Custom Search

Sunday, November 9, 2014

After One, Le Deluge? How do you stop shopping?

Last year, when I turned 60, I made a list of four Eileen Fisher basics that I wanted. I decided that it was too hard to find basics (plain black whatevers) at thrift stores, my usual haunt. And luckily enough, without squandering too much time, I got all of them at around 60% off. As I mentioned in my last post, I call Nordstrom and have them price match if possible. Then I get the famous Nordies guarantee.

Luckily too, my purchases came right before I went away for 6 weeks. I seldom shop for clothing when I'm on the road. So there was an endpoint.

However, as I mentioned also in my last post, I bought a long EF black skirt to replace the one I wore last summer. But then...the desires swelled. I also put about eight items in my shopping cart.  I waited a few hours and all but two were sold out. Thank heavens!

Sometimes I think I am addicted shopper using thrift stores as my methadone.  Buying another of a beloved skirt led, in my case, not to satiety, but to desire.

Is that normal? What does one do to turn desire to satisfaction?


Duchesse said...

Don't freak out, dear frugal, you don't actually •have• all the goods yet. When they come, you will either be happy (even overjoyed) you found your EFs at a terrific price and get rid of the tired things in your closet, or you'll think, Well that was a mistake, and be able to return them for full refund.

Have you ever heard the term "shopping spree"? That is what you did. Don't make it a moral issue, just see whether the results are ones you wish. There are times when getting it all done at one swoop is in fact wise, and faded black clothes are depressing beyond words. (Yes, you can re-dye some black but not all fabrics will stand it.)

Bon courage.

Anonymous said...

IMO, finding and getting exactly what you want and need (at the best price) can lead to a feeling of success that is hard to give up! I feel like, "I got 3 items at fantastic prices so why not get 8 more?" And even, "If I don't buy them now, I will just have to pay more for them later." With enough discipline, my ideal solution would be to keep a list of needs and wants and the maximum budget for those items and for the season. My weakness is that I find it hard to get shoes that fit well, so when I find some, I often buy two pairs (maybe same brand, different styles) and I usually regret it - and go over budget! I guess the other solution would be if I overspend, I must cut back elsewhere (entertainment, vacations, etc.)

Atlantic said...

For on sale retail I find that the most sensible strategy is to buy all the things I might want, then settle down in the peace and quiet of my own home and over a few days or a week figure out what I should keep and what I should return. Whenever I don't do that I find that my size or colour is sold out. I find it much easier to sort out what I really after they have all arrived. You can see what fits with other clothes and what actually looks good in an unrushed fashion with useful data. Anything that is suboptimal gets returned. So don't sweat the original purchase --just put in cart and purchase. Then decide at home. Returning the items you realize you don't love for a full refund feels very satisfying.
And I agree with Duchesse that tired things do need to go. They make one feel shoddy and they look at least as bad as one thinks they look

une femme said...

I've been finding that just asking myself "do I love it" (not "like," "LOVE") means that I return about 90% of what I order to try. Because I wear petite sizes which so many stores no longer carry in-store, I rely more than ever on online shopping. I've learned to order multiple items and sizes, and return what doesn't work. Other than the effort involved, there's no investment in just trying things.

Shelley said...

If you have a clothes budget and you are able to stick to it, then why not spend and enjoy it? As someone said, a shopping spree is not a moral issue.

I think we frugal types are used to living on a self-imposed leash; when we let ourselves off it can be tempting to go a bit wild and that can be scary til we rein ourselves back in. Living 'small' (buying at thrifts) feels safer; splashing out (buying new, expensive) feels a bit dangerous.

On the other hand I always wonder, when I ask myself what I want and the answer is continually 'more', whether that thing is actually what I want at all? When I can't define 'enough' I have to ask myself if I'm feeding myself the wrong 'food' to address the hunger. This lady writes about compulsive shopping. I love the videos she does with Imogen Lamport of InsideOut Style.

What might happen if you only allowed yourself to buy new for a year? Just a thought.

Gam Kau said...

Ha, I can relate to the thrift store as methadone analogy a bit too much. :)
I actually enjoy my thrift store purchases much more than any of the many expensive items I've splurged on for some reason. Perhaps because I've owned my share of expensive designer goods, they really have lost any magnetism to me. The way I've explained it to my kids is just knowing I can have whatever I want is good enough for me - I don't feel the need to actually purchase the item.

Swissy said...

This can happen to me, too! I like Duchesse's advice not to freak out. There is a timely decision-making logic tree to the shopping. I've felt a bit down-at-the heel these last two or three years, since all discretionary funds have gone into our house restoration. My clothing budget was discouragingly minute. I'm almost afraid to say how minute, but here goes: $200. Okay, this year I bought, at rock bottom prices, a grey collared cardigan (with pockets), grey velvet jeans, a navy-grey striped jersey, and...yes, grey leather retro sneakers. Thanks to a little push from Duchesse, I've amped up the color in my accessories: purple! teal! red!