And other ways to outsmart your impulsive buying self
This week we welcome Avis Cardella, author of Spent: Memoirs of a Shopping Addict. Thank you Avis for your generous words of wisdom in this week’s guest post. Over to you now!
Avis: I’m the first person to get excited about a new fashion season, or the prospect of buying something to wear. I just don’t do it in quite the same manic way I used to. After having survived a compulsive shopping habit that lasted fifteen years, I am now proudly celebrating my twelfth year as an ex-shopaholic.
Although there have been some difficult challenges along the way, it seems I have coped with my addiction successfully. This doesn’t mean that I don’t still have an occasional bad day.
We all need a few safe shopping strategies from time to time. Here are some that I think are worth a try.
There’s a consensus that the mania for all things “it” is waning. Chasing the latest ubiquitous luxury label handbag or shoe has been replaced by a hankering for classic, timeless and well-made accessories that can take you through years, if not decades.
If compulsively acquiring “it” items has left your finances in turmoil, now is the time to rethink the habit and trade-up to a much more finance friendly investment dressing mindset.
When impulsive shopping is prompted by feelings of boredom or depression, exercise has come to the rescue. The mood elevating brain chemicals that are released during a workout always lift my spirits, and spending more time at the gym or yoga studio means less time spent trawling department store aisles.
Neuroscientists studying the brain’s response to purchasing with cash vs. credit report that we actually do feel more pain when parting with cash. No surprise that we often prefer to pay with plastic. However, paying with plastic comes with interest rates, which means that in the end you are paying more than the price on that tag.
When faced with an impulsive purchase situation, I take a deep breath and remind myself that paying with credit will in fact be more costly. If I can’t afford that impulse purchase outright in cash, I don’t buy it. This moment of clarity has helped me sidestep more than a few bad buys!
Tweaking my already existing wardrobe has often driven away the “gotta have something new” demons. A change of buttons, a dye job, adding ornamentation, or simply shortening a hem can make dramatic differences.
Get to know your local tailor, shoemaker, and button shop, and enjoy the added kick of exploring your own creativity.
It’s never been my thing, but if online shopping is your downfall now there are filters available to help curb online consuming. The password-protected filters (you’ll have to get a trusted friend or family member to install and secret the password from you) allow you to continue to use your computer for all activities, while blocking your access to tempting e-commerce sites.
Copyright © 2015 Avis Cardella
Avis is the author of Spent: Memoir of a Shopping Addict and has appeared on numerous television shows and other media, sharing her story of recovery from shopping addiction.
Avis has written for British Vogue, American Photo, and Surface, among other publications. She lives in Paris with her husband.