I Want to Go Shopping

March 7, 2013
Cat in a Bag

Yep, you heard me. I want to go shopping.

I’ve been thinking about shopping a lot over the last few weeks and, even though I’ve never considered myself a “shopaholic” (actually, I despise that word) and I’ve never been a huge fan of walking around malls in general, I have had to stop myself from getting off at Yonge and Dundas and running into the Eaton Centre almost every day this week. Why the sudden urge to shop? I think there’s two reasons…

One: I weigh 27 lbs. less than I did in February 2012. While I’ve bought a couple pairs of $25 jeans from Old Navy, for each of the two pant sizes I’ve gone down, the majority of the shirts and sweaters I wear are still from the body I had 13 months ago. I took a good long look in the mirror a couple weeks ago and wondered why I felt so gross… it’s because nothing I wear fits! Everything is too big, too frumpy, and too worn out. I pretend not to care, because paying down my debt has been more important than making any unnecessary purchases, but I’m starting to think a few new shirts might not be so unnecessary.

Two: I registered for my first half marathon this coming August and I need some new running gear. Nothing crazy, since I’ll be back on the wet coast soon, but a couple pairs of capris/leggings and a couple reflective tops for early morning runs (in the rain) should do the trick. Again, half of the reason for wanting to make these purchases is the fact that I still workout in clothes that I wore 27 lbs. ago! If you think I felt good about myself at the gym at my old weight, imagine how good I feel wearing oversized shirts and pants that fall down when I run. Hot, right? Yea, not exactly.

So, what’s stopping me from shopping?

To be honest, I’m a little scared that once I start I won’t be able to stop. I haven’t shopped in months. Actually, since I’ve been in Toronto, I can count on one hand the number of things I have bought for myself. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been browsing online and bookmarking things I’d like to get eventually – and the folder is filling up fast. I want a new wallet, because mine’s been broken for years. There’s a couple cookbooks I’m dying to read. And don’t even get me started on the fact that sandal season is coming (I live in them from April to October).

Then there’s this whole half marathon training thing. I keep drooling over waterproof GPS watches. If not one of those, I think about buying an armband or something for my iPhone. I’d love to pick out a couple new sports bras and headbands. Basically, any store like Lululemon or Running Room looks like a place I’d love to drop some serious cash in. But I can’t afford anything I want right now, and it’s so freaking frustrating!

Why am I telling you all of this?

To show you that I’m human, I guess. Since June 2011, I have taken some pretty extreme measures to get out of debt. I’ve gone on total shopping bans, cash diets, and spent way too many evenings at home to avoid spending money. And, for the most part, I haven’t minded any of it, because getting out of debt has been my top priority. But I’m feeling anxious for it to all be over soon… I want some of my money back! I want to feel good in my “new” body. I want to be able to buy the few things that I want. And I don’t want to feel guilty, because I owe money to anyone…

I’m not asking for your permission to shop. I’m going to put aside a little cash for some new clothes. I guess I just needed to vent! So, thanks for letting me.

How do you resist the urge to shop? Help a girl out :)

Image Credit: Flickr – maury.mccown

  • Snarkfinance March 7, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Have you seen Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story? I resist shopping in a similar method to White Goodman’s method for resisting fatty food: I set out incredible sale advertisements before me and then shock myself every time I desire to buy something. Might not be for everyone, but works for me!

  • CJ March 7, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Value Village/GoodWill/Sally-Anne!

    There’s a tonne of designer clothing there for pennies on the dollar.

  • Jackie March 7, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I agree with another commenter that you should look at thrift stores. There are a lot of great deals to be found. I think the most important thing is to budget for it. You know you’ll set aside XXX dollar amounts aside for a specific purpose so it won’t effect your budget.

    In the US we have stores like TJMaxx, Marshalls, and Ross where they take high end clothes and sell them at a discount. I try to go once a month and buy a top (usually anywhere from $8-$15). That way I’m adding a new piece into my wardrobe without going crazy.

