In Discussions, Discussions, Discussions, Minimalism, Money, Style

Spending money still makes me feel rich

A throwback from my shopaholic days is that when I spend money, I still feel rich (yes I was even worse before if you can believe it, seeing as I worked full-time in school but still had to pay tuition, yet found time to SHOP).

I know all the reasons why I spend and still spend money today:

  1. I’m bored and it makes me feel good
  2. I feel like I haven’t had anything new in a while *snort*
  3. I want to treat myself for ____insert inane reason here____

The fact of the matter is that when I spend money particularly on myself, I feel good.

I feel rich.

I feel like I have the money to spend (and in today’s case, I actually do within reason).

I can’t help it. This is my nature.

I know it sounds SO STUPID because if you spend money, you have less of it in the bank and ergo, you AREN’T as rich as you were before you picked up that $400 Vince shawl circle collared sweater.

I’ve tried reprogramming myself, and I’ve tried tricking my brain into thinking that spending money on buying index funds is just as fun as a new leather jacket, but it doesn’t bloody work.

I like new stuff, and this clashes very mildly with my other side — the minimalist one, because even though I don’t want to buy a massive couch or a big screen TV, I feel perfectly justified in buying yet another striped top.

I love opening my wardrobe and seeing a TON of possibilities and choices. I like seeing all the style options and choices I could have because it makes me feel like I could be anyone I wanted to emulate today.


I don’t have items that still have tags on them, or that I have never ever worn in my life, but I do admit to having pieces that I’ve only worn a few times because I’ve only wanted to feel like Audrey Hepburn a few times in my life.

Photograph-Vienna-Brussels-Gloves-Shopping-Winter-Clothes

Can you imagine a closet like this where I could wear any pair of coloured gloves I wanted? DREAMY.

The only thing I can do going forward is to try and put parameters around my spending such as:

  • No synthetic crap materials — polyester is a big NO, as is acrylic and nylon for the most part.
  • Nothing I can’t see myself wearing when I am 50 years old and to still look chic.
  • Nothing disposable/too trendy.
  • Nothing made in China — yes, specifically that country due to their wobbly safety/ethics standards.
  • Not of high quality — even at 40% off, mediocre leather gloves are not going to satisfy my inner snob.

So far, it’s been working.

Just the other day, I was lured into the Banana Republic store by their 40% off sale (what? I’m a sucker!) and their mega-saturated colours, especially that magenta hot pink paired with dark red or white creamy whites, particularly these 4 outfits highlighted in yellow below:

Banana-Republic-Autumn-Winter-2013-Magenta-Winter-Whites-Outfits-New

 

Then I went around checking the pieces I liked, and discovered they were a heavy mix with polyester with a touch of wool.

..and although they were mostly made in Vietnam, a good number of those pieces were made in China.

Back to the rack they went, and I left the store feeling very good about the whole experience.

So that’s it folks. After years of trying to fix my spending habits, I am realizing I have to work with them and allow myself to browse clothing and be enamoured by it all…. but to do so within specific rules I set on myself, which in and of itself, limit how much I actually buy these days (although the price tag seems to have gone up significantly.)

HOW DO YOU HANDLE YOUR SHOPPING HABIT, THAT IS, IF YOU HAVE ONE?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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33 Comments

  1. Tania

    Quantity limits work the best for me. I think about how many pairs of jeans I need by style and I’m not allowed to exceed that unless one wears out or I change size. Same thing with large black bags, ballet flat, jackets, etc. I don’t have it perfected yet but it has stopped me from over buying things that I know I’d love but don’t need any more of.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Quantity limits are also my thing. I am replacing work pants right now and using the one-in-one-out rule.

      Reply
  2. Michelle

    I am just shy of being a shopaholic. I just take care to stay OUT of the mall or any place that would entice me to shop. And yes, when I spend money I do feel rich 🙂

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Avoiding temptation is the key

      Reply
  3. Money Pincher

    I still haven’t handled my shopping habit yet. I am guilty using all the reasons you wrote to buy myself stuff (that I don’t really need). Like you, I am trying to shop for quality pieces instead of buying the cheap and cheerful. I find that by doing this, I am more conscientious in my purchases and will return the items onto the rack once I see the price tag! 🙂

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I’m trying not to buy anything unless I see a wardrobe need!! That said I really need a casual black topper…. It is too cold to go bare shoulders in the office

      Reply
  4. Gia T.

