Reflections on life. Collections of inspirational quotes. Rediscovering relationships and faith.
Its gaze is haunting me, seducing me to take hold of it even for a minute and taste its presence on my palm. I feel my sweat gently caressing my skin in spite of this Monday winter chill. Clenching my fist, clearing my throat resisting its hypnotic voice saying: “take me”, “hold me”…and I stand there in trance!
“May I help you?”, I heard another voice.
“This is our latest…The PRADA Phone by LG (KE850) …
That good looking sales agent shook me off from my trance.
Yes, I confess. I am a shopaholic or better still a compulsive buyer. Every time I find myself in front of any store, big or small, I swear you can visually see my pupils dilate with excitement and feel my adrenalin pumping through my heart. There is something about the latest tech & gadgets, signature clothes, shoes, bags, DVDs, books, etc that bring out the demon in me.
Shopping is my passion in life next to internet and people. Imagine a life without shopping ? I enjoy the buzz of shopping and looking for things. This is my real high. Yet, it’s ruining me financially and psychologically. I see a lot of stuffs I bought untouched, complete with tags and plastic. I am accumulating large quantities of unnecessary, unwanted items. Arrgghh!
I am aware of my problem. I even ask those close to me to literally drag me away from the store whenever I have that terrible urge to buy. It didn’t help.
Everytime I say No to a certain product and walked out of the shop, I keep on thinking about it. It’s like an itch inside me that i need to scratch and I can’t sleep because of the itch! I need to go back to the store and buy it. When it is finally mine, it will be stashed away in some dark corners of my cabinet and be remembered only after an obligatory clean up of my closet full of long forgotten stuffs I bought!
Who said shopping is a breeze? It is an artform, ventured forth only by some Maniacal Human Being bent on putting some Demented Form of Punishment onto one self. ( Highs and lows like suffered by Schizos.. High when you buy, Low when the whopping VISA/Mastercard bill comes!!).
This year, I decided to change. I wanted to be firm on my goal, I finally took hold of my pen and notebook to write down strategies and techniques to break my cycle of overspending; to gain control over my impulse to buy.
Now I am tracking my spending and the relative necessity of each expenditure. I am also writing a money and shopping memoir and if possible, constructing a money dialogue to help me better understand the roots of my problem.
My techniques are working. I see a drop on my expenses from January to February 2007.
If you want it or not, I am going to share them with you.
How to kick out my Compulsive Shopping Disorder
1. Cancel all but two credit cards. Put those out of reach–in a safe deposit box or frozen in ice.
2.Use cash for paying. No ATMs, bring limited amount of cash.
3. Always carry a shopping list — and stick to it!
4. Avoid malls and shopping areas. Remove temptation. Cancel catalogs. Don’t shop on lunch breaks or kill time at the mall.
5. Window shop after stores close. Feel the urge during the day? No problem, just leave cash and credit cards behind.
6. See SALE signs? Turn around quickly!! Walk the other way!!!
7. Don’t be a Net victim. Think of credit card frauds.
8. When buying gifts for friends or relatives, make a list. And stick to it.
9. Use mind diverting strategies — exercise, take a walk, chat with friends, read a book, listen to some music — every time I feel the urge to shop.
10. Create a “shopping diary.” Record purchases for a month. What time is it? Where am I? How do I feel before buying the item? What about after; Do I need the item or just want it? How much does it cost?
11. Look for patterns. Do I shop out of insecurity? In celebration of a break up with a boring partner? Out of boredom? Write one page on each motive. Detail how overspending affects my financial security, and how life could be happier with some changes.
12. Set a goal for saving, with an amount and a target date. For example, “I’ll save 600euro for emergencies by this year.” By setting aside 50 euro a month, I can meet it.