Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Frugalista Goes Cold Turkey

Like so many people, I fell off the wagon over the holidays.  There was temptation everywhere!

And while I certainly could be talking about food and drink, I'm not - I'm referring to my moratorium on clothes shopping for myself and a general commitment to consuming far less overall.

Of course I had to shop - buy gifts and goodies for people - so I was in and out of stores quite frequently before Christmas. I actually made out okay with the Christmas shopping, managing to get my shopping done with only ONE trip to the mall and only about four visits to the dollar store.  The rest of my purchases were made in individual stores which somehow makes me feel a little righteous.  It helped a lot to make lists and try to stick to them. Also, as a side-boast, we used only cash this Christmas for our shopping - Holla!

No, the trouble came afterwards.  Appetite whetted by the pre-Christmas consuming, bargains everywhere and a fat stack in my wallet courtesy of my mother-in-law, I went on a little bit of a shopping bender.  Some of the details are a little hazy, but I'm fairly certain I spent the whole holidays going in and out of stores - it's the MIL's preferred pastime, so there is a tendency to overindulge when she visits. And, you know, the holidays and mother-in-law visits are not generally regarded as times of low stress, so some of the retail activity was therapeutic in nature (at least that's what I told myself when I found myself alone and aimlessly wandering the concrete aisles of the local Walmart Supercentre at 10 pm on the 27th, and then again on the 28th, returning my purchases of the previous evening and buying more things.)

I really loved it at first, I mean I REVELLED in the deliciousness of the merchandise, the fondling, the choosing, the purchase, the bringing home of the bags and the ceremonial laying out of the goods.  I've really got a problem...  I actually leave tags on new clothes just so I can experience the "thrill of the new" when I bring the garment out of my closet to wear for the first time, and remind myself of the great deal I got when I look at the tag and see that red sale price handwritten in.  (Sometimes won't even throw them out; I'll keep the tags and receipts on my dresser to look at another time, which is maybe just a little obsessive!) But after a few days, it all began to feel like some painful compulsion, like the cigarette that the addict HAS to have, even when she has strep throat (yes, speaking from personal experience here; don't judge, okay?).

But the holidays ended, the MIL went back to Winnipeg, and life returned to normal.  Except the part where I didn't just stop shopping.  I squandered three precious hours at the mall last Sunday, and again yesterday I found myself a the dollar store with nothing really critical to buy.  I can't afford to be like this, and I hate to waste my time this way.

They say that the first thing you have to do when you have an addiction is admit that you are powerless. I say bullshit!  I have all kinds of power and I'm exercising that power by stopping the shopping right now.  And I'm not even going to indulge myself by sharing the details of my various (Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Amazing deals! I can show you the receipts!) Boxing Week purchases.

From now until Easter at least, there will be no clothing purchases, no unplanned household purchases, and no trips to the drugstore or the dollar store without a list.  The fat stack's gone now anyway.

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