    Oh you are much stronger than I am… I got gobbled up in that sale, lock, stock, and barrel.

    To avoid shopping habits I try not to go into any stores period, because if I do, it usually triggers the shopping monster (as it did this month).

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      ONLINE shopping is where I get screwed

      Reply
  5. Paul Rumohr

    It seems you’re walking along the classic hedonic treadmill. You get the rush (dopamine spikes) shopping for the perfect clothes and accessories. When that perfect outfit is put together and you wear it out, you get the warm satisfying spurt of seratonin that makes you socially feel a bit ahead of the rest of the fashion pack.

    The reason you keep repeating the cycle is because happy chemicals like dopamine and seratonin eventually need to turn off. It’s necessary for our biological survival. So, after a while, you go looking for them again.

    You’re a very well read person- I highly recommend you pick up “Meet Your Happy Chemicals” available at Amazon. It will explain why you feel “rich” when you shop and what’s actually happening physiologically in your brain.

    I understand that you’ve worked hard and save most of your money. Maybe more than anyone who comes here to read and post.

    But I think you owe it to yourself to understand what’s happening in your brain- more specifically the part of the brain that is overriding the part of your brain that wants to save. That’s pretty curious, isn’t it? You obviously have an enormous amount of willpower to have done what you have, and yet shopping still gets you to behave in a way contrary to some of your core values 🙂

    It’s not a long read, and I think you’ll enjoy it. It may make your Top 10 book list for next time 🙂

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I’ve read a lot of documentation on that very phenomenon but not that book. Thanks for the recommendation.

      I know it is because I’m addicted to that rush and I use it as a way to feel good as a pick me up of sorts.

      Reply
  6. Yetunde

    Being a “snob” definitely helps me. Leather must be leather not faux. There are certain stores, brands and designers I just won’t bother with.

    My greatest spending control this year has been reading the labels for fiber content and washing instructions and trying things on in the store before buying. Apparently my mind is still stuck on the body I had 5 years ago 🙂

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I avoid dry clean only items that I can’t clean as a delicate cycle in my washing machine. It depends on the design as well. Generally I also hate fibers that are plastic-derived like polyester…

      Reply
  7. Kathy

    Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending you how you look at it, I feel guilty whenever I spend money on myself. I think it comes from growing up poor with parents who rarely spent money on themselves. I wish I could enjoy the whole shopping experience a lot more than I do.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I want your problem! 🙂 I don’t feel guilty. I probably should.

      Reply
    2. Jane

      @Kathy: Oh, I have the same “problem” as Kathy due to the same reason. But… even if I feel guilty I still shop (too much, I must admit). Right now I’m working on the habit to cultivate my inner “snob” and to by less, only what and when is needed, good quality items and preferably ethical. Your blog helps a lot in this!

      Reply
      1. save. spend. splurge.

        Yes I am definitely a good model to follow if you’d like to be a snob 😉 I am admittedly one.

        Reply
  8. Debbie M

    I am a huge fan of working with whatever issues we have.

    I like your rules. I have similar rules but it’s to keep me from buying stuff I won’t actually use, not to control my spending. For the latter, I use a budget–I can buy whatever I want in one category without worrying that it’s taking away from another category because I have other money budgeted for that other category.

    I have a friend who found that she was buying way too much stuff at Target. She found a strategy that let her get all the same thrills without spending so much money. First, she has a rule that she may buy only one thing. But she has another rule that she can put as many things in her cart as she wants. She tours through the whole store picking up things that might be her one thing. Any one of these items could be hers! The whole time she’s weighing the different items against each other. Then she gets to go around the whole store again, putting things back. Sometimes she even talks herself into putting everything back! She still gets the thrill of shopping and feeling special and feeling rich.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I started doing this!!!!! I pick out all the things I think I want and then I sort it down until I reach one or none.

      Reply
      1. Debbie M

        @save. spend. splurge.: Cool!

        Reply
      2. Jane

        @save. spend. splurge.: “I pick out all the things I think I want and then I sort it down until I reach one or none.” me too!

        Reply
        1. save. spend. splurge.

