives me solace is the fact that I can afford to shop till I drop. Now, don't get me wrong - I am not depressed. I am a happily married woman in her late 20s who is a bargain hunter and a massive shopaholic! Sigh! I guess after a while, I realised that I was going a little overboard with my purchases and did a little bit of a self-introspection. One of my resolutions for this year is to shop less, shop for things I really need and make full use of things I own/buy.

It all started when I was in my late teens and as a rebellious, style-conscious teenager, I had to up my wardrobe game every chance I got. When restyling and refurbishing old tees got a bit exhausting, I had to resort to saving my 100-200 INR lunch money to buy clothes off the street. Back in college I remember I barely had 10-20 clothing items that I could wear to class and yet, it seemed a lot more than what most of my friends had back then. My roommate often ridiculed me for the massive amount of clothes I owned (and it seems hilarious at the moment because she'd just faint if she saw my wardrobe now!), but that never stopped me from buying more. Factory outlets, malls, thrift stores, shopping plazas were my usual hangout spots. Over the years, the clothes just kept piling up! And gradually, from clothes it expanded to shoes, bags, junk jewellery, accessories, scarves, watches and so much more! There was no end to this madness! Then came the craze of online shopping and I managed to find good deals online as well. The worst part is - I come from a family full of bargain hunters and hoarders. The one thing that me, my mum and my sister-in-law enjoy to our heart's content is (drumroll, please), the awesomeness of shopping! Most people binge-eat or go on a drinking spree when in a foul mood or have had heartbreaks or have had a tiff with their friends, but I am different, I binge-shop! The only thing that can usually mend my heart is retail therapy. When I see a sign that says "80% off", I can't help myself. I always hoped that at some point in my life, this hunger to buy things I don't really need would somehow end, but alas, no! I have now moved to a beautiful country which has the best deals, I mean, THE BEST deals that I cannot seem to walk away from! The wait period between office and Zumba class is when most of the damage happens. I always find myself running towards malls in that half hour! I have even skipped gym at times because the signboards at Max or Cotton On have had me hypnotized. It had come to a point where shopping became a hobby, a very destructive one. While I am still a bargain hunter, I end up buying things on sale pretty much every single day and hence, my wardrobe is like a volcano about to erupt!

Well, now let's move on to the section where I talk about the treatment for shopaholism. If you're just like me and you want to hit the brakes on this dirty disease, I have started following a few of these tips that I am about to give you and well, so far, so good!

Mental Tuning

  • Be aware that the four letter word 'SALE' is a scam. I mean, yeah, if you follow the prices rise and drop carefully, you'll know that you got the most amazing deal. However, these corporations are still making a bloody 300-400% profit on every piece of clothing even when it's on sale. I am all game for buying clothes or shoes when there's a sale, but there's a goddamn sale every single day! So you gotta be super careful with that and buy only when you actually need something and not everyday! And always remember that the best sale deal is buying nothing! :D

  • Think about the utility of the product before you purchase it. Do you see yourself using it to its fullest and you really think you need it? If the answer is yes, then buy it! I saw a couple of pencil skirts recently that I almost ended up purchasing. But I thought about how I already have 4-5 skirts lying around unused and decided not to buy more. Sometimes we end up buying things on an impulse, so spend a good five minutes thinking about the actual use of that product, the number of times you think you'd use it and whether you really need it or not.

  • If you're from India and have moved abroad, the "conversion" factor plays its part automatically. Think about how you're going to get that item for a much lower rate in India and trust me, you will not buy the product! By the time you get to India, hopefully you'd have forgotten about it.

  • Leave your credit card at home and carry only $100 cash or something with you. Follow this technique only if you are extremely uncontrollable. According to researchers, compulsive shoppers tend to shop more using their cards. Once you are stable, you can put your card back in your wallet.

