You get the 20% off emails, you read the fashion blogs and you have a wishlist a mile long of items that will make your wardrobe (and life) to die for. But there’s one minor hiccup. You can’t bring yourself to pull the trigger. You’ve got the items in the online cart, but you’re not buying. The feeling of guilt comes over you whenever you get to the checkout. Should you buy it? Do you really need it? You’re not alone. Hi, I’m Ms. Thought and I’m suffering from shopping shame.
What is Shopping Shame?
While reports are saying that we’re slowly coming out of the recession, the economy still isn’t back to its normal self and the stigma of spending is still upon us. We’ve been inundated with messages of savings, ending mass consumption and only buying those things we need. All of this is great and has done wonders to change destructive habits but when does the messaging become an internalized shame of spending and even worse extreme guilt after shopping?
While I’ve slowed down my ridiculous spending habits, the urge to shop hasn’t gone away. And lately I find myself setting out with the intention to shop and midway telling myself that my money would be best served elsewhere. The feeling of “Do I really need this” is like a red little devil on my shoulder and I’m constantly guilting myself out of stellar purchases.
Am I Mental? Or Have I Diagnosed a New Shopping Condition?
Sexaholics, Textaholics and now shopping shame, it seems preposterous. But the financial situation has made everyone reconsider spending habits and their need/want for certain things. 2008 saw a 12% increase in online shopping, which WWD partly attributes to the guilt of shopping in stores. Now I’m of the belief that feeling guilty about life choices is a useless as arguing the appeal of Justin Bieber (you may not understand but he’s here and we better get used to it). So how does one still shop consciously and absolve themselves of the guilt of spending money in our still fractured economy?
How to Shop without the Shame?
1. Shop consciously: This one is a given. Shopping thoughtfully and only when necessary will eliminate some of the feelings that you’re wasting money. Make a list of the items you want to purchase and don’t veer outside it. Set aside a reasonable fund for purchases so you don’t overspend.
2. Trade off: While I think consignment shops are rip-offs when it comes to trying to make money, they are havens for when you want to shop without money. Turn in your used clothes and items you’re just plain bored with for store credit and get brand new (slightly new) items that will rejuvenate you.
3. Sell Some Shit: Much like trading off, selling some of your old pieces at flea markets to make room for new pieces allows you to purge clothing that you no longer want and earn some extra cash.
4. Unsubscribe from Guilt: If you really want to stop feeling guilt, rid your inbox of the daily sales emails. You know you’re not shopping so why torture yourself with all the good deals out there. When you’re ready you can always sign up. The deals aren’t going anywhere. Trust.
Feeling guilty about shopping is certainly a personal issue, dependent upon your financial situation and thoughts on spending. However, shopping when done with the right motives should be an enjoyable experience, not one that makes you feel like you should be wearing a Scarlett Letter.
Am I the only one suffering from shopping shame? How do you deal with shopping guilt?