I used to be an emotional shopper. But I didn’t know it. I didn’t even know there was a term for it.
It all started back in college. Between classes, studies, a full-time job, a sorority, family and friends, something had to give. Throw in a volatile relationship with an ex-boyfriend and I’m lucky I didn’t spiral out of control.
Bad day at work? Buy some shoes, you’ll feel better.
Got a bad grade on an exam? You know, those shoes would look good in black too. You should go get them.
Got in an argument with the boyfriend…again. Well, a new purse will make you feel happy.
And so on and so on…
Shopping was a band-aid for what was ailing me. My emotions mixed with credit cards were a bad combination. And I still kept doing it. College was one big spendy rollercoaster and like any great ride, it came to an abrupt end.
No, I didn’t just wake up one day and think, hey I’m going to get my finances under control. I wish it had happened that way, it would have been a lot easier.
See, when one has a problem, they actually have to recognize that they have a problem. Even after I graduated college, I was still spending. Even after I left my crappy job, and got a new one after graduating, it still went on.
My eye-opener came in two waves.
The first wave was the break-up of my five-year relationship with my ex. It was as I said, a volatile relationship and when it ended it was difficult. My emotions were all over the place and I was a mess. But I threw myself into my work, and when I wasn’t working, my friends were there for me. Rallying me and building me back up.
But while this transition was happening, I wasn’t at the stores…
The second wave was moving out on my own. You can’t spend willy nilly when you’ve got bills to pay. Was I the model of frugality? No. But I wasn’t mindlessly buying make-up either.
Money suddenly started to make sense to me, as a means to an end, not a cure for what ails.
Now when I’m feeling down, I watch reality tv, or honestly… I clean. Sometimes I just cry and get my emotions out there.
But I don’t shop. And that’s what’s important.