View Full Version : When I Go Shopping, I Binge...

11-2-11, 10:17am
I am so good at never wanting to shop, never needing to shop. I really am! I hate stores. I don't get QVC or HSN AT ALL. I go for weeks on end with no compulsion to cruise the malls.

HOWEVER, when I do find the need to shop, I tend to binge--kind of like an alcoholic who falls off the wagon.

I have a wedding this weekend, and nothing in my closet is appropriate. The wedding is in Vermont and all my fancy clothes are summery. Plus, my work outfits are getting old and I've been noting that I need to spruce my wardrobe up with a couple of classic pieces.

So, I went shopping last night, and wandered into White House/Black Market. As I mentioned in Mrs-M's thread on color (colour :) preferences, I tend toward neutrals, so all of a sudden, I was in heaven! I tried on a few different outfits, and walked out with a satin skirt, blouse and dressy sweater for the wedding, and another top and another sweater for the rehearsal dinner Friday night. Four of the pieces I can also use for work (a satin skirt might be little overkill).

But I'm having a binge-buyer's hangover! Yes, I'll use the clothes. But I didn't buy ANYTHING on sale (which I usually do). I just bought what I wanted. Nothing was extravagent, but it wasn't cheap either. And, I think Dave Ramsey would slap me upside my head, since I'm on BabyStep 2.

So.. arghhh! Should I be a bulimic buyer and return them?? Or should I give myself a pat on the back for buying wardrobe pieces that can be dressed up for a wedding and down for work? Investment or frivolous extravagance? I'm having a hard time deciding.

11-2-11, 12:23pm
Are you going to wear everything and still love it a year or more from now? Sounds like it, so I vote to keep the clothes, enjoy them and plan on more frugal purchases the next time 'round.

I spent more $ than usual for an outfit a long time ago. I wore that thing to death. I still loved it when I knew it was getting close to threadbare and I couldn't wear it any more.

11-2-11, 12:36pm
But I didn't buy ANYTHING on sale (which I usually do). I just bought what I wanted.

Keeping track of sales is just another way to suck you into the store. This time you went to the store for a planned reason (and ended up buying other stuff yes). So if you are going to wear the clothes, keep them, if not return them. As for colors I am totally a FALL person (look best in fall colors etc.). So I know what you mean. A whole years worth of clothes can be bought now :). I stay out of the stores mostly too, but when I'm in them (again especially now), I do sometimes see some nice stuff.

11-2-11, 1:32pm
I agree that classic, well fitting clothing that you will wear often is not a binge....that would be one outfit in every color and a tiara to go with each outfit!
That said, did this purchace go on an already full CC?, could you have borrowed something from a friend to wear to the wedding?, are your work clothes really too worn or did you have to talk yourself into the purchases? did you use money already earmarked for an outstanding bill or will you be short money in the event of an emergency?
If you just needed a treat could you have satisfied the whim some other way or did this purchace fill both the emotional need and the actual need for clothing?
Sometimes we feel guilty spending on ourselves even when the funds are available but would not hesitate to spend on someone elses needs/wants.
Stop beating your self up and calmly decide what to do....you are not a bad person just because you bought more than intended...be kind to your self!

11-2-11, 2:20pm
If you like the clothes and will wear then, then you can probably keep them if you aren't going to miss/need the money. To aviod spending binges in the future do what I do - just take the amount of cash you are willing to spend and no more, and leave the CC, debt card and checkbook at home. Can't spend any more then the amount of cash you have on hand.

11-2-11, 2:22pm
I would give them a few days and then seriously consider returning the ones that aren't really special for you.
And NEVER have caffeine right before going shopping. It seems to really affect what I think I have to have!

Miss Cellane
11-2-11, 3:03pm
Another way to look at this is to determine how long it's been since you last bought clothing. Was it two months ago? Then maybe return one of the outfits you bought. Was it a year ago? Five pieces of clothing in 12 months is doing pretty good, especially if you used to buy a lot more.

I tend to shop the same way--nothing but food and other consumables for months and months, but then I have a little shopping frenzy and buy several things all at once. And then I have the same feelings you do--oh my goodness, look at all this stuff I bought! I need to return it! It's too much stuff!

But I've come to realize that, at least for me, the more I stay out of stores, the less I buy--fewer impulse purchases, fewer things I see that I think I "need." When I do go on a shopping burst, pretty much everything I buy is something I've thought about and decided, with calm, sober, thought, that I actually needed. I think my last shopping spree netted me an extension cord, two new towel bars for the bathroom, a lampshade, two turtlenecks, two pairs of pajamas and socks. It seemed like so much money! But my old winter PJs are fit for nothing but the rag bag at this point--I think they are well over 10 years old. My socks have holes. My neck is cold. The towels aren't drying draped over the shower curtain.

The key thing to me is that you knew that you needed a dressy fall/winter outfit before you bought one. You knew that you needed some clothes for work. It's not that you randomly went shopping and found a few cute outfits. You knew what you needed and you found a store that had what you were looking for. And it sounds as if all the pieces will work with your existing wardrobe, which makes them even more wearable.

11-2-11, 3:32pm
i do the same -- but i budget for my binges! like, on my recent trip to new york, i knew i was gonna want to hit up some of my favorite secondhand places and i set aside a few hundred bucks to do so. and i got some AMAZING things which i have been loving and wearing a lot. so, no harm done. and now i can be done buying stuff until the springtime-ish.

i think it was gretchen rubin's happiness project blog where i first read about the idea of people being either abstainers or moderators (http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2011/04/quiz-are-you-a-moderator-or-an-abstainer-when-trying-to-give-something-up.html). like, for some of us, it works better to just give up X thing in general, and for others it works better to moderate and have "just a little bit."

i'm an abstainer for sure ... it is not possible for me to have "just a little bit of cake" a few times a week. i need to make a rule in my head that i'm just not going to have cake.

i CAN have short periods of time when i stop abstaining, but it needs to be intentional and limited in scope, and then i need to get back on the wagon again. this is how i've lost 30 pounds this year, and it's also how i got my frugality back after a serious period of indulging in retail therapy i went on during some rough times in august.

so, i guess i've learned that budgeting a few dollars a month for clothes/makeup/fun doesn't really work for me -- instead it works a lot better to scrimp and save, then go on a bender and spend some of what i've saved (a predetermined amount!), then go back to scrimp and save mode.

sounds like you might be an abstainer, too.

11-2-11, 3:37pm
I can relate, Catherine. A few weeks ago I needed a dress for an event, and shoes for the dress. I didn't actually OWN a dress or even dressy pants, so shopping was required. But I just hate it. However, I found a dress AND shoes in less than two hours, they were slightly on sale but still expensive (by my thrift store/free standards) but I got them. And I wore them to my event, and have other events where they will be worn and I loved them and felt good in them.

The guilty feeling is the part that is hard. I need some more clothes, actually, though I always think of Fawn when I start thinking that. Do I really NEED more clothes? Well, maybe I could wait just a little longer.....and then when I finally go to buy clothes it isn't ONE thing but several (then the guilt shows up). Perhaps I am just feeling old guilt from when I used to overspend on clothes and other things.

Anyway, I am sure you will make good decisions about whether to keep or not. When you don't shop regularly it can feel odd to buy something new.

Sorry for the rambling response....I think I have a rambly brain this afternoon.