    I also recommend buying a good pair of sandals. My Chacos cost me $75 but they are orthopedic ones so they don’t hurt my feet and this is the sixth year I’ve worn them.

  • Elizabeth March 7, 2013 at 8:11 am

    If I want something that’s not in my budget I make myself find the money somewhere else, odd jobs or”found money” are pretty good ways to find some play money. Actually the challenge of having to find the money first can be fun, to the point that by the time I have the money I’ve reevaluated if I really want what I’m saving for or if I’d rather spend it elsewhere.

  • Michelle March 7, 2013 at 8:26 am

    I try to avoid stores at all costs so that I don’t shop. It seems like whenever I’m find with spending money on clothes, there is nothing I like out there. However, when I know I shouldn’t be shopping, EVERYTHING is appealing, so I just avoid the mall altogether.

  • Marianne March 7, 2013 at 9:01 am

    I too am kind of desperate to go shopping. Since I’ve been saving hardcore for my pending 4 month trip to Southeast Asia, I haven’t bought new clothes in over a year, I’ve stopped highlighting my hair, and it’s a huge hit on the self confidence. Clothes have a shelf life, unfortunately…everything that used to fit has grown baggy or faded with age.

    In terms of the GPS watch, I have a Garmin but I wouldn’t recommend it. I STRONGLY recommend the upcoming Bia Watch. It’s way slimmer and smaller than a Garmin, has multisport, and is waterproof. I’ll Facebook you the link :)

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life March 7, 2013 at 9:02 am

    I totally understand! I spent my four years of university being totally frugal and never buying any clothing. Pretty much the only clothing I bought was a few suits for work, and I’m pretty sure my parents paid for those. Then, when I graduated and started making money, I had an overwhelming urge to update my wardrobe. Everything I owned was old or worn out or bagged out, or from high school! I managed to do it gradually, without getting into debt over it. I totally understand where you’re coming from and you shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to update your wardrobe, within reason, and on a budget.

  • Marianne March 7, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Also, check Lululemon’s “We Made Too Much” section, they often have great deals. I bought my boyfriend nice jacket there for 40% off.

  • Rob March 7, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I too agree with a couple of the comments posted above regarding thrift stores. I often go to my nearest Value Village. Often they have great stuff. If you Google them you’ll find some Toronto locations on Queen St. E and Bloor St E.

    Money is to be saved, used to pay down debt, but also to be enjoyed – always in moderation. Dress for success, as the old saying goes. So Cait, enjoy your remaining days here in Toronto and give yourself permission to enjoy yourself a little. No regrets.

  • Girl Meets Debt March 7, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I’m going to be super unpopular for saying this, but I think looking and feeling good should be priceless, errr priceless but within budget ;) Nothing is wrong with buying a few shirts to look and feel good in with all the weight you lost!

  • Lynn March 7, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Why not arrange a clothes swap with friends? Pick a location and time and ask everyone to bring clothes they don’t wear anymore. The trade is 1 for 1! Nice way to get clothing without spending any money!

  • Cassie March 7, 2013 at 10:04 am

    If I find myself with an insatiable urge to shop, and non-stop triggers, I find I have to get rid of the triggers. I’m not sure what the transit service is like in Toronto, but is there another bus option that doesn’t take you past shopping areas? Have you unsubscribed from store mailing lists already? Those two will probably make a big difference.

    That being said, it sounds like you are in serious need of some new clothing. Like some of the other commenters have noted, I’d check consignment shops for new shirts. Living in Toronto I’m pretty sure there’s probably a handful of swanky ones you could hit and find clothes with tags still on them ;) Personally I prefer my workout gear new, but if that’s not an issue you could probably find that at the consignment shops as well!

  • Kate March 7, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I can totally relate! I tend to only shop a few times a year, when the seasons change. The last time I bought clothes was for winter, and that was at Christmas. I paid with Christmas money, gift cards, and went on Boxing Day when the store has special promotions. Now, since I just had my birthday, I’m going to go again with birthday money and more special birthday coupons and promos. That’s why it pays to be part of store rewards programs!

