I have a problem. I can’t stop spending money. I’ve always liked to shop, but by my standards, my spending habits have become a cause for concern. This has less to do with me being a mom and more to do with the fact that I am an utterly out-of-control shopaholic. Even so, I can see how my shopping is rubbing off on my kids. Dylan’s favorite thing to say is “When are we gonna buy that?” I’ve given a lot of thought to my recent shopping behavior, and the evidence is overwhelming that I must be stopped.
I went to CVS last Sunday morning to get Band-Aids, and on my way to the first aid aisle, I collected an armful of things that I don’t need, including razors, travel size toothpaste and floss. These aren’t shoes, folks. Floss shouldn’t make my cheeks flush and my heart pump so fast. In a moment of great strength, or weakness depending on how you look at it, I put everything back except for the Band-Aids.
That afternoon, I went to the mall to buy a toy for Dylan at the Disney Store. I could tell you that he earned it by putting an entire row of stickers on his sharing chart, but that would be a lie. He had two empty squares left, but I bought the toy anyway because he really, really wanted it. Of course, I bought a little something for Riley to be fair, and it gets worse. On my way to the Disney Store, I slipped into Ann Taylor Loft and bought a pair of denim shorts, Capri pants and a t-shirt. The shorts and pants were on the clearance rack – a deal, right? – but the shirt was full price.
Even later that afternoon, I went to Publix to buy groceries. This was a typical Sunday afternoon shopping excursion except for the shopaholic moment over a sippy cup. Yes, a sippy cup. Like I don’t have a kitchen cabinet at home overflowing with them! I stopped myself. On Monday I went to Whole Foods. Nothing bad happened there except I can’t leave that store without spending at least $100.
Should I go on?
A few weeks ago, I bought a backpack for Riley. (He’s starting the toddler program at Dylan’s school in August. More on this in an upcoming post.) I bought a backpack for Dylan, too. He already has one, but I got him a new one anyway. He’s three and a half and he has more bags in his closet than me.
I can’t walk into Target without buying a movie for Dylan, a toy for Riley or who-knows-what for me, and I’ve spent the last month buying and exchanging clothing at landsend.com like it’s a full-time job. Their new Lands End Canvas line is great, and you can do returns at Sears. I’ve been to Sears more in the last four weeks than I’ve ever been in my life.
Now, as I write this, I’m thinking about a pair of boots I saw at Nordstrom.com, and I have an shopping cart at amazon.com filled with random things, including a lunchbox for Riley, a cover for my new Kindle (a gift from my mom), a toddler potty seat, puzzles for the boys and a new nightlight for Dylan. Besides maybe the lunchbox, do I need any of these things?
Putting the financial irresponsibility aside, it just doesn’t feel good to shop anymore. The impulsive nature of my spending is counter-intuitive to my goal to live a greener and simpler life. On top of that, I feel like I’m teaching Dylan and Riley that buying things makes us happy.
This shopaholic mama is going into rehab. Starting immediately and for one month, I will only buy food, diapers and gas for the car. Nothing more. My goal, besides survival, is honesty. If I mess up I will tell you. And if I can get past the shock of keeping my credit card in my wallet, I also hope to get better at a few things, like using coupons and wasting less food at home so I can buy a little bit less at the store.
I’ll report back as often as I can over the next month with mishaps and, hopefully, some milestones. In the meantime, wish me luck!
Are there any shopaholics out there who want to join me in shopping rehab?