Social Media

  •  Influencers on social media who talk about good deals all the time should be blocked! That includes me too. If you are vulnerable, that really needs to be done, at least till you've recovered from this illness. Once you think you can resist the urge to buy, follow these influencers and make sure you like all of their pictures/videos! :D

  • Watch videos on minimalism and try to embrace it. Well, in simple words, I understand that minimalism is a concept where you buy things that are really necessary, versatile and don't occupy a lot of space. These videos I am referring to have been uploaded by bloggers, vloggers or simply just anyone who has started living a minimalist lifestyle. You will understand how some things we buy absolutely make no sense in the long run and can be avoided. I will write a blog post about it once I start treading on this path. Prachi from SuperWOWStyle is one such vlogger who has put up this brilliant video on 50 things she doesn't buy anymore.

Other Alternatives

  • Mobile phones to the rescue! If you have an hour or so to kill and you're someone that resorts to shopping in that period, pick up the phone and call a friend you haven't spoken to in ages. You could also just spend some time reading about random things or watch YouTube videos. Did I mention that my YouTube channel is up and running now? :D

  • Try to become a pro window shopper! I know that's an insanely difficult task, but trust me, it helps. Keep telling yourself that you're only going to look at things and not buy anything. Examine the product inside out and note down all the flaws of the item in your head. You won't feel like buying them anymore!

  • Pick up a hobby that enables you to learn or create something. I know it's easier said than done and believe me, I know this because I am a victim too! I somehow got myself to start painting and it's absolutely therapeutic! You already know that I've been cooking quite a bit, so trying out a new kitchen experiment each day really helps. You could also try learning a new language, pick up some books to read or join some classes if you have time to kill.

Lists and Journals

  • Make a list of things you need and buy those things only! If you follow me on Instagram, you'll remember my Magic Quadrant from several months ago and I will definitely recreate it and put it up here for your reference. Basically, just buy those things that you either really need (for example, daily essentials like food, milk, an umbrella etc.) or things you need as well as want. The quadrants highlighted in orange are items you are allowed to buy, but the ones in green should be avoided at any cost.
  • Keep a monthly or quarterly budget aside for shopping and don't overshoot. This model fails sometimes because you can buy a hundred cheap, useless things and still be under budget. So try and keep a limit on the number of items you buy as well.

Other Initiatives

  • For every new piece of clothing you buy, give away or throw two old pieces to make space for the new one. I don't even know what clothes I own because of all the hoarding! But I recently realized that I have this sweater I got two years ago that looks terrible and has faded, so I am considering throwing it out or giving it away. During my recent trip to India, I gave away at least 50% of my old clothes that were simply taking up space in my wardrobe.

  • Certain TV/Netflix/YouTube shows that help families dispose the stuff they've been hoarding for ages are really inspiring. I have been watching Consumed and Tidying Up on Netflix and they inspired me to help my family back home with their decluttering process. These showing are also very calming and therapeutic to watch. 

  • Master the art of restyling or recycling! If you want to wear the same pieces and yet not repeat them, then try mixing and matching by wearing a different top with that same skirt you wore last week or maybe this time add a blazer or a jacket to it, accessorising differently each time or something even as simple as changing your hairstyle. Similarly, if you are looking to buy a new storage container, why not just use an old plastic/cardboard box instead? You could paint over it and give it a makeover as well!

  • Invest most of your salary at the beginning of the month. Another great way to make sure you don't spend all your money as soon as you get it in your bank account is to set up a monthly recurring deposit. This is the best way to save for the future as well as not waste your money on useless things.

We have all seen Isla Fischer struggling to pay her debts in the movie 'Confessions of a Shopaholic' (I should probably read the book too!) and Lily Aldrin from HIMYM who is too scared to confess to her husband that she has oodles of debt piling up. While my situation is nearly not as bad, it could get a lot worse if I don't take precautions now. Thankfully, I have realized this sooner than later and I can work my way out of it. I am still in the 'impulse buying' stage I hope. I know many of you suffer with the same problem and hence, I decided to just talk about my experience out in the open and if you can relate to this, fret not because you're not alone, so do make sure you comment below and let's make this more interactive, yeah? I will be back soon with an update on how things are going! Until then, ciao!

Hand On The Hip

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