I have a confession. As you can probably deduce from the title of this post, I am a recovering shopaholic.
I say recovering because I have controlled my addiction for the most part. Let me start off by telling you my story. I was in major debt. I started working my first real job right out of college. Before that, I would get income from my parents, gifts, or extra money from my scholarship (that was supposed to go to books!). Growing up, I was a bargain shopper. I would only be allowed to go shopping twice a year – one being right after Christmas with the money I received as gifts – so I had to be smart with the limited money and time I had. This changed as soon as I got my first paycheck after I graduated.
In having so much more income then I ever had, I felt like I could buy whatever and whenever I wanted especially with the use of credit cards. I had to build my credit, right? Other than setting up my 401k through work, I had no concept of saving. I figured I could always save later since I was still young. Buy a couple new outfits or put money aside for what exactly? It was always the former. Then I decided to invest in a condo with my brother. Instead of budgeting to account for living expenses, I maintained the lifestyle I had developed of buying anything and everything I wanted. I thought to myself, I could always pay it off later.
Finally with over $10,000 in credit card debt and no savings, I realized I couldn’t pay it off on my own. I had my parents’ help and worked out a plan where I could pay them off in a decent time while maintaining my lifestyle. I never allowed myself to get that high into credit card debt again. I better controlled my shopping habits by not going to the mall as often and not spending as much, but I still accumulated debt. My then-boyfriend/now-husband Justin told me he wouldn’t propose to me with as much money as I owed. He was right. He had been putting the majority of his income into our “wedding fund” and I had nothing to contribute!
Not until we got engaged did I begin to grasp the concept of saving. Justin gave me the wedding fund and basically said, “Here. You have to come up with the rest if you can’t make your dream wedding work with this money.” Our wedding fund, to which he had been contributing practically since we started dating, was enough for a really good wedding… just not one within the city of San Francisco. When we started researching, I realized I had to contribute a good amount to make it work with what I wanted. Affording the wedding of my dreams was probably the best motivation to really start saving money. After the wedding, I concluded it wasn’t too hard to do! I was so proud of myself because it was a major accomplishment for me. And I continue to contribute to my savings.
I’m dedicating this week to post a series about recovering from shopping addiction like me! I’m no financial expert but I certainly know what it’s like to spend, spend, spend without save, save, saving. This week, I’ll discuss ways to recognize the problem, fix the problem, and prevent the problem from happening again.
As a disclaimer, this blog series is meant as a helpful guide. I am not a financial professional or expert so I can not and will not be held accountable for your financial habits.
Alright, so who’s ready to get their shopping habits in check?