To Buy or Not To Buy Read Along – Post 2 - Chapter 1:

GlitterLover's picture
[1565]

To Buy or Not To Buy Read Along – Post 2 - Chapter 1:

First of all, if you are just seeing these posts for the first time and would like to join us, please do so. Get a hold of the book whenever you are able and start sharing with us. We have a post for the introduction and initial thoughts, and then we are creating posts for each chapter. New posts will come out around the 1st and 15th of each month, but please feel free to go back and add thoughts at any point. You do not have to be going at the same pace to benefit from this.

So, this is the post to come to after reading chapter one. Just like before I will ask a few questions to get everyone thinking and help get a dialogue going. If a particular question makes you uncomfortable feel free to skip it, but please do try and share what you can. Participation makes this a more supportive and helpful environment for everyone! Also, feel free to add thoughts that came up during this chapter that were important to you, even if they aren't directly related to the questions I ask. The questions are just a jumping off point. Feel free to share insight with us.

Here's the questions for chapter one.

1) Do you now have some insight into why you are over shopping? If you feel comfortable please consider sharing a little bit about the reason or reasons why you think you're shopping.

2) Have you started your shopping journal yet? How do you feel about the idea of using one?

3) Of the Pro-shopping messages and the Anti-shopping messages listed on pages 28 and 29, which ones have you heard the most? Have you found yourself saying them and/or believing them to be true? How has thinking these things affected you?

4) Going through the process of examining your childhood history with money, how was that for you? Was it hard, scary, confusing, did it give you valuable insight, did it make you feel less guilty, etc. If you care to share a specific revelation here feel free, but don't feel like you need to.

5) How are you feeling right now in regards to your compulsive spending? Are you feeling totally overwhelmed, so excited, like you've got clarity, confused, etc?

I'll go first.

1) I shop for so many reasons. I think that's part of why I've had such a hard time stopping. I shop to avoid dealing with unpleasant feelings, to procrastinate on tasks I don't feel like doing, I shop to boost my self-esteem, I shop for things that I think will make my life easier, and sometimes I even shop for gifts trying to gain approval from someone.

2) I have started it, but I haven't really used it much yet. I love the idea of it and have been using other forms of journaling lately that I find very helpful.

3) I think some of the messages that I have internalized have been “You get what you pay for,” which has often led me to buying more expensive things that were not really any better than more affordable things. Of the negative shopping messages I have internalized a lot of them such as “Money doesn't grow on trees,” “Only buy things on sale,” and “Don't talk about money.” These negative messages have left me with a lot of feelings of lack and negativity surrounding money. The feeling that it doesn't grow on trees has actually made me feel more driven to shop. Like, if I don't enjoy the money today there might not be more coming and I'll never have any fun. Thinking that sales are so important has caused me to impulsively purchase so many things simply because they were on sale now. What if they weren't later? In reality I have found when I stop and wait to think about a purchase I so often don't feel the need to go back for an item. It's better for me to occasionally pay full price for something I actually have a real use for than to keep buying random things on a whim because they seem like a good deal at the time. The message to not talk about money has left me so confused and at sea all the time. I've known I had a problem. I wanted to reach out, but without really knowing how someone handles a budget or how they prioritize their financial life I didn't figure general advice would help. After all I know that I should spend less than I make, save, etc, but I don't know how to actually make that work. I always figured I couldn't ask others questions like this so I have suffered alone.

4) Examining my childhood history was interesting. I don't have the best memory so I couldn't piece everything together perfectly. I have noticed that so many women that influenced my life love shopping. I have often seen gifts used as a way to show or earn love. Even my grandmother, who was VERY frugal would always take me shopping when I went to visit her. I didn't know until years later how frugal she really was because when I was there we would go out to eat, shop, etc. I had no idea that was such a rare thing for her. I also got the message that men handled the money, that they were better at it. My father would never discuss money with me, even when I wanted to apply for college scholarships and such he would never tell me his income. It was very much a secret. He told me to save and that kind of thing, but never once did I see a budget or really understand how to make one or use one. I have only very recently started learning this skill, in my 30s.

5) For the most part I am feeling really good in regards to my compulsive spending right now. I've been making huge progress. I am starting to feel like I see things with more clarity. Just yesterday I was at Hallmark with my daughter. I've been avoiding stores a lot, but she wanted to go make a purchase with her own money. I saw a little stuffed animal that looked very much like my favorite pet that died in October of last year. I have so many things to memorialize him all over the house and take great comfort in them. I picked up this stuffed animal and stroked the fur on it's back, closing my eyes and really feeling like it was him for a second. Then I opened my eyes and marveled at all the little details that reminded me of him. I even looked at the price. Then, I took a deep breath and realized that this thing was not my dog. It was not a cure, and it was not going to make anything better. Right now I am broke and in a mess because of moments just like that when I made the choice to buy. I put him back and felt very good about it. Those little victories lately are making me feel empowered, capable, and worthy of healing and happiness. I can see the path now. I've got plenty of work ahead, but at least I can actually see what the heck it is I need to be doing. Things were so bad for awhile that I was really delusional and in denial about the reality of a lot of things. Clarity is hard in some ways, but it's also very, very good.

show more ⇓
Comment
 13
View 10 More Comments
GlitterLover's picture
[1565]
Feb 14

@iris_flower_artist What a wonderful attitude you have! I'm so glad you're on the mend :)

Reply

I haven't read this chapter since last July, when I first purchased the book. I definitely am feeling different about my over shopping now than I felt when I first bought the book. I have the workbook that April Benson also sells along with the book. That's where I originally started answering questions. I'm feeling much better about continuing on in this process here in the support group with all of you. :-)

Here are my answers to Chapter One questions:

1) Do you now have some insight into why you are over shopping? If you feel comfortable please consider sharing a little bit about the reason or reasons why you think you're shopping.

