Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW —i know this is my own fault but I was always known for having the hottest clothes and accessories of all my friends. Now I’m learning how to pay off my debt, and that makes me feel good every month. My problem is that I am going crazy not being able to go shopping and feel I have to still keep my image up. Can I buy one nice thing every month since my bills are going down? — Undressed for Success
Dear Undressed for Success,
Honey, I feel your pain in the wanting to buy nice things department (but you’re not going to like my answer). Congrats on starting to get your bills under control— that’s huge — unfortunately, you had not learned to curb your impulses (leading to habits) earlier, and are now paying the consequences and (literally) the bill that’s come due. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater (by not shopping) doesn’t work in most cases. Try to come to a balance, and I’m not talking about just your shopping.
Your thinking is what begins the chain of events that ends with your monthly bill paying (literally and figuratively). Realize that our fast food, instant gratification society is an outgrowth of lazy and poor thinking, immature behaviors, and an insecurity that comes from…somewhere. It’s never too late to get with your own best program, and good choices does not equal all work and no play, no fun. Privately take genuine and deep inventory about how you feel about your self, choices you have made (still not talking shopping yet; what choices did you make from school, to acquaintances, friends and lovers — the people and influencers with whom you have chosen to share your life). Get naked! Really see what priorities you’ve made, what messages you’ve bought into about “success”…in other words, the life you have chosen for yourself. True examination helps lead to a life lived well, better, best for each of us. There is no blame or shame in this game I’m suggesting to you. When you know better, you can do better. Live consciously.
Window dressing always optional,
Dear Undressed for Success,
Well, first off, I don’t know your budget, the amount of your debt or your shopping habits. But, I will say, paying off your debt and learning to live with less, BRAVO! Not an easy thing to change your lifestyle around.
And, let’s face it, keeping up with the image of the joneses is an addiction not easily walked away from — which is where I think your current state of discontent arises. You’ve carefully crafted a reputation of being “It” with all the hot clothes and accessories. You’ve crafted an image of yourself as carefree, stylish and solvent, though you were digging yourself deeper into debt. You certainly were not alone in this. Let’s face it, living within our means has not been considered chic for some time.
But the readjusting can feel like you are being punished, rather than doing something positive for yourself. A couple of tips:
1. Don’t try to diet or restrict your habits in any other ways until this new lifestyle becomes second nature.
2. Do not restrict yourself to the point of feeling pained. At some point the pressure will become so much that you really may blow your progress thus far in one ultimate shopping extravaganza. Not good.
3. Do allow yourself to buy one item every month, as long as ALL monthly bills are paid (at least minimum amounts, preferably more for the sake of your interest and long term financial security).
4. Do not buy designer straight off the rack. You will pay full 3-4 digit prices for these items. Shop designer overflow stores like TJ Max (Yeah, I said it) or designer recycled clothing stores like Cross Roads Trading.
True, you may no longer be ahead of everyone else’s curve, but you’ll be looking like a hot fashionista to your friends while looking like a responsible adult to yourself, your bank teller and your creditors.
And one last thing, who you are and what people love about you may be your knowledge of fashion and your love of cutting edge culture, but if they are only in love with what “Fashionista Barbie/Ken” looks like and the benefits they believe that are somehow conferred upon them by hanging out with said Barbie/Ken, please kick them to the curb with your Manolos. Users have no place in your life and certainly not driving you further into debt to satisfy their vampiric needs.
Do it for you,
Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.
Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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