When I was younger (and given that I was a student well into my twenties) the thrill of actually being able to purchase an item sometimes overrode whether it perfectly met my needs and also whether it complemented my other belongings. As such, i would find myself the not-so-proud owner of a cheaply made or not-quite-suited-to-my-tastes item. Sound familiar?
When I finally entered my career, paid off my loans and found myself with the great good fortune of disposable income, I shopped with a vengeance. At last I could afford that oversized gilt-edged mirror, that several-hundred-dollar dress, and although I did reasonably well in terms of buying only what I loved, I was sometimes left with a bad taste in my mouth. Was this really the best way to give myself a boost? Was it really the best use of my hard-earned money? In some cases the answer was a resounding 'yes', but in others I felt a certain kind of 'dirtiness' as my tastes grew more and more expensive. I also felt guilt, and that's never good. Change beckoned. Or rather, change screamed at me from the bottom of my credit card statement.
As I have grown older and found new ways to shop, new places to shop and I think also better ranges in many stores, I have found a happier balance. By carefully thinking about each purchase and buying only those items that suit my needs, my lifestyle, my taste and my budget, I have eventually become happier with less. Admittedly, I am still far from renouncing material possessions or even shopping-as-entertainment, but I am learning to do it in a way that is less frenzied, more productive and a lot more kind to my bank balance. I would so much rather be able to afford to stay at home with my daughter than to have the next iPad.
Have you experienced a similar shift? Do you find yourself struggling in your relationship with shopping? Please write and let me know how you manage what can be a fun and satisfying or stressful and even emotional part of your life.