I still don’t know if I’ve fully processed everything that happened in 2020. In addition to a global pandemic, I gave birth to my first child right around the time of the major U.S. outbreak. I’m still taking it all in and reckoning with, “the new normal,” even a year later. But in the middle of all that parenting and processing, I began to slip back into some old, familiar, bad financial habits.
But still, when it comes to my bad behavior last year the story is pretty simple. 2020 was a hard year, and thus I began to rely on my old mechanisms to cope.
If you’re new here….
Here’s the skinny on me – in college I had a shopping addiction. I had to work with a therapist in order to get over it.
I’ve always been a big fan of shopping and have never quite ventured into addiction territory. Instead, I focus on finding the best deals, making sure I have the best basics in my wardrobe and shopping secondhand when I can.
But now that I’m married, I am on an allowance when it comes to shopping. And in 2020, I went over by $300 each month consistently for every month of March except for the first three. (You can work that timeline out for yourselves.)
Those who have found their way to this website because you also have a shopping addiction to click over to another page. Seriously, do it, because I’m about to detail all the things I love about shopping and some may find it triggering.
I love shopping because (for whatever reason) I find it comforts me.
Something about the control in it – of choosing an item, paying for it, and having it appear on your doorstep in days.
After the pandemic hit, rather than buying what I needed, I began shopping aspirationally, even though I hadn’t done this in years. I’d shop for clothes I’d wear after quarantine, after I got my pre-pregnancy body back, once I’d be allowed out and about to socialize. But even moreso during the pandemic, shopping became a means to feel connected.
In shopping, I felt like I was physically exercising my hope – a tangential wish to the universe that one day all of this would be over.
I know it sounds crazy, but this was my rationalization to myself.
Except now it is a new year and a new fresh slate (financially) and I have to commit to being better.
How I’m figuring it out
One of the best things about being married is having a built-in financial accountability partner. Talking with my husband, having him scrutinize what I’m doing does keep me on my best financial behavior.
After all, I don’t want to be the one to sink our ship.
Instead of curing my boredom via shopping, I’m also choosing to throw this energy into a no-shopping challenge, decluttering my house, and putting energy into my new side hustle of selling things on Poshmark.
And when all else fails – I go back to the old behaviors I used to use to combat my spending triggers: putting something in the cart for 24 hours, unsubscribing to market emails (and more recently, unfollowing influencers that tempt me to spend, spend), and rewarding myself weekly with non-material items for my good behavior.
(I also highly recommend the latest minimalist documentary Less is Now on Netflix if you want motivation. I was able to get rid of lots of stuff in my house, but also think more about how much abundance I truly have in my life.)
The TL: DR
2020 was a shit year in a lot of respects. And while 2020 was my happiest year ever because of my son, it was still hard to deal with and I had a harder time coping than I realized. I’m owning that right here, right now.
If this happened to you too, I encourage you to take this time to reflect on your spending and how you can redirect that energy into positive money moves rather than destructive ones. Again, not saying this because I’m a saint, but just sharing what I’ve found works for me.