I had an action packed emotional weekend. Luckily I had a formal event to go to with my husband to refocus on something else. By the end of it all, I didn’t want to come home after a wonderful banquet and overnight stay at a gorgeous luxury hotel. I felt that coming home represented having to contemplate about all that happened prior to the banquet and rethink my situation. Part of me wanted to do what I used to do. Go “window shopping”… and if something amazing comes along feel free to buy, buy, buy!
After another good night of sleep, looking back at my first instinct to solve my problems, I noticed it happened to be an old way I dealt with things. It’s called retail therapy and it truly is a myth. I never went shopping so don’t worry. I’m not going to author a blog on minimalism and also currently be a shopaholic. I’m proud to say that a cozy night in with a good movie was my real solution.
I think it is interesting how advertising can lead you to form behavior that doesn’t serve you.
In commercials and print advertisements we are told that this product or service will bring us joy, happiness, and success. With that product we will get a fine, gorgeous man, great friends, an awesome new job, you name it. We shop to create joy when there is sadness or to reward ourselves when we accomplished something. The truth is retail therapy can happen when we feel good or bad. It will bring you into debt and most likely create a financial situation that will truly cause you unhappiness in the end.
I did some retail therapy four years ago that really sticks in my mind.
It was my first day of rehearsal after booking a job with an esteemed choreographer that I had worked with before. As I was getting ready for work, I got a call from my agent saying that the choreographer was going to hold a mini audition at the beginning of rehearsal for some more girls. Ok, no big deal. When I got to the studio, I was also being reauditioned, if that is even possible, and the choreographer cut me!? Confused and frustrated, I wasn’t sure if it you could book a job then be fired before even starting rehearsals. Over the years I’ve learned in my business anything goes and it’s full out crazy at times.
I called my agent when I got to my car, and ended up getting paid for the day of rehearsal. The entire situation was unheard of to me, and the way it was done was malicious. The choreographer could have easily pulled me aside and told me that production was looking for something different and to call my agency because I was being let go. The point is before I even got home, I made a stop by American Apparel and purchased more than $100 worth of goods. Even though I had gotten some cute things I was still upset. My roller coaster of events lead me to spend money that I wasn’t supposed to. I allowed my emotions to rule my money. Never again!
Here are a few thoughts to reroute you from an emotional shopping trip.
1. If you had a horrific day, a quick pick-me-up isn’t the solution.
Instead of going shopping, do something for yourself that will give you a true raise in spirits. Take a bubble bath. Watch a funny movie. Read an inspirational book or a tacky romance novel. Do yoga or go to the gym. Take a dance class. Blast some music at home, and dance around like a maniac until you fall on the floor out of breath. Go running. Walk in a gorgeous park. Go to the beach. Play with your dog or cat. Paint your toe nails. Do anything but shop!
2. Make a list.
If there are some things that you do want to buy write them down and decide that you will go shopping for them in a week. Over the week see if you still want really what those things on your list. Cross off the items that no longer excite you. At the end of the list check to see if the items are in your budget before you splurge. Also choose a few items to either give away, sell, or donate to make room for the new items that will be coming into your home.
3. Put aside 10% for yourself.
Allocate 10% of your income for purchases that are specifically for your pure enjoyment. That would include entertainment, eating out, and any shopping for cosmetics, clothing, and accessories.
4. Instead of buying things, use your money for amazing experiences.
Sometimes an experience can cause more impact on your life than a great pair of shoes. I’ve been more inspired longer by seeing a musician perform, an outstanding dance company, or an incredible exhibit at the museum than with my favorite pair of brown heeled boots. There are performances that I saw as a child that still impact me to this day. Indulge in the arts instead of the mall.
5. Know that this too will pass.
Regardless of what has happened that caused the ill feelings, it won’t last forever. If you create new thoughts of appreciation for who you are and what you’ve already accomplished, you will realize that you are more amazing than you are giving yourself credit for. There is nothing you can buy that is more valuable than you, and no purchase can really compete with that. You are unique, and you are priceless!
(Image by Dawn Michelle)