Friday, June 29, 2007

Shopaholics Anonymous

I've decided that shopping is a habit. I will confess, I looooovvvveee shopping. Actually, I used to love shopping. When we moved from Melbourne to a regional town in South Australia I felt a bit lost. I'd spent many of my recreational hours as a teenager just wandering large shopping complexes, drinking in the atmosphere and ocassionally snagging a bargain. It was a great way to unwind. To find myself in a town of 10,000 or so people after the many many choices of shopping complexes was a bit bewildering at first. As things turned out it was a preparatory step to finishing up on a farm where there are NO shops for miles around. LOL.

What's a farm-bound shopaholic to do? For a while I would find myself salivating whenever we went to Adelaide - shops! Hundreds of shops!!! Let me at them! LOL. The great thing then was that because I didn't get to shop as often, I NEEDED to buy things. I got very proficient at spending large amounts of money in short spaces of time (after all what choice did I have?). Gone were the days of spending a mere $5 during a whole days shopping excursion. Instead, it became the norm for my dockets to be well in excess of $100. I gradually became somewhat desensitised to large totals at the checkout.

Over time though I noticed something changing. Instead of feeling energised and excited upon entering large shopping complexes, I started to feel overwhelmed and slightly panicked. I was no longer desensitised to all the stimulation these centres provide and my system just couldn't cope. Add to that dragging around a toddler and a baby (and a reluctant husband) and shopping started to lose its attractive shine. Have you noticed how stores like Target are NOT made for people pushing prams? They have stuff everywhere - especially during Toy Sales (okay, overwhelmed or not, I still can't resist a good toy sale).

I discovered that the less I shopped, the less I felt like shopping. And of course, with a house overflowing with stuff (a result of too many "buy as much as you can" shopping trips), really the need for shopping was gradually diminishing.

That's a good thing right? Less shopping, less money spent, less stuff. Everyone is happy. Mmmm. That worked for a while until some very sneaky little temptations snuck into my life..... Catalogue shopping, party plan shopping (combining my love of socialising with my love of shopping) and INTERNET shopping.

I've discovered the same thing with these types of shopping. The less time you spend shopping (and/or browsing), the less tempting these things are. But once you start.... oh oh.

I think that's what has happened to me this month. Sure, I've done well with the grocery spending. Not so well on the rest of my spending though. The shopaholic bug hit me square in the hip pocket. Sure, I can justify my purchases.... but it's still money that's gone from my bank account to someone else's.

It all started with a Tupperware party that my MIL had. I didn't go but have been wanting a few extra bits for my pantry. Then I discovered they had a set on sale for 20% off. Seemed like a reasonable purchase. Tupperware doesn't come on sale all that often and who knows how much longer I'll have before my choice of lid colour gets taken out of the range. And it does keep food fresh for so much longer so potentially less wastage of food happening. So, $130 later.... more Tupperware.

What was next? Well, my counsellor has been encouraging me to find some kind of hobby. Something I enjoy doing. Not something that's easy to find time for with 3 young children. But kind of important to my recovery. I'd been eye-ing off a few things in the Fox Collection catalogue so decided to bite the bullet and go ahead and order a few things. While I'm ordering and paying the freight, might as well get a few extra things and make it worthwhile. So, $120 later.....

Then I was invited to a Stampin Up party. A fundraiser for our local hospital. Pretty worthy cause I thought. I haven't been doing much socialising lately and the person putting on the party was a friend.... Went along, had a good time. Could definitely see this as part of my recovery. many nice things I could buy to add to my hobby. Plus I want to start scrapbooking and could really see a use for these things with doing that. So, another $130 later.....

Simple Savings is a great place for me to learn new ways of saving money. I love reading the forums and joining in there. One of the posts mentioned a really good deal on a food processor from dstore. And only $1 freight as well. I've been putting off replacing my food processor that died. We've been grating our cheese by hand and I had made enough breadcrumbs in the old one that we're only just now running out. With the extra cooking I've been doing from scratch I could really use an appliance like that and it was such a good deal.... another $65.95 later....

On the topic of the forums, I read another post about some websites that are a bit like clearance places where you can get some really good deals. The deal of that particular day was basically a mystery box for $20. Sounded like a bit of fun. They send you 6 items and you have no idea what they'll be but they guarantee the retail value will be around $100. What the heck, I was having a spending month so another $20 wasn't going to be very noticable. Surely there'd be something in there I could use for a gift or donate when we're asked for something for a raffle basket. Kind of an adult lucky dip I thought. Heck, just the fun and suspense of it all was sure to be worth the $20. Add on a bit of postage.... nearly $30 later.... Hmmm, wasn't simple savings supposed to be helping me save the moment it's sure helping me spend it. LOL.

Off to the dentist and can't get within 20 minutes of shops without going shopping can I? Into Kmart.... some new jeans for DS (well that really was a necessary purchase), a few more things for my new scrapbooking venture, need some wool to try out the knifty knitter I bought from fox collection, who knows what else I bought. Another $130 later....

By this time my knifty knitter has arrived and I've tried it out and quite liked it. During 2 TV shows I've made myself a new scarf for the grand total of $2.50. Wow....this is very exciting and could be a great hobby that will actually *save* us money (over time of course). BUT....need some more wool. It's not too easy to find around here. Simple Savings to the rescue - several sites recommended that I could buy wool online from. Another $100 later...... It's going to take some real knifty knitting to recoup that spending.... :-)

LOL. I guess you get the picture. I'm not really saying I regret any of my purchases (I just justified them all didn't I?). But what I did notice as the month wore on, the more money I spent, the easier it became to spend and justify purchases. I've just added those amounts up and we're talking just over $700 of non-necessity based purchases in the space of a month!!! I have actually omitted from mentioning a few "necessary" purchases that were also made. So much for having a low spending year! I guess my next challenge will be to put some of these things to use so that we at least get some value for money from my spending spree.

And I'll have to work my way back to getting more used to NOT spending money so that spending seems more foreign again. That way it becomes harder to SPEND money rather than harder NOT to spend money.


Kez said...

Tut tut :)

At least you have admitted it, it wasn't just "junk" you bought and can all be put to good use!


emma said...

And you've obviously thought about and maybe learned some valuable lessons from the past month, so just enjoy what you have!