So I feel like I’ve just started to get to the reasons why I feel like to buy thing. I’d like to continue this thinking throughout the next month. The other day, I caught a few minutes of a documentary about hoarding. While I am clearly not at that level of keeping things, I do think I have some of the same forms of shopping. It does seem that everything goes back to childhood. I think I’d like to do some research in August and figure to why it is. Why I feel better after buying things (even if only for a few days). I’ll also try to watch that documentary.
Saturday, I went on a bit of a shopping spree. I needed quite a few things for the house and I had some birthday gift cards to use. I left the house at 8 am and didn’t get back until 1 or 2 pm. I had coffee and ice tea during this time, but nothing to eat. I was clearly on a high by the time I got home. Whether it was caffeine or shopping related….I’m not sure.
It was a good/fun day for me. I think mostly because I was busy. I had a mental list of 8 or more places I needed to go. I like being busy. I like relaxing as well, but I typically like keeping busy during the day. It makes me happy to run from one place to another.
I bought quite a few things that we needed for the house, and I bought some things for myself for my birthday. I spent some time thinking about those purchases to make sure I wasn’t buying them just because I got a good deal. It’s been a few days and I’m still happy with those purchases.
I was clearly on a high that day, perhaps in a combination of running errands, caffeine and shopping. I don’t do this very often. Usually it is around my birthday. It’s a form of celebrating, I guess. A ritual for me, perhaps. Perhaps I can keep this day and do it once a year, in order to keep or celebrate that ritual. Limiting it to once a year might give me that outlet that I need.
I’ve been thinking about the “shoppers high” and have done some research. Here’s an interesting comment I found about what is physically happening in the body during shopping (for some/most people).
“You’re getting a release of a chemical in the brain which is associated with learning, with making new memories, and with learning behaviors and how to repeat them,” explains David Sulzer, an associate professor at Columbia University Medical Center who studies the functioning of the brain.
This makes so much sense to me. I love learning and taking classes. I love that excitement my brain has when I’m learning something new. The fact that these two activities get the same result is very interesting to me. To recreate the “shoppers high” I can attempt to learn something new and replacing shopping. It sounds easy, but doing it may be different. I’ll try it over the next few days. 🙂
Last week, I went to an annual sidewalk sale in an outdoor mall near my house. It’s one of my favorite things to do each year. I thought this would be a great test of my shopping habits, and planned to use the new questions before buying any item. It was an interesting test.
In the past, I’ve spent quite a bit during this shopping excursion. This year, I didn’t. At one store, I noticed that several items that looked great on the hanger, but not so great on me. I found myself saying, does it look good on me or the hanger?
I applied my several question test to any item before considering a purchase. It clearly helped. Almost everything I looked at was rejected. Here are the questions:
Why do I want this? (need vs. want)
What would I wear this with or what would I do with this?
(If I can’t visualize it…I don’t need it)
Would I be willing to give up another item and replace it with this?
Can buying this wait until tomorrow? (If so, I don’t need it)
I bought some white pants to replace some white pants that I recently tore. And I bought a purple scarf that matched what I was wearing that day, and most of my summer and winter clothes. And that was it. I thought about buying at least a dozen other items, but they didn’t make it through the questions. I also couldn’t imagine buying something that couldn’t immediately be used.
I have to say that I’m glad I didn’t purchase more, but I was a little disappointed. I usually come back from this trip excited with my purchases. Rationally, I know I don’t need more “stuff” and don’t want it, but I loved that shopping high. I think it’s important for me to analyze this and why I get that high and why I’m clearly addicted to it. That’s what I’ll be thinking about over the next few days.
The times in my life when I am making more money…I tend to not buy as many things, and when I’m making less money….I want and buy more. I’ve often wondered why this is true. It would seem that I should spend money when I have it, and not spend when I don’t. But it seems that the opposite is true.
It may be that I have less time to shop, but I think it has more to do with self esteem. But I think that it is that I need to purchase things when I feel less self assured about things; it may make me feel better about myself. How or why I’ve linked feeling better to buying things….I’m not sure. It might come from something that happened when I was in high school. I remember shopping once and buying a bunch of clothes on clearance. I felt great because I had gotten great deals for just a little amount, but as it turned out I only wore about half of the items I bought. Even though I was happy with my purchases, I didn’t get the full use of the items I never wore.
The shopping high is a temporary feeling that lasts maybe a day or so. But it feels pretty good. Finding a perfect item that I will wear frequently on sale or clearance is even better. But knowing the difference between what I will wear frequently and what I’ll never wear is the key.
It would also be helpful to find something else that would replace that shopping high feelings. But I’m not quite sure yet what might replace it.
Yesterday, I cleaned our main bathroom thoroughly. I scrubbed the ceiling, walls and floor, and cleaned everything. When I started, I thought I’d need to get a new shower curtain, rod, rings and rugs. But decided I’d do what I could with what we had. I painted the curtain rod with some white spray paint and gloss I found in the house. I washed the shower curtain and got rid of the orange colored beginnings of mold. I washed the cushioned rugs and dried them outside (it seemed to make them more fluffy). I’m happy with the results.
I didn’t like the thought that I’d get rid of what we had and replace it with new items that would most likely need to be replaced in another year or two. I think using items to their fullest seems less wasteful.