If I could sum up my first world problems in a movie title it would be the 2009 chick flick, Confessions of a Shopoholic. Like Isla Fischer’s character, Rebecca, in the movie, I get a bit of a high from finding a sale and swiping my card to pay for my purchases. It just makes me happy. As Rebecca says “Because when I shop, the world gets better.”
I’m such a spender! Not on electronics or going out to eat a bunch, but on pretty things that I don’t actually need but are on sale. I love a sale and a bargain. Therein lies my problem. I can’t resist a good deal and it’s becoming my worst enemy! I tried everything to stop myself; budgeting wasn’t helping and neither was my parents’ warnings about living within my means. I decided that in order to get my problem under control I had to take more drastic measures.
Like many religious people, I gave up something for Lent this year. Many of my friends gave up chocolate or social media, but I gave up shopping. That’s right, I quit cold-turkey. It’s been about two weeks since I last swiped my credit card. At first, it was so depressing. Seeing all of this stuff I want and not allowing myself to buy it was quite a victory though. The funny thing is I never felt victorious because I was just thinking about the stuff I wanted. I still kind of am.
Despite all of this, I’ve been really happy about all the money I’ve saved! I can finally start really paying off my credit card and am able to pay that stupid graduation application fee I still haven’t paid. A lot of what needed to happen is finally happening because I’m not spending my money on silly things that I don’t need. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it.
Shopping for me has always been part of my self-worth. I realize how bad this sounds and how wrong it is, but I’m telling you the hard truth. I place my own personal value in what I buy, what I can afford, and even what labels I’m wearing. What I gave up for Lent, is not only about allowing myself to rely on God to fill the gap between myself and something I can barely live without, it’s allowing myself to be vulnerable to others and how they see me. Honestly, I don’t think anyone sees me any differently because they never noticed what I bought or what I wore in the first place; only I noticed these things (and my bank may have too). This experience is allowing me to redefine how I see myself and that’s a powerful thing.