The internet has given us many things. I mean where would we be without funny memes, google or Facebook? But there’s no denying the internet has also taken a lot from us. Time, attention, privacy and for me specifically, a lot of money.
The internet allowed me to buy things I didn’t need. It gave me opportunities to buy things I could not afford. It gave me the ability to shop whenever and wherever I wanted. On the internet, closing times didn’t exist, a declined credit card was nothing but a processing error and I could shop lying in my bed watching Netflix. There were no rules and I was in my element. I knew about all the sales, the best bargains and the must-haves. I saw myself as an expert when I could quote the returns policy and Ts and Cs for any given store. I was the go-to girl for shopping advice and I loved it.
Online shopping was such a regular activity in my life that I had to use the spare room in my parents’ house as my ‘shopping’ storage room. Empty boxes, items to be returned, receipts and bubble wrap covered the usually empty bed. Every time something new arrived, the remnants of my delivery would find itself in the spare room which I would then clear out once a month. The delivery drivers had become familiar faces and I knew them by name.
By the end of 2016, I had accumulated more bags, shoes and make-up than I had room for. I was subscribed to 3 different fashion magazines, 3 beauty boxes and was spending hundreds of pounds on make-up every month. Insta-famous brands were just too alluring and I had to have that new liquid lipstick that’s trending in America , despite the postage and customs fee adding up to cost more than the product itself! I had clothes in my wardrobe with tags intact which I had no intention of wearing. But it was a bargain, so clearly I had to have it.
Choosing which one of my 20 perfumes to wear had become a chore and the one decent mascara I owned was lost amongst the other 5 in the pot that weren’t that good but good enough to keep.
Everyday, I was becoming suffocated by my possessions. There was too much of everything in my life and I couldn’t breathe. I was having big clear outs on a monthly basis, giving unwanted items to charity shops and selling the better stuff on eBay. But no matter how much I got rid of, I still had too much. Why? Because with every item I discarded, I bought another two in its place.
The defining moment that made me question my shopping habit occurred a few months ago. I had just received my make-up order from the US after I had paid another customs fee. Excited to finally receive my package, I opened up the lipsticks and eyeshadows and snapchat the swatches, as you do. It was only after wiping off the swatches, I noticed one shadow looked really familiar. So I checked my ever-growing make-up collection and there it was, the exact same eyeshadow, hardly used, sat in the corner of the drawer.
I was now duplicating my possessions and I felt stupid. I had let things define me for too long. I had given these things too much importance and I had forgotten who I was. I was waking up to ‘Thank you for your order’ email confirmations and not being able to recall anything as if I had placed these orders during a drunken stupor. And I don’t drink.
Do my shopping habits sound normal? Do you struggle with over-spending? Because up until a few months ago, this was my everyday life and I saw nothing wrong with it. Even with a debt to clear, I was still splurging like there was no tomorrow. Join me next time as I discuss what I’ve been doing to change my ways and how it has made a difference to my life and bank balance!