How I hid my financial insecurity in my shopping basket

I like nice things. I like decorating, putting things together that might otherwise have been separate. I like to design. I like to fengshui. I like to style. I LOVE organizing. I still get excited when I see office supplies & back to school displays in Target. I typically have to be led away.

It took $8,000+ in moving costs, having to re-buy, reshape, and redesign my new place for me to realize that I have a problem.

I wouldn’t say I’m a shopaholic. But, I would say I love to online window shop…and sometimes follow through with “checking out.” 5 out of 10 times. Maybe 6. Who’s counting? But the act of checking my favorite websites to see what’s new, what deals are going on, and if it fits our mid-century modern theme? OMG, so therapeutic. Enthralling, even! Okay, maybe I’m a borderline shopaholic.

I gave myself the excuse that we gave so much away in Chicago that I could buy, buy, buy in California. The sales tax is less, kind of, right? I completely ignored that my bank account already taken a significant hit with financing the move and just kept charging. I can always return it. No problem!

With each item added to my online shopping cart, I would further ignore my feelings of being scared, nervous, anxious, and doubt. If I don’t have these items, then I’m not really an adult! I haven’t made it on my own without at least ONE room being complete! I need to make it seem that I’ve got it figured out.

Then, there was a moment. Not a panic, not a scream, just an uneasy calm that settled over me. I needed to stop. I needed to figure this money shit out. I was setting myself up for future fights with Marty by continuing this game. I was setting myself up for future disappointment. I was creating a monster of instant gratification that would never be satisfied.

How can I live a life of true beauty, enjoying the earth around me when I am so enthralled with filling my apartment with things? How can I save up for my retirement, my future family, my future house if I keep getting distracted by deals, deals, deals? How can I reach the financial goals that I have in the most responsible and practical manner?

I have friends who don’t go shopping during Lent. Well, it’s not the Lenten season, but I’m going to make a goal: I will not buy ONE unnecessary item the entire month of August. That means no clothing, no home goods, no treats, NOTHING. If it doesn’t mean life or death, I ain’t buying it. If it doesn’t mean health or sickness, nope. If it doesn’t help me to get my work done, then see ya! Time to buck up! Time to educate myself on creating good money habits! Time to set some goals, save some money up, and think of that big picture!

Disneyland Annual Pass, here I come! 🙂

Just kidding. Kind of. Not really?

To future old person Caitlin: you’ll have money to live on, I promise!



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