Guest post Elizabeth of Witty ‘N’ Pretty
The world we live in values beauty above all else. The more beautiful a person is, the more value they have. It’s no wonder people, women in particular, lack confidence. We try to make up for our shortcomings in many ways.
For me, I tried to make up for mine by shopping because in my mind, the more expensive things I owned, the more value I had.
Every time I bought something, I experienced two things.
First, was happiness, because I felt prettier and more valuable.
Then I felt guilt, because I knew I couldn’t afford what I was buying.
When I bought something I couldn’t afford, it counteracted the happiness because my value was decreasing. The lifestyle I wanted was unattainable for a girl still in college.
For whatever reason, I couldn’t come to terms with that. I didn’t accept it until I maxed out a credit card and ended up using student loans to fund my shopping trips.
I knew I had to change, so I did.
Since I’m confessing my struggles to you, I may as well say that the temptations to shop and spend money never completely go away. However, I learned to ignore the little voice inside my head telling me to spend, spend, spend.
Eventually, you’ll learn how to do this too… here’s how I’m just doing that:
1. Cut up the credit card.
Yes, the most precious piece of plastic you own will be in little pieces after the scissors gets through with it.
Having a credit card in your wallet tells you that even if you can’t afford something at that moment, your line of credit will let you buy it anyway.
Chop up those cards!
2. Write it down… with an actual pen.
Write down anything and everything you buy and exactly how much it cost. This allows you to see where your money goes and any trends in your spending.
I noticed two things about myself: I liked to drink overpriced coffee and I liked to look good doing it. Knowing this helped me take the next step toward addiction recovery.
3. Stop doing the things that cause you to spend money.
For one month, I didn’t allow myself to buy anything but food and gas. It didn’t matter what was on sale or how great of a deal it was (I love getting a bargain), I wasn’t going to buy it.
At first, this is like giving up the last life ring on a sinking ship. You feel like you’re going to drown. Just like anything else though, it becomes routine.
4. Retrain your brain.
For the longest time, I honestly believed that my worth and my attractiveness was based on how many Kate Spade bags I had and the car I drove.
During my month long shopping break, I focused on building my confidence up. I tried to find beauty in the talents I had and the personality I was born with. I talked with mentors and people I trusted to help me find my self-worth.
Truthfully, I’m still finding my worth. I believe it’s a journey though. It can’t be done in a month or even a year. I still appreciate pretty things, but I don’t place my worth in them.
Do I struggle with wanting these things? Of course, but I can say “no” to myself now. I understand and respect my financial limits and still see value in who I am.
Some may scoff and wonder what’s wrong with me, I can only tell them that everyone struggles with something and being addicted to shopping was my “something”.
Liz is a young, 20-something with a passion for living a beautiful, debt-free life. After graduating college, she realized how important it is for her to get her finances together and start sharing how you can have a great lifestyle for a lot less. She blogs at Witty ‘N’ Pretty.