Here is my Pros & Cons list for shopping. It’s different than a normal pros and cons list. It’s got four parts instead of just two and it looks at whether the pros and cons are long term or short term.
The Four Sections are:
- Pros of Going Shopping
- Pros of NOT Going Shopping
- Cons of Going Shopping
- Cons of NOT Going Shopping
The agreement/idea my therapist and I came up with was that anytime I had the urge to go shopping I need to pick something else to do, something that still gets me out of the house and is enjoyable, but also potentially new and different. Half the reason that I go shopping in an actual store is because it gives me something to do. I have serious social anxiety and I hate doing things on my own, but when I have to do things alone because everyone is busy going shopping is comfortable, it’s familiar, and I walk away with all kinds of goodies!
Anyway, anytime I don’t go shopping and do something else instead I put whatever out of $100 I didn’t spend in a jar, in cash. (I talked about all of this in yesterday’s blog post, but in case someone jumps right into this one I want it to all make sense.) So far I’ve saved $950 in my little jar and it’s been about a month. I’d have saved a lot more if I put money in every time I thought about, but didn’t, online shop, but since I don’t always buy something when I go online shopping I put in for it about half the time.
On to my list!
Pros of Going Shopping
- I get stuff (long term)
- Feel good about making others happy (because I usually spend half of my money on other people) (short term)
- Gives me something to do (short term)
- Buyer’s high (short term)
- Pride in my ability to purchase things (having the money) (short term)
- It’s a familiar activity (comfortable, not anxiety inducing) (long term)
- Sometimes it’s necessary (short term)
Short term positive effects
Cons of Going Shopping
- Feeling guilty (long term)
- Lack of money (long term)
- Anxiety from leaving the house (short term)
- Panic at the register over the amount I’ve spent (short term)
- No long term monetary security (long term)
- Lack of ability to buy large things i.e. car, house, vacations (long term)
- Dealing with parents’ disapproval/judgement (long term)
- Gets in the way of long term goals (long term)
- Friends can sometimes think/feel I’m being showy (long term)
Long term negative feelings
Pros of NOT Going Shopping
- More money in my savings account (long term)
- Feel less guilty (long term)
- Less judgement (long term)
- More positive experiences/memories vs. things (long term)
- Pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone (long term)
- Can get a bigger value out of my money by spending it on higher value things i.e. car, house, vacations (long term)
- Less clutter in my living spaces (long term)
Long term positive feelings/outcomes
Cons of NOT Shopping
- Out of my comfort zone (short term)
- Unfamiliar (short term)
- Anxiety goes up (short term)
- Doesn’t feel as good (short term)
- Don’t always come away with physical things (long/short term)
Short term negative feelings/effects
Based on these pro/con lists it’s easy to see that the positive effects/feelings lie more in the not going shopping than in going shopping and spending the money. Although going shopping and buying things feels good at the time I find that once I’ve shared my purchases with someone, shown them off in a sense, I know longer feel good about it. I just start to feel guilty about spending all that money on things when I could have spent the money on experiences or long term goals.
In truth, with the amount of money that I could have saved in the last three years I could have easily purchased my own house by now. I wouldn’t have been able to purchase it outright, or have paid it off by now, but I would have had a sizable down-payment for a house and I would have a place of my own. Instead I live/work for my great-grandmother taking care of her. The only semi-positive thing I’ve spent my money on is a new car.
In July of this year, 2015, I bought myself a brand new 2015 Kia Soul. I’m in love with my car. I got an upgraded one. I paid extra for an upgraded sound system, larger sun-roof, and a bunch of other things that came with those packages. In the end my car cost over $30,000 which is a crazy huge expense for me, but I absolutely love it and won’t be buying another car until this one is totally dead and unusable. I’v been wanting a Kia Soul since 2010 when they started making/selling them. I tried to get one then but my credit wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t making enough money to afford the payments.
This car was a treat to myself. I feel as though I’ve earned it. You can see why here (link will be inserted to blog post about my car here as soon as it’s been posted.)
Other than that though I haven’t really purchased anything big in a long time. I mean, I bought and paid for my last car, but it was only $11,000 which is nothing compared to the $30+ thousand I’m paying for my new one. So when it comes to spending money on things I don’t always make the best decisions. I frequently buy things that are just things. Things of no real value. Random bits and pieces that “decorate” my room, or end up in storage, food that is eaten and then gone forever, and all of the things I end up buying for other people that while it makes me feel good for a short period of time, doesn’t really amount to anything.
I do have a rather large collection of DVD/Bluerays that I’m kind of proud of. I have easily over 400 DVDs and approximately 100 seasons of TV shows. While it isn’t overly impressive or anything it makes me feel a little bit of joy because a lot of times DVDs are the only entertainment I have. I mean, I love to read and actually do things, but with my job it’s hard for me to get sucked into a book and just read and read and read the way I would like to and with my job I really can’t just go anywhere so at least when I’m working DVDs are what I have. I don’t have cable in my bedroom and living in such a rural location my internet is very limited. Regular television and streaming are pretty much out of the question.
So my shopping habits suck, but this pros and cons list of reasons why I shouldn’t shop, but instead do something else, is actually helpful to me. Seeing, on paper, how shopping really doesn’t benefit me has helped me save almost $1,000 in just ONE MONTH. That is huge for me. Especially if you consider, the money I’m putting aside isn’t just money I’ve decided to put aside and not spend, it’s money that I would have normally spent but instead put in a jar to save and then use for something important later.