I’m addicted to shopping and I have been for years. My lifestyle may not look like Confessions of a Shopaholic, but the reality is that I have poured far too much time and money into a habit that hasn’t always been beneficial to my family, my home, or my heart. I realized this fact years ago, but choosing to make a change has been a gradual two-steps-forward, one-step-back process. In many ways, I feel like my life is choosing minimalism for me, and I am slowly, tentatively embracing the change.
How it all began
I’m not your traditional shopper who heads to a boutique or the mall for my fix. I seek yard sales, thrift stores and closeout stores for my next “high.” I love the thrill of finding a diamond in the rough. When I discover something fantastic in a pile of useless junk, I feel like I have beaten the system, risen above the crowd, and made an amazing discovery. I was raised by savvy, thrifty parents who taught me the value of money, but for me it became about much more than saving money. It’s funny how emotional shopping can be.
My friends and family asked me to help them seek out deals. They praised my “skills” and shared stories of my legendary finds. Slowly and surely, finding a good bargain somehow became part of my identity. It was something I did when I was sad, stressed or bored. It became something I would think about and even dream about. Sadly, I felt like shopping was somehow my talent and finding an 80% off item was my trophy. Some would say, so what’s the problem?
Shopping hurts my relationship with my husband. My husband has a big weight on his shoulder as the sole provider for our family. Particularly now that I am homeschooling, it is crucial that I respect our budget and recognize that stress on the budget is stress on us. Money is a delicate point in most relationships and eventually my sweet husband began to cringe when he walked in the door. I could tell he was thinking, “What has she brought home this time?”
Shopping creates clutter and clutter increases anxiety. We have anxiety to spare here as it is. I have GAD and my husband is the father of three children (and husband to a woman with GAD). Things are high-stress over here. I’ve argued the fact with myself for years, but the bottom line is that shopping produces clutter, and clutter increases anxiety. A clean and clear space is a great treatment for stress. You can’t maintain such a space while constantly bringing in new bargains.
Shopping distracts me from my passions and steals my time. I’m a creative soul, and for years I have been letting my passions collect dust in my heart. Something that should be just a brief utilitarian event (going shopping) started to take the place of productive and healthy habits. Instead of working on a project, calling a dear friend, or trying a new recipe, I would just run to the store. It was distracting for the moment, but it really wasn’t satisfying my craving to create and connect.
Shopping excessively goes against some of my core values. Basically, I don’t believe it is right to waste money on more stuff. It’s hard for me to write this, because it was something I did so very often. Because my purchases were “useful” or “bargains,” I would justify the purchase. Still, in my heart, I know that money could go in hundreds of more productive directions. Like toward someone in true need, toward savings, toward investments. Toward something that wouldn’t eventually rot in a landfill. Matthew 6:20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” True, I never spent very much money at a time, but small purchases add up and mine were adding up to big guilt and disappointment. As my mindset began to shift, I wondered, what next? In my next post, I will talk about how I am working out these issues and seeking a better balance.
Has shopping become more than just an activity to you?
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