When I was over shopping for the twenty years I was doing it, I believe I had lots of different reasons that were keeping me shopping. I think that my unfortunate situation of having spent so many years in the care of mental health professionals who did not understand, or respect, creative people, and who therefore tried to stop me following my creative bliss was one thing that caused me to over shop. When you want to write stories or sing or paint, or do any kind of creative arts and people keep you from doing those things you end up having to cope with that. I coped by buying things. When I was married the first time and that husband, like doctors at that time, prohibited me from writing, singing, or doing anything else creative in the arts, as well as keeping me from getting a job outside the home; he left me nothing else to do other than shop. More recently, I believe I was still over shopping due to the company I was keeping. Many of my friends were doll and teddy bear collectors. Being around people who were constantly buying also encouraged me to over shop. Once I was happily married in my current marriage I think I was still over shopping, until we combined our banking, out of habit and because I was still surrounding myself with collector friends. When we combined our banking I cut ties with all those collectors and I've not shopped since.

2) Have you started your shopping journal yet? How do you feel about the idea of using one?

I have been using April Benson's shopping journals since July of last year. I have always been in a habit of daily journal writing anyway, for creative writer reasons and also for mental health reasons, so this was an easy addition for me to make to also journal about shopping.

3) Of the Pro-shopping messages and the Anti-shopping messages listed on pages 28 and 29, which ones have you heard the most? Have you found yourself saying them and/or believing them to be true? How has thinking these things affected you?

I had not heard as many of those pro and anti shopping messages as I expected I would have. The ones I remembered hearing were (and I have put an * next to the ones I bought into in the past) :
Pro - Diamonds are a girl's best friend.
You get what you pay for. *
Shop til you drop *
Never settle for less than the best.
You can't take it with you. *
We have to keep u with the Joneses.
He who has the most toys when he dies wins.
Anti - Money doesn't grow on trees. *
Do you think I'm made of money?
Don't spend it all in one place.*
When we were kids, we didn't spend money like that.*
That's for rich people.*
Be grateful for what you have.*

4) Going through the process of examining your childhood history with money, how was that for you? Was it hard, scary, confusing, did it give you valuable insight, did it make you feel less guilty, etc. If you care to share a specific revelation here feel free, but don't feel like you need to.

I found the process of examining my childhood history with money to be very healing. I'm sure all the hard work I've been doing on myself regarding having lost my dad tragically during my adolescence has also made an impact on this process, but going through the section of childhood money issues was healing for me. I found myself feeling more compassion and empathy for my parents in the kinds of messages they were giving me about money. This may also be due in part to my now being a stepparent myself and I'm having to teach my stepdaughter things about money myself now. I also found myself more easily extending compassion to my past self regarding the choices I made regarding money in the past, and also more recently too. I think my having spent the past few years learning to treat myself with kindness, in general, has made this process a bit easier than it would have been if I'd tried to go through this book before I spent all those years working on myself in other areas. So, I guess that's my main insight. Treating myself with kindness, in general, is making a significant difference in this particular instance.

5) How are you feeling right now in regards to your compulsive spending? Are you feeling totally overwhelmed, so excited, like you've got clarity, confused, etc?

Right now, in regards to my spending, I am feeling really good. I feel really hopeful, and I also feel accomplished. Today marks 41 consecutive days in which I have made absolutely no purchases of new things for myself. In these 41 days I have been spending my time reading library books, as well as doing more regular cardio exercise, and I've also started indoor gardening again, (a hobby I'd missed for quite some time.) I've also spent time painting and designing mandalas and doing needlework. I have not worked on my four novel writing projects, individually, as much as I could have, but I certainly have put a lot more time into those writing projects than I did when I was whiling away my days browsing ebay and Amazon. In these 41 days of no shopping I have started learning the piano, as well as starting a Yoga practice. I've found so many productive and fulfilling ways to fill my time that I am now wondering why I was wasting so much time shopping before when I could have been doing all these other marvelous things.

show more ⇓
Reply
YogaPants's picture
[225]
Feb 14

This is so inspiring. I am looking for things to enjoy with when I'm not shopping too. I have found exercise/yoga is great...wish I could fit it into my schedule every day. Perhaps, that is my next challenge. Thanks for sharing.

Reply

Login or Register

You are visiting Support Groups as an anonymous user.

Please consider joining our community and gain access to additional features by

registering or logging into your account