Overcoming My Shopping Addiction

shopping addiction

Guest post Elizabeth of Witty ‘N’ Pretty

The world we live in values beauty above all else. The more beautiful a person is, the more value they have. It’s no wonder people, women in particular, lack confidence. We try to make up for our shortcomings in many ways.

For me, I tried to make up for mine by shopping because in my mind, the more expensive things I owned, the more value I had.

Every time I bought something, I experienced two things.

First, was happiness, because I felt prettier and more valuable.

Then I felt guilt, because I knew I couldn’t afford what I was buying.

When I bought something I couldn’t afford, it counteracted the happiness because my value was decreasing. The lifestyle I wanted was unattainable for a girl still in college.

For whatever reason, I couldn’t come to terms with that. I didn’t accept it until I maxed out a credit card and ended up using student loans to fund my shopping trips.

I knew I had to change, so I did.

Since I’m confessing my struggles to you, I may as well say that the temptations to shop and spend money never completely go away. However, I learned to ignore the little voice inside my head telling me to spend, spend, spend.

Eventually, you’ll learn how to do this too… here’s how I’m just doing that:

1. Cut up the credit card.

Yes, the most precious piece of plastic you own will be in little pieces after the scissors gets through with it.

Having a credit card in your wallet tells you that even if you can’t afford something at that moment, your line of credit will let you buy it anyway.

Chop up those cards!

2. Write it down… with an actual pen.

Write down anything and everything you buy and exactly how much it cost. This allows you to see where your money goes and any trends in your spending.

I noticed two things about myself: I liked to drink overpriced coffee and I liked to look good doing it. Knowing this helped me take the next step toward addiction recovery.

3. Stop doing the things that cause you to spend money.

For one month, I didn’t allow myself to buy anything but food and gas. It didn’t matter what was on sale or how great of a deal it was (I love getting a bargain), I wasn’t going to buy it.

At first, this is like giving up the last life ring on a sinking ship. You feel like you’re going to drown. Just like anything else though, it becomes routine.

4. Retrain your brain.

For the longest time, I honestly believed that my worth and my attractiveness was based on how many Kate Spade bags I had and the car I drove.

During my month long shopping break, I focused on building my confidence up. I tried to find beauty in the talents I had and the personality I was born with. I talked with mentors and people I trusted to help me find my self-worth.

Truthfully, I’m still finding my worth. I believe it’s a journey though. It can’t be done in a month or even a year. I still appreciate pretty things, but I don’t place my worth in them.

Do I struggle with wanting these things? Of course, but I can say “no” to myself now. I understand and respect my financial limits and still see value in who I am.

Some may scoff and wonder what’s wrong with me, I can only tell them that everyone struggles with something and being addicted to shopping was my “something”.

Liz is a young, 20-something with a passion for living a beautiful, debt-free life. After graduating college, she realized how important it is for her to get her finances together and start sharing how you can have a great lifestyle for a lot less. She blogs at Witty ‘N’ Pretty.

photo source

Source: moneysavingmom.com

The Tiny House That Love Built

With thoughtful design and ingenious storage, 624 square feet goes a long way.

While some couples might balk at the suggestion of designing just one room together, Lauren Shumaker and Scott Mooney are no ordinary pair. She’s a construction engineer, he’s an architect, and they’re both wickedly creative. So much so that they collaborated to design an entirely unique dream home together.

Oh, and it’s only 624-square feet.

The custom dwelling was built with the help of TaylorSmith Sustainable Construction in the enviable Richmond neighborhood of Portland, OR. Though the home is close to music venues, restaurants, and some of the best shopping in the city, what makes it so special is its clever design and sleek structural features.
“We both lived in many compact-sized homes over the years, but they weren’t as well laid out as they could have been,” says Shumaker. “We knew with simple tweaks in the design, we could make small-space living function well for both of us.”

The couple worked together to design a home that catered to their specific needs — for example, an integrated dog door leading to the bedroom.

Built-in storage lines the outside of the house, providing ample space for outdoor equipment and bicycles, and generously sized windows wash every last inch of the home in natural light.
All that sunshine did end up including one slightly unpleasant and unforeseen aspect, however.

“We opted to put a window in our shower enclosure for more light [and] air movement,” Shumaker says, “but water accumulates on the ledge and if we had to do it over again, we would probably avoid putting a window in that location.”

