How to stop shopping addictions (or at least, shop with conscious intention and purpose)
I. Love. To. Shop. I really do.
And why? Because…..
I see shopping as my hobby, basically. I enjoy nice pieces, clothes, shoes, accessories, and coming up with ideas, and so on. It’s truly something that gives me real pleasure.
That said, I treat it like a hobby, so that means I don’t consider pieces I buy to be “investments”, and so on. Real investments are assets that make you money, not in consumer goods, even if the resale value is higher in some items like classic Chanel bags and so on.
Quality over quantity. I did not learn this until much later in life, and I used to buy a lot of substitutes because I wanted a certain item but was too cheap (YES!) to pay for it. I ended up buying so many substitutes that when I finally bought the real thing, I realized how much money I had wasted in the past.
Another issue of mine is buying items for one-hit wonder outfits. It’s why I held off so long on buying leather skirts – I thought I could NEVER wear a leather skirt with anything, and now it’s like a staple, just like my leather leggings (by the way, faux leather looks terrible, save for real leather leggings.. I am sorry.)
I usually become enamoured with a certain piece but it can only be worn.. as-is. Or with a certain look or a set of colours, which makes it extremely limited in terms of versatility.
An example would be a camelhair dress. I love camelhair, the colour seems great, but.. in a dress? I am likely to never wear it even though it SEEMS like a classic piece and I may wear it once or twice. So I admire it, then move on.
I have started keeping lists of Wardrobe Gaps (I am missing basic tanks it seems), and it has helped keep me on track to stop buying so many substitutes or things of items I have already.
This one has really helped me keep things in perspective. If I hit my money goals, I feel more comfortable in letting myself splurge on a bigger purchase.
If I feel like I haven’t saved as much as I should have, then just looking at my numbers, I don’t feel comfortable spending the money I don’t have for such things.
I will say that if you have $10K in assets (investment accounts) but think nothing of dropping $4K on designer bags, something is wrong. You almost spent the entire amount in your investment accounts for some bags.
I am more of the mindset of having $100K in assets before buying $4K worth of designer bags. That is a much better ratio of 4% to stomach, than 40% of your wealth going into some bags.
The point is to look at what you have saved, to be a comfortable, secure, SMART amount of money, before splurging on items.
Wishlists of things I want include pie in the sky items like an Hermès Kelly bag, but also things like “Looking for a white cape coat, not necessarily designer, must look like the one Marisa had on The Rachel Zoe Project”.
I also like to dream online. I once filled a whole online shopping cart of $3000 USD worth of clothes, then X-ed out because it was a dream shopping expedition but at the end of the day, I didn’t really need any of it and I’d rather spend that money buying ONE amazing piece like a vintage Chanel bag.
Lastly, if I cannot stop thinking about it, I give myself time to think it over. I X out, I don’t respond back to emails on it or visit and site, and more often than not, I forget about it. If I cannot stop thinking about it, then I plan to buy it.
When I hit $1M in net worth, I bought my vintage Chanel purse. Okay, correction, I bought the vintage Chanel purse FIRST, but that was because I knew I was close to $1M and it was such a good deal I couldn’t pass it up.
When I realized I actually did cross $1M the month before, I repurposed the purchase as a $1M gift.
Do as I say, not as I do….!!!
But yes, sometimes when I see really great deals, I give myself permission to buy that coveted item on my wish list, as long as I don’t make it a habit to constantly treat myself (and I don’t).
If it is something I don’t necessarily need to buy right away, then I plan for the purchase, and sort of save up my money if you will, waiting for that one piece to come along and take my breath away.
Another hobby! I try to shop my own closet FIRST before thinking that I am missing an item. Sometimes, it works well because I have similar pieces as you can see below, but not EXACT pieces she has such as the belt, tee, skirt is different, etc:
And other times, it is hard to fake having amazing wide-legged camel trousers, when you don’t even own camel trousers to begin with like this look below. I don’t have ANY colours close to camel in my wardrobe for trousers even though I have everything else, so I ended up buying a pre-loved pair to add it to my wardrobe:
I like buying nicer, higher quality pieces, so I cannot stomach paying $975 USD for a pair of pants, but I will pay $100 USD for them because while it is higher than buying a new pair at mainstream retail, it is $100 USD for a pre-loved QUALITY pair that will likely hold its value more at resale than a lookalike Zara pair that no one will pay even $20 for.
I do this with every item that’s designer – I try not to ever buy at retail again, I’ve only done it for my Burberry cashmere trench coat (no regrets there), and the trench coat I ended up reselling as it no longer fit, but not for anything else because it is no longer worth it.
Another great way to not feel guilt, is to make side money for it, and put it in a fund. Instead of putting it towards your goals, say that all of the stuff you resell from your closet, ends up in another account that slowly accumulates, and when you have enough money, you buy it GUILT FREE.
Don’t ever impact your bills or your wealth plan, and it ends up being like a psuedo-emergency fund if anything happens. It’s quite a nice piggybank sort of mentality, that also alleviates the guilt of it.