I'm going to talk about money. I have a major problem. And I'm having an a-ha moment, like Oprah would say. (Aw, Oprah! Miss you!) Anyway. A little background information:
I'm addicted to shopping. The day Confessions of a Shopaholic arrived in the book store, I bought it. I read it in under an hour. I have never before related so closely to a fictional character. I think I may have even cried, reading about someone who was just like me. Another person I closely relate to is Cher from Clueless. I can be very clueless
You know that thing when you see someone cute and he smiles and your heart kind of goes like warm butter sliding down hot toast? Well that's what it's like when I see a store. Only it's better.
Rebecca Bloomwood said it best. When I go shopping, I get a natural high. I feel happy. My hearts skips a beat. When my arms are heavy from holding pretty shopping bags, I smile. There is something so amazing about new purchases. I love running hands over new clothes hung in my closet, or inhaling that yummy new leather smell in my new pair of shoes.
I don't think of the damage I'm doing, though. How I max out my credit cards time and time again. How I put my family in bad situations because I love to shop. I've been known to hide shopping bags in my car. Or to sneak them in, secretly.
I spend beyond my means. I have expensive taste. Designer purses are my 'thing'. Sunglasses, too. I don't see the price tags when I shop. In fact, I sometimes purposely avoid looking at the price tag, and I sign the dotted line blindly. If something is $199, I round it down to $100. "It was barely a hundred dollars," I'll justify to myself afterwards.
When I lived at home, and even when I was living in D.C., I had a gold AMEX. I had no limit, basically. And my parents would pay for everything. I can't tell you how many times I sat down with my dad to have 'the talk', and how many times I promised that next month, I wouldn't spend so much. Of course, everything changed when I got married. My dad gave me away, I became a married woman, and I had to leave my gold AMEX behind. I still enjoy taking vacatitons with my mom, since she shares this love of shopping with me. For some reason, when we're shopping in another city, or country, it feels like we aren't doing any damage at all!
I have a good job, and I make good money. However, combined with my husband's income, we are still not making enough to support my spending habits. I want it all, I guess. Once my children were born, not only was I shopping for myself, but I was shopping for them, too. Polo, Lacoste, Burberry, Puma's... book cases filled with hundreds of books, expensive German made toys that stimulate a child's imagination, and a garage filled with ride-on cars and bicycles.
I wasn't buying my children's love; I just loved buying things. Aside from reading books together, the quality time I spend with my children doesn't have a price tag on it. It's just my need... desire... to shop.
I had a discussion on Twitter with Ali the other day, about spending habits and budgets, and she blogged about how she put herself on a budget. I need to do this, too. I know it's going to be one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I'm also the most determined person ever when I make up my mind about something. I'm going to do this, because I'm at that point where I have to start making real adult decisions.
I want to take my family on a nice vacation this summer. I want to renovate my kitchen. I want to go to San Diego. I want to be in Florida again this winter. I can't do all this AND continue to spend so frivolously. I need to take action—I need to BUDGET.
I won't make any big promises on my blog, like saying I won't shop until the fall, but I will promise to make necessary changes. Old Navy is my best friend. I will only buy one new pair of shoes this summer. I will be content with the amount of purses I already own. And I won't buy any news books until I'm finished reading the ones that are stacked on my night table.
I'd love to hear from you.
How do you save money? Do you have a budget? Can I do it, too? And how many tears will I shed to reach my desired goal—to have enough money saved to do the important things I want to do?
Sigh. I miss my gold AMEX.