True Story: I'm a Recovering Shopaholic

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Art of Materialistic Fulfillment

Here's a vulnerable snapshot of my truth...

I am a dreamer, a schemer and a professional when it comes to spending money.  I grew up with grandparents who owned clothing stores and my grandmother was a skilled milliner (hat maker).  My mother recounts me telling her what to wear at the age of three and noted that I would have a disparaging look on my face if I didn't agree with her style choices.  I guess you could say I was inherently predisposed to being passionate about fashion; although, I was raised by modestly frugal parents who didn't indulge me with designer items.  Martinez, CA....not exactly a town where you'd prance around in Christian Louboutins and wave around a Prada bag. It wasn't until I moved to San Francisco, that "heaven's gate" opened up and sucked me into its theoretical shopper's 'paradise'.  Here I am, privy to some of the finest luxury stores in the world.  So what do I do?  I go shopppppppiiinnnnggggg. First stop: Chanel at Neiman Marcus.  I buy a $2,500.00, beautiful, classic black leather Chanel bag, rack up $3k in debt at Barneys, splurge on Christian Louboutins at Saks, and the list of designer items bought goes on and on, like a ringing in my ear.  I looked posh, people thought I worked in the fashion industry and I was endlessly complimented on my style.  That was the bright side.  The dark side was that I had amassed significant debt, hankering debt that would take years to pay off.  I always thought I'd somehow been deprived of the finer things in life because I didn't grow up in an environment of excess and luxury.  I soon realized that the reason I had not been gifted with these inconsequential items, was because my parents simply could not afford it....and years later, neither could I.  Having just recently paid off my debt from hard-to-reverse financial mistakes I made in my early twenties, I now view my purchasing experiences very differently.  I scour the sales racks (something I never did before), negotiate prices, and buy most of my items with cash.  I feel the same sense of fulfillment when I scout out a $10 Baggu bag with a cool design or a kitschy pair of socks, as I did when I was making big ticket purchases, but now I do not experience the buyer's remorse associated with spending money on frivolities that are not within my budget.  I will be a fashionista 'til the day I die because it's simply in my blood, but I will approach it with a newfound sense of financial responsibility.



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