I am going to tell you this right up front. I did not shop the sale this past week. BUT it has been a very very tempting week. First off, I no longer have a Nordstrom credit card so I would not have been able to purchase anything during the early access unless I had decided to RE-open my account, which I did not and would not do! If you read my post about “The Breakup”, then you know re-opening that card would be like going back into a dysfunctional unhealthy relationship in a moment of desperation. Although I have definitely felt desperate at times this week, it really helped me to plan a goal and set up strategies on how I would avoid the sale. I think if I had not done this I might very well have convinced myself to re-open the credit card and shop!
So let me rewind back a week. The first few days were fairly easy. I stuck to my plan and avoided all the emails and the bloggers. I focused on my writing and downloaded (onto my kindle) both the Break the Twitch book by Anthony Ongaro and also How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously*: Based on the Proven Principles and Techniques of Debtors Anonymous by Jerry Mundis.
Break the Twitch was a quick read that I completed over a lazy Saturday. This book hit home for me right from the beginning when the author spoke about making “First False Steps”. A “First False Step” would be when you are faced with a problem or have a new project or ambition and the first thing you do is BUY something thinking it will help you solve your issues or reach your goal. Sorta like what I did last week when I stated that I wanted to workout more so that I could lose the few vacation pounds I gained. My first step should have been to just workout, but instead my first step was “let’s buy new workout clothes and sneakers”. I still haven’t done the workout!
I’ve always known that when faced with a problem or a new idea I like to “throw money at it”. Whether it was the new juicer I purchased to “be more healthy” (that is collecting dust) or the sewing machine I bought so I could “make” curtains for the window in my closet (Nope, haven’t done that yet either). Had I really taken the time to assess what I should do, I might have realized that it is just easier for me to buy the juice drinks from my local organic market (which is what I actually now do). Buying all those vegetables, washing them, and then having to clean the juicer each day ended up taking up too much of my time and truly was not very exciting. Sewing? Again, I had this fantasy that I would become the crafty person who would sew together curtains, pillows blankets and clothing. In reality, I am just not that person. I now have a state of the art sewing machine, all the little essentials to go with it, but still no curtains hanging on that window. This book really helped open my eyes to this pattern and I am going to make an effort going forward to think more fully about how I should approach a goal or problem before I quickly jump and spend money on it.
Besides reading, I spent the weekend focused on getting my future spending plan in order and used my internet time reading blogs from other former shopaholics who have succeeded in their recovery. Since I was avoiding all clothing or Nordstrom related sites, I did not have any shopping urges. It was a case of
“See no bloggers, Hear no bloggers, Buy no clothing”.
All of this was very motivating for me and I felt that I would be able to skip happily through the remainder of the week planning my future mindful shopping and becoming a financial wiz (I am learning a lot from these books).
Then like a quick unexpected change in the weather it happened. Feeling like I was on a good roll, I made the decision to return the black wedge sandals I had purchased the previous week. I had bought them because they looked so cute on that blogger so I was hoping they’d be just right for me. Although I loved the sandals, they really didn't fit me perfectly and therefore I probably wouldn’t wear them often. I was happy I had realized this and could still return them. Then suddenly I felt a "black wedge sandal” void in my head! My mind quickly tried to solve this by recalling another (more expensive) black wedge sandal that I had seen online at Saks, but was priced higher than I wanted to spend. The gears in my brain slowly started churning and my thought process began wondering if I should pay more since I want a black wedge sandal and I know that this pricier brand usually fits me very well. The gears moved faster and faster as I tried persuading myself that the design of this sandal covers my bunion and the heel height is exactly what I like…the style is classic so I would own it for a long time and get much use out of it. The gears then halted. The problem is the timing. I really can’t afford to buy these sandals right now. I have a small credit card balance that I truly want to pay off before it starts building up and gets out of hand. I don’t want to put anything else on the credit card. In fact, I need to break up with this credit card too! I have already made it halfway through summer without new black wedges. After much hesitation, I decided not to purchase the sandals.
The next day I went with a friend for mani/pedis at a new spa/boutique. Since it was a spa I figured the boutique sold body butters, lotions, candles and maybe robes. Nope. It was a cute trendy beachwear type of boutique with a unique assortment of lounge clothing and bathing suit coverups. I wish I had known about this place at the beginning of the summer when I was shopping for that type of stuff. While the technician was polishing my nails I tried to read my kindle and keep my eyes off the merchandise. This was nearly impossible to do because I saw four things I loved! I hadn’t gone near them or touched them, but I knew, I just knew I would love them. I kept repeating to myself that I did not need anything else for the summer and was hardly able to focus on my book!
Not purchasing the sandals or boutique lounge-wear made me feel frustrated. I was angry that I couldn’t just buy what I wanted when I wanted it and at the same time upset with myself for feeling like a child. I remembered my therapist saying that I have to allow myself these feelings and learn that I will get past them. I asked myself what negative thing I thought might happen if I did not buy the shoes? The answer was…. Nothing…nothing negative will happen. I have other black sandals to wear and can live without new ones. And the items from the boutique? Nothing negative there either. I still have plenty of cute clothing to choose from in my closet. What are the positive results of not purchasing these items? No further debt which enables me to pay off the balance sooner. I still needed to continue this wrestling of reasoning with myself each day of the week, but I have refrained from buying the shoes and have not returned to that boutique.
Now back to the Nordstrom sale. My curiosity started to get the better of me. I kept thinking “I wonder what the bloggers are showing?…I wonder if there is anything on sale I would buy if I were shopping?”. I just couldn’t resist taking a peek at a few blogger’s “must have” posts. I knew I wasn’t suppose to do this since it was against my strategy and therefore could make resisting the sale difficult for me, but I was burning up with an eagerness to know! I told myself that no matter what I saw I would not purchase anything! I argued that if I saw an item that I liked, I would put it on a list to consider for my Fall spending plan since it’s important I learn to pause between wanting something and actually purchasing it. I’ve seen often in the past that if I don’t pull the “buy it” trigger right away, the urgency of the moment subsides and I can think more clearly about whether or not I really need it. As I quickly scanned each post I felt anxious and somewhat guilty. I was anxious because I was afraid I would see something I loved too much and then I’d be super tempted to throw caution to the wind and give in to my shopping urge. I felt guilty because I knew that avoiding these types of posts would be more useful than simply trying to maintain shopping control! I did not linger on the posts very long just a quick run through. The more I looked, the harder it became to “just look”. I could physically feel my shopping wall of resistance starting to weaken. Two of the three blog posts were not very difficult for me. The items I saw were okay, but nothing special…certainly nothing that couldn’t wait until the Fall. But the third blogger…my favorite fashion blogger…that’s when it got tricky. She showed many beautiful sale items…many that I loved…or at least I loved them on her. I analyzed each one and narrowed it down to two items that I super loved. The first is a faux shearling coat that is $129.90 on sale ($199 after sale). Since the reviews for this jacket were not great and I do not really need a coat like this, I moved it out of my shopping radar. But the second item could fill a spot that I already have on my Fall shopping plan (long black cashmere cardigan without pockets). The cardigan is on sale for $199 ($299 after sale). As I write this I have decided not to purchase this cardigan (just yet). I want to think about this more. I need to take my time to decide if the $100 savings is worth purchasing this right now in the middle of summer when I’m not going to wear it for at least two more months? Shouldn't I just stick to my plan to pay off the credit card and save Fall purchases for the Fall? What do you think? I am unsure what I will ultimately decide to do, but I will certainly let you know in next week’s check-in!