My weekend was taken up by speaking at a conference, attending said conference, then going to a 15 course Chinese Banquet, drinking too much wine, sleeping poorly, doing a 10km fun run (on poor sleep and less than appropriate food and drink) and then bumming around.
Today I am going to talk about buyer's guilt. Specifically my buyer's guilt, and how I am dealing with it.
I grew up really quite poor, from a single parent family. Growing up, my mum sometimes couldn't work, and even when she was, it didn't pay well. We didn't have much money at all, it was just enough to pay for necessities.
Hence a fair amount of the time, my duds were from opshops, or very cheap stores, or hand me downs. And there weren't many of them. Sometimes the kids would pick on me for this. Being clever, a bit chubby and, later, having pimples, they had other things to pick on me for.
[My younger brother and sister wore trendier gear. This was because a. My mum started working a bit more, b. they could nag better than me and c. they left school early and could buy gear themselves.]
For most of my 6 years at uni, I supported myself financially, and still there was little money for funky duds. Again I felt a bit plain compared to my friends who were living at home with mostly very wealthy parents, and had generous allowances. I dealt with it.
I remember getting my first paycheque as an intern. It was literally 10 times what I had been getting on Austudy.
I went shopping. I spent $400, and much of the stuff was on sale. I thought that was a lot, and, for a lot of people, it is. It was exhilarating. Then a much less pleasant feeling came along. Guilt.
Every time I bought something, or booked a holiday, or did something nice involving spending money, there would be the same pattern of brief exhilaration, then guilt, and a bit of anxiety. It was quite an amorphous, vague feeling, but over the years it became quite erosive. It is only recently, with the help of therapy (more money >_< ) that I have become more conscious of it and broken it down a bit.
These thoughts were generally involved. They might not sound rational but these sort of things rarely are.
- "You don't deserve it"
- "You can't afford it"
- "Your money will go away and you will be left with nothing but a pile of clothes"
- "You are superficial"
- "You could have saved that money and be buying something much more worthwhile".
Also, every time I made a transaction, my mum would say to me "jeez, more stuff, don't you have enough?" My now ex-husband would say to me "we can't afford that, I want to save money, you are materialistic".
The thing was, I happened to like nice stuff. Still do. So I bought.
There was also a degree of medicating other stuff in my life with a spot of shopping. It was temporarily effective. Temporarily.
The thing was, I never, ever got us into debt, never spent more than what I earned, and we did ok! We saved a deposit up after 2 and a bit years of full time work.
I could never bring myself to do the massive designer purchase, either. Probably a good thing.
A year or two ago, I dealt with this and a lot of other things that were making me feel bad.
Some things came out - I work hard, and I do deserve nice things.
This is not quite automatic. I still feel guilty and anxious after I buy things now. Last weekend, I went to a Veronika Maine fashion parade, and was the unwilling (ok quite willing) victim of some serious clothes pushing. There were some purchases made.
I scared away the guilt and anxiety with I work hard, and I do deserve nice things.
I also shop a bit more mindfully now. Here are some tactics that I use:
- I only ever buy things I love. If I am not sure, I generally walk away, or I defer the decision
- If I love it, I will pay good money for it, within reason. Generally I rarely spend over $250 on an article of clothing, or shoes.
- I try to wear most of my clothes rather than just sticking to the same things over and over again.
- I try to cull regularly
- I realise that it is ok to rehome things - normal people turn wardrobe items over every season/ few seasons.
- I don't buy stuff that was too small as motivation to lose weight. (I used to do that. That fucked with my head)
- I am setting up an ebay account to sell some impulse purchases
- I have set up an automatic savings account so there is less income to spend thoughtlessly
- I pay off credit card purchases as soon as possible, generally within a week or two.
- I have no hesitation in taking things back for exchange/ refund if I am not happy with them.
- I shop with the full realisation that stuff looks pretty on, but generally it won't make me happier particularly if I am not already feeling happy.
So, over to you...
Is what I am saying familiar? Foreign?
Do you have any principles re buying? Quality? Quantity?