Shopaholic woes

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.



Life is a foreign language: all men mispronounce it. – Christopher Morley

It was raining when I arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris yesterday. The custom official asked me “Vous avez- quelque chose   declarer ? Tous vins, spiritueux, cigares, parfums…” . I nervously presumed he was asking me: “Have you anything to declare? Any wines, spirits, cigars, perfumes…” I couragely blurted out the only french line I know: “Excusez-moi, Je ne parle pas francais! ” (Excuse me, I don’t speak french).

Oh my God…I recall my first week in Italy. I felt like a trapped rat not knowing where to run to get my food. It was difficult to communicate so I decided to enroll in an Italian class.

First day of class…

I have never felt so intimidated in a class as I just did in my Italian class. From the moment my severe looking professor showed up, I knew I was in trouble. She was spewing Italian like a champ greeting everyone out in the hallway and I whispered to one of my classmates, “Are we supposed to understand this?”

 I was fine to introduce myself. I tried learning the basic conversations in italian beforehand.

“Mi chiamo Ros (My name is Ros).”

I remember that much at least, but when Professor Martini went around the classroom asking “Come va la vita?” (How’s life treating you?) well I was stumped… mostly I was just terrified at the fact that not only am I taking a class at 8,30 a.m. which is terribly early for me who rarely crawls into bed before 2 a.m., but also that this is a FOREIGN LANGUAGE class.

 Oh oh, I begun perspiring. I frantically tried to retrieve from my memory bank my Spanish in college as it has some similarities with Italian but all I could think about was Adios Patria Adorada, Noli Me Tangere (works of our national hero, Jose Rizal) and how I used to sit in class reading a love letter inside my spanish book. Luckily I received a high grade for Spanish but that was approximately one million years ago!

I managed to make it through class with my sweating palms, nervously writing down all the words I didn’t understand and promising myself to study those first five chapters my Professor asked me to do. grr

It’s good for me to feel dumb sometimes, keeps me in my place.


Today, I learned 10 phrases in French …here are some examples with matching pronunciation:

A. During candid conversation

  • 1. “Would you stop spitting on me while you’re talking!”

“Voulez-vous cesser de me cracher dessus pendant que vous parlez!”

(voo – lay voo se – say de me cra – shay de – su pen – dan que voo parl – ay)

  • 2. “Reality and you don’t get on, do they?”

“Le réalité et toi, vous ne vous entendez pas, n’est-ce pas?”

(le ree – al – ee – tay eh twa voo ne voo zen – ten – day pah nes pah)

B. On helping others

  • 3. “Stop bothering me!”

“Parle à mon cul, ma tête est malade” (parl a mon cul, ma teht eh ma – lahd)

  • 4. “Do it yourself.”

“Faites-le vous-même”  (fay – teh le voo mehm)

C. Inside a restaurant…

  • 5. “This restaurant isn’t as good as Mc.Donald’

“Ce restaurant n’est pas aussi bon que le Mc.Donalds’
(se re – staw – ran neh pas o – si bon ke le mac don – alds)

  • 6. “How many of your customers have died?”

“Combien de vos clients sont morts?” (com – byen de vo clee – ent sont moo – ree)

D. Greetings

  • 7. “Haven’t the police found you yet?”

“La police, ne t’a pas encore trouvé?”

(la po – lees ne ta pa zen – cor troo – vay)

  • 8. “You’ve got a face that would blow off manhole covers”

“T’as une tête a faire sauter les plaques d’egouts!”

(ta zoon tait a fair saw – teh leh plahk de – goo)

E. Dealing with parents of children

  • 9. “Your children are very attractive. Are they adopted?”

“Vos enfants sont très beaux. Ils sont adoptes?”

(vo zen – fant son tray boh. Il sont a – dop – te)

  • 10. “My God your children are ugly!”

“Mon Dieu, que vos enfants sont laids”

(Mon dyer ke voe zen – fant son lay)

By the way, don’t forget to speak french with your nose!