Shopaholic Confessional #3: Binge

via Pixar

My name is Poindexter McQueen. I am a raging shopaholic and I have not shopped for five days. Last week was a bad week. I fell off the wagon is spectacular fashion (pardon the pun) and I am wholly repentant. The funny thing is, $300.00 later, I feel far better than I should. Ease off the judgement face. It’s not quite what you think.

It was a binge; a long one. Online shopping is at its most alluring when you’re done. From the safety of my bedroom with only the computer screen for illumination, there was no one to witness me buy. No one to silently judge me for trying to fix bad feelings with magnetized plastic.  Between work troubles and budding health issues, it was bound to spill over. The coincidental death and destruction of not one but two pairs of both exquisite and exquisitely cheap sunglasses was the straw that broke the camels back. Out came the credit card.

It’s never one thing. It’s always many. Above is most of what I bought and absolutely none of it was on sale. Places like Pinterest, H&M and Forever 21 make it so easy to self-medicate. Just visiting the website makes me feel compelled to buy. As though the minimalist setup on the H&M site will somehow rub off if I buy something from them or the numb weightless feeling from Forever 21 will stay if I buy something. Obviously, none of this is true, but that’s doesn’t help my will power. Polyvore chirping that “Items you’ve saved are on sale” is another unhealthy distraction. How am I supposed to be a fake minimalist if everything is blaring “BUY FROM US” all the time?

Here’s how I know capsule wardrobing and the idea of wardrobe minimalism got to me: I returned more than half of what I bought. There was no rationalizing or bargaining. None of that, “oh I’ll just tailor it,” nonsense. If I needed it, I kept it. There was never a “Maybe I’ll like it better later” or “It’s good for right now.” None of it. Back into the package they went never to be seen by me again. Last year, that never would have happened. All of the items fit my “perfect minimalist wardrobe” ideal, but still, back they went. Except for the sunglasses. I have two pairs of shitty sunglasses that I can’t fix. These gems are staying. The cami fits perfectly and is so delightfully loose that it’s already been worn twice. The Reformation tee hasn’t arrived yet, but it’s made of linen so as long as the fit is right, it stays too. My current black tee is beat to hell and has warped in such a way that can only be expected from high street cotton jersey.

I fell off the wagon, but got back on. What was required was obtained and frivolous things were returned. A free at-home-spa-day helped to soften the blow and now my nails have adorable little dots on them and my toenails look stylishly frostbitten. Minimalism as a concept is still a tricky idea I haven’t quite figured it out yet but I cannot say it hasn’t helped. There are lessons to be learned from it. It may be a trendy lifestyle, but it is not without merit. But, I’m non-committal. So, I’ll just take what I like and leave the bulk to more disciplined people than myself. Thus far though, I’ll say the experiment was worth the attempt and my finances (and closet) continue to thank me. Pardon me while I go and delete the Polyvore app…

That Awkward Moment When…

…your credit card reminds you that you’re on a budget.

In an uncharacteristic moment of disorganization (likely precipitated by lots of alcohol), I lost my credit card. On New Years. In Manhattan. Let the judgement commence. All done? And back to the story. So i lost my credit card, but since I’ve been making fairly intense financial resolutions and made the oh so grown up move of making a new and aggressive budget for 2015, I made another decision.

I would allow my new credit card to be sent, but not open or activate it for two weeks. That way, I could curb my spending long enough to both get my credit card balance to zero and enjoy said balance. How quickly one forgets just how many important places have one’s credit card information saved. It slipped my mind that this would prevent access to consumerist wonderlands like Etsy, Amazon and iTunes.

Barring access to iTunes was a mistake I knew would bite me in the ass. I had intended to investigate Little Dragon long ago, but hadn’t gotten around to it. Low and behold, last night, I found them on YouTube and ended up listening to the album thrice back to back. Two replays is usually the indicator light for my “I should buy this” alert, so this clearly needed to be obtained.

There’s nothing like a well placed, “Your credit card was declined,” from iTunes to sober you up from the high of buying and supporting art and into the reality which you willingly condemned yourself. Embarrassment, shame, confusion and resignation inevitably follow declined cards. Even from behind a screen, at home, with no one watching, you will end up butthurt. What could possibly be wrong? My money is good here!!! Then, the sobering reminder that I had, in fact, lost my credit card and the replacement was currently in another state, crept back into mind. It was by my own design that instant gratification had been snatched from my grasp. Sure, it was good for bank account but I needed that album!

I’ve been playing the album on YouTube ever since. Due to this…inconvenience, I’ll have to take a stroll over to the record shop soon instead. I recall this anecdote to say, I am now becoming aware of both my small “innocuous” purchases and my utter lack of self control. First step to recovery and all that.