1. Don’t worry, buy happy

Women, so I hear, buy things when they are miserable, because pretty things make them feel better about themselves. If you are one of these women, I suppose reasonable advice would be to address what makes you unhappy rather than unleashing all your frustration and wrath on your poor credit card. When you feel better, you will probably buy less useless stuff.

Unfortunately, I am not one of these women. Therapy isn’t going to work for me. When I am miserable, I adorn myself with the oldest, dullest rags I can find, the main color scheme being grey. I may even go round town in a tracksuit, a sure sign that depression has gotten hold of me again and that I am about to give up on life. Hair and make up? You must be kidding. What do we have hoodies for?! I certainly don’t shop when I am in that frame of mind – dealing with people and mirrors being the main areas of concern.

No, I buy when I am happy. When I feel good about myself, I feel good in pretty much anything I try on (the truth hits home later, when the adrenaline of the spending rush has subsided and I realize that a pink boob tube wasn’t such a good idea after all). It’s a bit of a dilemma. Obviously I don’t want to stop being happy, or stop shopping, for that matter. I do get carried away is all I’m saying.

It can be hard to put your finger on what makes you go out and spend. I think for me it’s the desire to be colorful, to express myself, to be different. When I really splurge, repeatedly, chances are I am also on a diet, have taken up some new sport or am about to redecorate the house. Shopping is a creative outlet for me, but knowing that means that next time I feel like clearing out H&M, I may be able to substitute this with another creative act.

I also use shopping as a reward when I am going through a particularly challenging and stressful period at work. While there is nothing wrong with that, something that you spend a lot of money on, regret having bought very quickly and that makes you feel bad is not great compensation for having worked hard after all.

Next time you can’t resist the call and head for the shops, ask yourself what is going on in your life. Are you shopping because something else is bugging you? And if so, is the green miniskirt really the right response? Also try to remember what kind of mood and situation you were in when you bought something really great, something that you have owned and loved for years, and similarly, what was going on in your head when you bought the last bit of useless rubbish. We all do things for a reason – if you know yourself and your reasons, making changes will be easy. What you are trying to achieve is to spend your money on  things that you feel happy about, not guilty, and that bring a smile to your face every time you wear them.

There are some things that are never a good idea to buy, and if you find yourself queuing at the till about to make one of them yours, your alarm bells should go bonkers. Read on for my list of What not to buy.

… to be continued….

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