    But I do have an aversion to spending my own money on clothes and shoes and jewelry because that’s how I took on some of my debt to begin with. Moving to Toronto, I wanted a fresh start and a fresh wardrobe, and ended up maxing out a second credit card to do it. So now, I’m much harder on myself.

    That being said, you should never feel guilty for buying yourself clothing that you need or want in moderation. If you can afford it, and you’re going to wear it often, no guilt required!

    (Post pictures when you finish shopping so we can see what you get!)

  • Kelly March 7, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Since trying 2 changes our ways since 2009, when out debt crisis hit a new low with medical bills out the ying yang, I “try” like hell to only spend $$ for the girls birthdays or Christmas…it’s been rough! Espicslly around new school season when the requests for “certain supplies”come from the SCHOOL no less, but the want for new clothes & just something-different-bug bites…while we are not totally out of the woods yet either…we are making progress & that’s what I have to remind myself & hubby when we get down about $$…I hate ALWAYS having to be the “positive” one but if I don’t keep a handle on our debt & progress we will be in this mess forever…

  • Sharon J. Gilman March 7, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Congrats on the weight loss!! That must feel really awesome. I think you deserve to get a little something to wear to the gym! :D

  • Carrie Smith March 7, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Woohoo! 27 lbs you go girl! I’m so proud of you roomie :)

    I hate shopping — especially clothes shopping — but I’m finding myself in a similar situation as yours that nothing fits right and it’s driving me crazy. It also wears on my self esteem, and stresses me out. If this happens to you too, it’s probably a good idea to get out and buy some new stuff. I know you will keep your budget in mind and find some good deals. Get out there and reward yourself a little!

  • Financial Black Sheep March 7, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I stay away from all coupons, stores, and emails. I even have my emails directly sent to a folder, so I never have to look. When I am unhappy and no longer want to put all my money towards debt, I give myself an allowance. I take cash, go do whatever, and never ever ever take any cards with me. Once the cash is gone, I am done and can enjoy my new purchases. I just gave in and purchased some new shoes. It was well worth it :)

  • Tilly March 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Shopping dilemna: try goodwill! I went to one in more affluent area and got some thing in like new condition for a steal! Think about all those failed new years resolutions making their way into the thrift stores!

  • JW_umbrella treasury March 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Hi! Congrats on losing 27 lbs in a year. That’s an extraordinary accomplishment!

    A few years ago, I was shopping far too much. I wouldn’t call myself a shopaholic, but the amount of shopping was definitely unwarranted.

    There are a few things I do now to keep my clothes shopping under control:

    1) When I see something I like, I don’t buy it right away. I evaluate whether I need it, whether I already have something that will serve the same purpose, and whether I will wear/use it enough. If it isn’t on sale, I definitely don’t buy it. If it’s on sale, I’ll come back to the store/website in a few days to purchase it.

    2) Unless I’m looking for something in particular, I don’t shop online. It’s just too tempting for me!

    3) I love thrift stores. Some of the best pieces in my work wardrobe were from thrift stores ($5 for a new French Connection pencil skirt. Yes, please!).

    4) On occasions when I splurge, it’s on items that I know will get a lot of use, such as a good pair of basic black pumps. I’m also willing to spend money on workout gear, because it actually gets me to the gym more : )

    BTW, I’m a new reader and love your blog. I know you’re planning to stop blogging once you’ve repaid the remaining amount of your debt (and I totally understand your decision), but I’ll be looking forward to reading posts until that time.

  • Sharon C March 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I hate paying regular prices on anything – especially clothing. I have a few tricks up my sleeves:

    I watch for sales on end of season/last season’s styles. This sometimes limits sizes, but many stores will price match if you show them a flyer or the price on a website. Some stores, like Sportchek, will give you a coupon for signing up to their email list (you can unsubscribe after).

