Today I decided I needed to curb my online shopping “addiction.” I do not use that term loosely as my compulsion to shop has recently overtaken me. I get the same tell-tale high when I hit “Place Order,” or when I get the delivery confirmation e-mail as a drug addict gets when partaking in their drug-of-choice. I can’t wait to immediately inspect my purchases and try them out. But, much like any other high, it too soon fades, and I am left with more things I don’t need.
Today I realized that over the course of the last few months, rarely a day has gone by where I did not come home to a package (or several) on my door step. At first my husband teased me about the barrage of deliveries, but then his words began to take on a more concerned tone, almost like he was trying to figure out whether I even knew I was doing it. He knows me to be a fiscally-responsible person, so he didn’t question my decisions, but I could tell he was doing the mental math.
Today I woke up in a state of anxiety as I remembered that the kids’ tuition was due, my son has a birthday coming up, I have to pay sports enrollment fees next week, and I have many other looming financial obligations. I had a full-blown panic attack over whether I had planned accordingly and had the available funds in my checking account to cover anything that may be auto-debited. I rushed to log into my bank account to transfer more money over, something I should not have needed to do if I hadn’t made so many purchases.
Today I decided I was tired of constantly having to go through my kids’ rooms to reorganize and donate their clothes because drawers and hangers were overflowing. I am irritated when I find things with tags still on them that they have outgrown. My own closet is so packed that I barely have room to hang anything. A couple of weeks ago I actually ran out of hangers and had to purchase more.
Today I admitted out loud that I do not need anything from Target, Amazon, Gap, or any of the other retail traps that snag my attention through their constant emails, social media advertisements, and blasts, and that the coupon that was “too good to pass up” was not really much of a deal. That the last chance to get 50% off really means last chance until next week…or the week after that.
Today I logged into my e-mail to see that I had 52 new emails, almost all of them store advertisements, coupons, discounts, deals, etc., and I decided that I will no longer take the bait. I slowly, one-by-one, went through these email advertisements and hit “Unsubscribe.” It felt like a very necessary first step to reclaiming my independence from the near-constant shopping. Some of the retailers had clever little hooks like “We will miss you” or “How can we do better?,” but I know they won’t miss me, and I am the one who needs to do better.
Today broke up with Banana Republic, Neiman Marcus, J Crew, Nordstrom, Janie and Jack, Kate Spade, Vineyard Vines, and all of my other online favorites, so that I could take back some power over my time and money. Do I think that this is the end of my shopping? Probably not. But, at least for the time being, I am the one in control. And it feels really good.