You live, you build a custom compact home with your spouse, you learn. That’s how that saying goes, right?

Less is more

Despite the singular design snafu, the home is a triumph for the couple. The personalized space allows them to live in a beautiful home that’s truly their own.

“We’re interested in living simply, economically, and sustainably, so living in a small, well-designed space fit our lifestyle,” Shumaker explains. “My partner and I love our new house. Functionally, it works great for both of us as there’s equal closet storage, it’s easy to clean, and compact yet has enough storage. Neither of us feels like we’ve had to make any compromises in our ability to live comfortably together.”

And something that helps to maintain that comfort? The classic “less is more” approach, according to Shumaker.
“We’ve found paring down is always the best policy, and we continue to be diligent regarding what comes in the house,” she says. “While we were previously living together in a smaller space, we still found ourselves going through round after round of purging before we moved into the new house.

“Fortunately, this enabled us to be thoughtful with what we introduced into our home, and now we’re happy to not have to worry about any additional clutter beyond what we use most frequently.”

Ask any aspiring home designer what romance looks like, and visions of tidying guru Marie Kondo and custom closet spaces would probably dance through their heads. If fairy tales were modernized, minimalism and clean design would surely be part of every couple’s happily-ever-after.

But in our real world of endless dream house Pinterest boards and wistful home design shows, the Shumaker-Mooney family doesn’t take their labor of love lightly.

“We feel lucky to have been able to see this through,” Shumaker says. “We love how the process of designing and building this home brought us closer together as a couple, [and] being able to enjoy the space we put so much heart into is the icing on the cake.”

Photos by Olivia Ashton Photography.

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Source: zillow.com

Our Almost $0 Baby Budget For Our 1st Baby (How & Why We Did It)

Our $0 Baby Budget

Ten and a half years ago, we welcomed our first child into the world — a beautiful baby girl, Kathrynne. Jesse was in law school at the time, I was trying to piece together enough income from various online pursuits to keep us afloat, and needless to say, we were poor as poor can be.

We were so poor, in fact, that we spent right around $0 out of pocket on baby things. Not because we didn’t want to spend anything, but because we literally had no extra money to spare.

As best as I can recall, the only thing we spent money on was a baby blanket. For real.

I was overdue and we realized that we were going to be having this baby sooner rather than later and it was January, so we probably needed more than the one blanket we’d been given by a friend!

We scrounged together a few dollars, went to Walmart and bought a blanket, and that was the last we spent until Kathrynne was close to one year old and we went and bought her a cute new outfit to get her pictures taken for Christmas gifts.

Our $0 Baby Budget

How did we spend almost zero out of pocket on baby things? Well, here’s how:

1. We Used What We Were Given

We were blessed with very generous friends. So blessed, in fact, that we ended up having three different showers thrown for us! One was by Jesse’s co-workers, one was by our little church, and one was by our church back home.

When people asked what we needed or wanted, we suggested practical things — like diapers, wipes, onesies, sleepers, and blankets. We ended up being gifted enough clothes to make it through almost the entire first year of Kathrynne’s life without buying her any new clothes.

A few people went in together and bought us some of the larger items — like a stroller, playpen, and carseat.

Our $0 Baby Budget

2. We Willingly Accepted Hand-Me-Downs

Some friends kindly offered to let us borrow their baby items or passed along baby clothes to us. We willingly accepted all of these offers and they were a huge blessing!

Yes, Kathrynne may not have been outfitted in name brand, brand-new clothes most of the time, but she survived just fine! Plus, I discovered that I didn’t have to worry if something got stained or ripped because it was already used and worn. 🙂

3. We Focused on Needs Versus Wants

It’s nice to have some of the non-necessities, but I’m here to tell you that your baby will be just fine without them.

Kathrynne didn’t have very many outfits per size. In fact, in most sizes, she only had 6 outfits, plus PJs. Yes, this meant I had to keep up on laundry more, but she survived.

We also had very few toys or baby gadgets. Some of the gadgets are nice and helpful, but very few could be considered actual necessities. I wrote a post here with a list of what I consider to be the only items you really need to buy for your baby.

This might not work for you. You might not have friends who bless you with multiple showers or offer you hand-me-downs. But I hope that this post encourages you to think outside the box and to realize that babies can get by without all the bells and whistles.

What are your best tips for saving money on baby things? I’d love to hear!

Source: moneysavingmom.com