    If you plan to buy a lot of items, consider outlet shopping. I know there’s a handful in the GTA, although heading across the border will get you better deals. Outlets often hold the best stock levels of end of season items, as well as new season overstock. I found my favourite sport bras priced 2 for $25US at a US outlet after buying the same one for $45 locally.

    For sportswear, I really like Mountain Equipment Co-op (www.mec.ca). They have much friendlier prices than Lululemon, lots of user reviews on their website, and a flexible return policy.

    Also, check back for sales after purchasing. If your item is discounted within the return period, you can usually get a price adjustment and refund.

    Happy shopping! You deserve it after all your hard work :)

  • Tanya March 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Story of my life (coming from a used-t0-be shopaholic). I find if you resist long enough, the urge will go away. Or just go out and get 1 or 2 things–that’ll satisfy your need to want to spend on some new clothes that you totally deserve. Stay away from things that you just “want” versus things you really need–like a good-fitting pair of pants or a great blazer. Versatile pieces (that you could wear for multiple occasions) are good investments, too.

    As far as workout clothes go, so many retailers have jumped on that band wagon recently. Old Navy, the Gap, Joe Fresh, Forever 21..you can now find very cheap, but nice looking and pretty well-made workout pants, tops, etc at all those stores, without having to drop a couple hundred like you would have to at lulu. I love lulu, but I think i’ll save that for when I’m out of debt and can truly afford it.

  • anna March 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Congrats on signing up for the half! Maybe it’s okay to splurge on one or two running outfits (even stores like Target have reasonably priced wick away clothes)? Once the long runs start coming along, I think it’ll help if you’re focused on the run rather than making sure your clothes are in place. Best wishes for the training!

  • EM March 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I paid of 14k of credit card debt and 11k of student loan debt in just under 2 years – using similar “extreme” methods (no cable, no gym membership, no shopping, going out with friends every 5th invite). I still have 8k to go in student loans, but since Christmas I have been SHOPPING and it feels so good.

    Nothing crazy, but I planned to halve my debt payments for January – March in order to give myself a break and some breathing room. It felt terrible at first, buying things from my list of “wants/needs” — prioritized by things that were in awful condition that I continued to wear or use so as to avoid spending money. I’ve kept a “one in one out” policy — if I get a shirt, at least one shirt has to go — to make sure I’m sticking to replacing only items that need to be replaced/updated and are easy to part with. But now I’m done! 3 weeks ahead of schedule and a few hundred dollars under budget. It feels amazing to be able to walk into my closet and always have something to wear to any occasion that isn’t tattered or ill-fitting. It was the rejuvenation I needed to finish debt payments strong. And I LOVE that avoiding malls is so much easier now because I have everything I need and a few things I want.

  • BakingSuit March 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    I’m going to be unpopular here, but feel that after 27lbs it’s definately time for new workout gear. How can you focus on your workout and doing it right when you’re constantly tugging at your shorts pants? I bought a new pair of running capris at Target the other day (My last pair lasted 2 + years and I actually gave them to someone else, they’re fine to wear) and I look forward to pulling them on for my long runs.

    If you have to, put the money in the budget, but I feel like at this point, it’s not optional to be presentable and feel good about yourself. Just my two thoughts.

  • Lindsay March 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Buy yourself some clothes. I was in this position last year when I lost 30lbs and was nearing the end of my debt repaying. You have a new body and you need to show it off and feel amazing. Here is the trick- throw out that rule that says you should spend money on quality ‘investment pieces’. I went to Superstore, Urban Planet, F21, H&M. If I could buy a top for under $8, and they had a good mix of basics and trends I shopped there.
    You don’t need a lot of pieces just strategic ones (make wardrobe a plan). I also found my style changed drastically and I those cheap clothes lasted long enough for me to lose a little more weight and settle into my new style. Now that I have a bit more money I’m starting the process of buying those ‘investment pieces’.
    Also, I bought sports bras at Costco, running tops at winners, but bought North Face running tights for full price (because running tights make your bum look amazing)!

