By now, if you’ve been reading some of my posts, you would have noticed that I am a shopaholic….or a reformed one at least.
In the past, I would go to extreme lengths to reserve or stretch my money for my spending expeditions.
Now I wouldn’t really call any of the below tips, ‘practical saving tips’. In fact, I would say that in hindsight these are merely ways to manipulate your budget and not tactics that I want to ever revert to again.
It wasn’t very positive or uplifting. Normally when you manage to improve your budget or cut non essential spendings, you feel better about it because any excess money would be going to a better cause, whether it be saving for a holiday, or saving to put an extra payment on your mortgage or saving to pay off your bad debt.
But no…any possible saving I made eventually went to spending on clothes. In fact, the below tactics had the sole purpose of stretching out my budget so I could spend on whatever item I ‘needed’ to get.
Tips on how to save money (for my shopping expeditions)
Groceries…who needs them. One of the biggest discretionary items that got cut was my grocery bill. Fresh vegetables and product was regularly replaced with grocery, pre-made soup (4 for $10) and other packet goods. Thankfully, I regularly visited my family during the week, all who were nice enough to feed me.
Credit card savoir – Another way I’d stretch my money would be to use my credit card. There were months, after allocating money to bills, I had no spare money to shop. A way to overcome this would, I would pay my credit card minimum for the month…then spend that amount on shopping. The credit card bills got paid, in a functionality sense, and I got to shop still.
Library books – I have a love for books but if I had to choose over a couple new release paperbacks or a new item of clothing…you know who’d win. This eventually led me to the local library and the act of borrowing books. Sure…they had a funky smell to them every now and then…but I kinda liked the feeling of reading a precious novel that was shared amongst the masses…or at least the local Helensvale senior club
Beauty Products – I regularly ran out of products and literally had no money to replenish my stores. I ended up finding very creative ways to maintain aspects of beauty at minimum to no cost. Honey…my mantra was, “if all else fails use honey”. I was lathering honey everywhere for all kinds of beauty rememdies. “Have a pimple, put some honey on it”, “Sore throat – Honey water will do the trick”, “Cut your finger….never fear…honey will minimise infection.” Bi-carb Soda also works well for a shampoo alternative and I used lemon as a toner a couple times. Olive oil is also great as a moisturiser and not just useful for your trio of dips with bread menu item.
Thank fully now….being on the mend as a recovering shopaholic, I don’t have to resort to these measures however I did learn some valuable lessons some I won’t ever repeat and some, such as my innovative beauty methods, that I actually haven’t stopped using due to its effectiveness.
There’s no secret there. However, what some people (well probably, a lot of people) don’t know about me, is that I have mastered techniques in order to hide and disguise my love for shopping. I am sure my friends and family have a fair idea of the lengths I go to, to acquire whatever item I’ve been dreaming about in my fashion obsessed mind. However, over the years, I picked up some little tactics to bamboozle and down right lie to my friends and family of my true shopping intentions.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to spot someone who may have a slight shopping problem. If only it were as simple as looking at someone similar to that of Isla Fisher’s character in “Confessions of a Shopaholic”. …it’s not. Even more true, it’s unlikely that your friends and family would even contemplate that one of their loved ones, would go to such lengths to hide a real problem.
In saying that, I am sharing these tricks for two reasons, 1) to absolve myself from being dishonest to my loved ones (I’m sorry, I hope you still love me ;)) and 2) in hope to help others out there in spotting a potential shopaholic and help them on their way to a healthier relationship with shopping and a healthier bank balance too 😐
Yolanda’s Shopping Addiction Tricks
1) To date, I own 150 pairs of shoes, give or take. So I am sure you can understand how difficult it was for me to justify the need for another new pair of shoes. Solution? No worries…One trick I regularly did was buy a new pair of shoes and prior to my first wear, I would ensure to rub the soles of my shoes on concrete, gravel or dirt. Anything that would basically leave some scuff marks on the base of the shoe. To note: I would ONLY scuff the soles slightly. I would never go so far as to scuff the actual finish or leather of the shoe because well…that would just be silly and I probably would have cried. So, when I was questioned, “Are they new shoes?” I would respond, “No! See, the soles are scuffed and used.”
