It’s almost here…the anticipated yearly event causing fashion lovers, bloggers, You tubers and shopaholics to create detailed lists, increase credit lines and boost their internet connection for…the Nordstrom Anniversary sale! I can’t tell you what day I have to bring my son back to college or the date my nine year old will begin fourth grade, but I can tell you that early access to Nordstrom’s yearly anniversary sale begins on July 12th! I recall the anticipation I had last year for this sale, but I had no idea that it would lead me down the very path I am on today.
Last July, I was battling many emotional issues as I prepared for my oldest son to flee the nest and begin college. I was no stranger to overshopping, but had it somewhat manageably contained (which for me meant I hadn’t gone too overboard with credit card debt keeping the balance hovering around an amount I could pay off within three months if I chose to). I knew that I had begun to spend more and more (on what I can not recall) and that my credit card balance was slowly rising each month, yet I ignored it all. I had never paid much attention to the July Nordstrom sale in previous years, but this year was different because I had begun following a fashion blogger who was quite the expert on the sale and had lots of advice to offer prior to the start of it. This was a great distraction away from the sadness I had been experiencing. What better than shopping to uplift me?
I woke up early the day the sale started so I could snatch up all the items I had already pre-planned to purchase (Nordstrom gives you a peek at some sale goodies so you can plan out your spending). I had my list that first day and I was able to successfully purchase everything on it. This initial list was actually quite mindful and contained items that would be necessary for the Fall. In fact most of the items were for my children…new coats, school shoes, backpacks….all very reasonable items to purchase on sale prior to the season! If I had ended there I would not be writing this post today. What happened next was the beginning of my downfall.
After my initial sale acquisitions I started to read the suggested “must have” lists of several fashion bloggers (who had many great ideas for styling all these beautiful sale clothing pieces). Let me state that I completely own my shopping addiction and the fact that I did not practice self discipline is not any blogger’s fault. I believe they provide a very useful tool for women who are looking for styling help. Many offer wonderful tips and suggestions and are very talented at putting together stylish outfits. If you are a wise mindful shopper they can actually help you save time and money. I was not so disciplined. Instead of using their lists and outfit posts as inspiration, these lists became my fashion bible. Instead of thinking ”that’s a great way to wear dark jeans” and then only purchase one new piece or accessory to add to my existing wardrobe (since I already owned similar jeans, tops and boots), I would purchase the entire outfit somehow thinking that these newer jeans, sweater and boots were superior to what I already owned. Or better than that, I would purchase outfits that didn’t really appeal to me, but figured the fashion blogger knew better than me so I had to get it. I bought and I bought. After purchasing all the items on my original list plus the items on the bloggers “must have “ lists, I was immersed in a shopping high. I knew that sale items would be added daily, so twice a day I would check for any new arrivals. This led to repetitive browsing through all the existing sale items and each day I purchased more and more for fear things might get sold out and I would then miss out. I began buying random sale items like new bath towels, throw blankets, robes, underwear, socks, sports bras, jewelry, and so on.
Each day more Nordstrom packages arrived at my doorstep. As the boxes piled up, I started to feel the dread. I knew it was wrong. I knew it had gotten out of control. I was opening boxes not knowing what might be inside them..not remembering what I had ordered. I was hiding the boxes and avoiding looking at the credit card statement balance. I was in total complete shopping denial. All these great deals no longer felt so great. In fact, my self esteem was beginning to dip very low as I tried to figure out what I was going to do next. After the sale was over, my husband approached me about the excessive amount of packages that had been delivered. I confessed that I had short circuited. I was like a balloon that was blown up and then released….quickly deflating and spiraling away onto a crash course.
I began therapy and my shopping addiction recovery journey shorty after in mid September. At this point I had decided to return a great portion of what I purchased during that sale. I took a deeper look into exactly what I had bought and noticed that many of the items were actually still on sale (even though the anniversary sale had ended). I also realized that 90% of what I purchased I truly did not love and did not need, In fact the only items I really needed were the ones on my initial list. Additionally, these items could still be purchased and could still be found on sale (somewhere). There were a few items that were exclusive to Nordstrom and now sold out, but certainly I could have found similar pieces if I really, really needed to have them.
I learned that I did not experience regret returning things. In fact, it was a relief and lightened my financial and emotional load. I also learned that I lived just fine this past year without all the items I returned. I can’t even recall everything I had purchased and returned. Each impulsive, unnecessary credit charge just further verified that I had a very real issue and needed to change.
So this year as I embark on Nordstrom’s anniversary celebration I hope to celebrate myself instead. I will cheer for myself and the progress I have made this past year. I will not focus on any missteps I may have taken. I will try to learn from my mistakes and concentrate on how far I have come in 365 days. I will be excited this year not for some sale purchases I won’t recall but instead for a life more fully enjoyed. I will be thankful for all that I have and the ability to share my story and perhaps provide support to others walking a similar path.
Perhaps next year I will shop this sale to purchase something I need or would like to enhance my existing wardrobe. Perhaps by then I will trust myself to be mindful and create a list and check it twice! Perhaps by that time I will have developed tools that prove to consistently help me resist impulsive purchases for items I don’t need and did not plan for. But for now I do not intend on shopping the 2018 Nordstrom Anniversary sale, and I need to put together my approach for accomplishing this goal! Next week I will share my thoughts and strategies on exactly how I plan to steer clear of the temptations and shopping urges I may face during this three week period!