    I hope this helps you!

  • Mo' Money Mo' Houses March 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    I think the only reason I don’t spend a lot more on clothes shopping than I do is because I’m so tired after work, the only thing I want to do is go home, thus eliminating me being anywhere near clothes to buy. Also, I do a heck of a lot of clothes browsing online but when it comes time to actually pay the money, I just close the browser.

  • K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! March 7, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Good plan to save some money for some new clothes. Wearing clothes you feel 100% good in is important. I too lately feel like spending some money on some clothes but I really don’t need to at this point and I’m also working out towards losing a few pounds. Congratulations on the 27 lbs weight loss!

  • Vanessa March 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I know buying clothes is hard to do when you love to shop. I think since you are losing weight you deserve a little treat for going down in size and if a pair of running pants and a shirt or bra is due you owe it to yourself to wear a well fitted bra and clothes to feel good about the progress you have made! Congrats to what you have accomplished and what you will accomplish.

  • American Debt Project March 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    The good thing about getting out of debt is you can actually shop without feeling guilty! Last month I bought two nice sweaters, which was a big deal because it was part of my spending money for the month. It didn’t affect my debt and I totally had room to spend! That felt so strange and amazing at the same time. But I resist the urge to shop because most of the stuff in the stores looks crappy to me these days. Except for an occasional piece, everything looks the same (neon, pastel, weird printed pants, blah!).

  • Stephanie March 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Way to go on all your weight loss! Wooo!

    I didn’t lose nearly that much, but did notice that shirts just look dumb on me now! And I also actually picked up some smaller pants from Old Navy on the cheap recently! Fun coincidence!

    As for resisting the urge to shop, I’ve just avoided stores. I know that’s kind of a “duh” comment, but I don’t really shop for stuff online. But once I step into the store, I’m in dangerous territory, especially if there are sales!

    That being said, for all the fitness gear, when you do start to spend your budget, I’ve found places in the U.S. like TJ Maxx are great places to pick up workout clothes. And I’ve picked up most of my sports bras at Target. I’ve also been tempted by all those gadgets. I guess for that definitely shop around and try to figure out exactly what you want.

    Regardless, have a budget and a plan! List out the items and likely price of everything to see if you can buy them in this round. I agree with other posters that you do need to buy some new smaller clothes. But again, make the list, and start with some basics.

    So proud of you :)

  • KC March 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    I don’t go out much either. As much as I can, I delay myself from shopping until I no longer want it. Saving money is important in my family so what I do, I look online for those printable coupons and use them..

  • Diane St Jacques March 9, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Take a short breather from paying down your debt and treat yourself with a few new clothes. YOU DESERVE IT!! 27 was my lucky number too……3 years ago and I’ve kept it off. Congratulations Caitlin! There’s a saying I live by:

    “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” [Kate Moss]

    And related to “how do you resist the urge to shop?”, my mottos are:

    1. Don’t use your credit card if you can’t pay it off at the end of the month.
    2. Do I REALLY need this….is it a ‘want’ or a ‘need’.

    So proud of you honey. xo

  • Lindsey March 10, 2013 at 3:32 am

    Hi Cait
    I haven’t been a follower for long but first thing:
    -Congratulations on both your achievements with money and with losing the weight – that’s really exciting and inspiring!
    – Secondly, I know it’s scary to take that plunge after living so long in the land of go-without but trust yourself to know when you’ll need to stop. It’s always hard to give yourself permission after saying “no” for the higher debt cause for so long but it’s good to find balance. I believe you will find that for yourself and continue to be successful!

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  • Christina March 19, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Congratulations for losing so much! I understand how you fee. Sometimes it is good to have your clothes taken in (the staples in your wardrobe) and stuff like jeans, you can change them to shorts and some good use in the summer.

    I had to purchase recently because people at work are whispering that they notice I wear the same clothes all the time to work. I do change the look with accessories that are not exactly cheap and I thought that should be enough. I bought a dress and now I am saving for shoes and handbag.