          !! 🙂 Fellow comrade!! 🙂

          Reply
  9. Michelle

    Argh, I still get caught up in the same crappy sales at Banana Republic, then I walk in and see how junky it is and end up walking right back out. I’ve done the same thing as you putting rules on what I purchase now, I pay close attention to quality, country of manufacture and materials used. Unfortunately it’s inflated the cost to purchase items for my wardrobe. But I have enough clothes now so it’ll be a no spend year for 2015.
    I’ve tried to do the same thing as you and get excited about investments and the only way I can is to invest in the clothing companies whose clothes I buy…LOL!

    Reply
    1. Gia T.

      @Michelle: I used to think Banana Republic had nice items (even the stuff I just recently bought!) but then I wore one of the new sweaters yesterday and it left black fiber/fluff on my pants! Sigh. Thing is, I’m now at a loss now as to what brands are good quality yet not crazy expensive (i.e. $300 for one sweater). 🙁

      Reply
      1. save. spend. splurge.

        You and me both.

        Reply
    2. save. spend. splurge.

      Emerson Fry, 🙂

      Reply
  10. Taylor Lee

    I get this feeling all the time. My family was not so well off when I was growing up so the fact that I have a stable job and discretionary income makes me feel way too flush. Sometimes I’ll walk down to the shopping district and just window shop to see all the things I can buy now that I couldn’t when I was younger and it gives me this weird sense of financial empowerment? That said, I’ve never really been a big spender (I actually tend toward the miserly side of the spectrum) but hot damn I’d be lying if I said every time Valentino comes out with a new collection I didn’t have to check myself.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      But do you buy anything Valentino or tell yourself no?

      Reply
      1. Taylor Lee

        @save. spend. splurge.: No, I don’t. But then I “reward” my restraint by eating out because, you know, I deserved it or something? (logic of a spendy mind)

        Reply
        1. save. spend. splurge.

          Same as me then. 🙂 I’m worse though. I reward myself for not spending as much as I COULD have spent 😉

          Reply
  11. Renee

    I am a shopaholic but I have found that having some rules in place has helped. I don’t know if I spend less; but I buy fewer things, I have more value for my stuff, and it takes me longer to lose interest in it.

    I still buy some polyester, but only if it’s sturdy material and I know it won’t make me sweat. Think heavy full skirts and chiffon tunics – so loose that the air flows around them rather than through them. Same for nylon, but nylon is rare in loose clothing. Acrylic is a big fat NO. I’m also starting to avoid non-stretch rayon because it tears too easily.

    I have a bunch of other rules. They’re mostly around flattering cuts (must be fitted in the waist), flattering colours (you’re never going to wear pink shirts – be realistic), comfort (high waisted jeans are too uncomfortable to own more than one pair) , and overall quality. It’s almost impossible to avoid made-in-China in Australia. All of our stuff is made there.

    I try not to look at online shops, but I suck at it. I keep a shopping wish list so that if I really MUST shop for fun I can go hunting for something I will actually use (currently the list consists of grey chunky cotton sweater, comfy wide-leg jersey pants that don’t look like track pants, flattering track pants, black fit-and-flare coat, neutral body suits that aren’t too-short/low-cut/backless/thong-bottom).

    I return things ruthlessly.

    It also helps sometimes to reflect on good reasons to save money. For me, I think of what would happen if a loved one got sick or their house burned down or something. I would want to help. I’d want to give them everything. That turns me off wasting my money.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Oh yeah, I’d agree with the type of polyester but I tend to avoid all of it out of making shopping easier.

      Online shopping is my vice though. Etsy is just so easy to browse!

      Reply
  12. Revanche

    Ya know, I feel the same way.
    Don’t get me wrong, opening a new CD or investment *does* actually feel just as warm and fuzzy as getting a new THING but owning a new beautiful top that I can actually wear (an issue, right now!) was delicious. (Still is.)
    It feels rich to have a nice thing and not be broke; to have a nice thing and not worry about whether the lights will stay on. So in that sense it IS kind of a rich thing. And even though it is nonsense to feel “rich” in the money sense because we spent money to get new things, I suspect it’s the side of us that loves color, textures, being put together, or getting to touch a new thing that’s rolling around in the glorious feeling of having.

    Of course, I’m now in a new cycle of purging old things to make room and probably will have to get rid of 10+ year old things that are comfy but really, super outdated and I just keep because “it’s not worn out yet”.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      YEP! A delicious new top *sigh* It is nice to spend money without worrying about not having enough for next month.

      Reply

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