2) Just got back from a major David Jones half price sale and don’t know how to justify all the purchases in your car? Easy! One particular Christmas sale I had an allocated ‘Sale Budget’. Of course, I couldn’t control myself and I had spent well in excess of my budget by triple the amount. So what did I do…two words…’Sharpie Pen.’
That’s right. I would actually go to the length of crossing out RRP or already reduced prices to further discount my purchase. “Now it might look like a lot of shopping, but look at this….it was reduced from $80 down to $20. Bargain! And I still spent within my budget”. To note, I find a red sharpie has more bang and impact however black sharpie also work.
3) Funds. So, some of you may be asking yourself, “How on earth did her partner not notice large sums of money being paid to ‘Tony Bianco Shoes’ and ‘Country Road Fashion’ on the bank statements. Well, in the initial days this wasn’t an issue for me because I was in charge of managing our money and accounts. So, nobody saw it. However, in the later years when my partner cottoned on to my extreme shopping habits and demanded to see the bank statements (YIKES).
So after that, I did one of two things: 1) If I knew I was going to the mall and, let’s face it, about to spend a lot of money, I would withdraw money and then pay for all my items in cash. Then, when I would be short on money later during the week or month, I would say to my partner that additional bills or items needed to be paid and that’s why we were short or 2) I started siphoning funds into a separate ‘savings fund’ aka ‘Fashion Fund’ that I would make any purchases from. Sometimes, I would do a combination of both.
So as my shopping problem came to light bit by bit…I had to start getting even more trickier in disguising and hiding my purchases….
4) You just purchased clothes you definitely shouldn’t have, what do you do? I ALWAYS ensured I had a gym bag or overnight bag in my car. I regularly stayed over at my sisters’ house for the night or friends so it wasn’t uncommon for me to have overnight bags in my car. So, in this situation, my golden rule was…GET RID OF OR HIDE THE EVIDENCE. I would take every item out of the branded shopping bags, remove tags and receipts. I would hide the tags and receipts in my handbag somewhere (just in case I needed to return an item which was never) and then throw out all the shopping bags. Next, I would stuff all my new purchases in my overnight or gym bag and no one would be the wiser.
Of course, I would have to do this in stealth mode so, in most occasions, I would shop on my own so I could conduct this exercise prior to driving home or I would pull into a carpark on the way home and ensure Mission: ”Destroy the evidence” was completed.
5) As my work responsibilities increased with my role, my shopping time decreased. You would think this would limit my ability to shop right? Wrong. Welcome to the world of online shopping. Initially, this method of shopping was untapped for me however it soon became my main source of shopping. Before I knew it, Gary the postman and I were on first name basis due to me purchasing all my items online and posted to work…friends and family, none the wiser.
6) Another trick that I started resorting to was leaving purchased items at friends’ houses. If I did a particularly naughty shop, I would normally stop off at friends houses on the way home and carry in my bags and then slyly leave them at theirs and pick up at another time. I had to start doing this because again, my partner realised my problem and actually started doing car searches, with good reason, to ensure I hadn’t spent any money. (I am such a terrible person.)
7) “I bought it on eBay.”If I was wearing something new and was questioned, I always relied on trusty eBay. I was known to be a bit of an op-shopper and bargain hunter, so this trick worked for a little while. “Can you believe it? I bought it on eBay for $12!!!!” I tried this one for a little while until my partner and encouraged by family too…requested that I delete or suspend my eBay account. So after that, I had to resort to other tricks.
7) Final Trick….outright lie. This trick only worked in my initial shopping days however, if my partner asked me if I was wearing something new, I would reply, “This old thing…I’ve had this for years? I actually wore this to your cousins birthday remember?” (my partner had about 1000 cousins so he would never remember who or when I was talking about). Then I would carry on by saying, “You never pay attention to me…how could you not notice…you always forget things and I have to repeat myself….it’s sooooo frustrating.” Like I said, this only worked initially. It actually did happen on one occasion where I wore something ancient and my partner asked if it was new…after that, I just went with it all the time. I have so many clothes, there would be no way to know what’s new or old.
And there you have it….the secrets, tricks, lies and down right appalling behaviour of someone who tries to hide their unhealthy love for fashion. I am much better now and making amends in my quest for serenity and a smaller wardrobe.
I blog this partly in jest but also partly, in hope that I could shed some enlighten for someone out there…until next time…eat, shop (responsibly) & love.