Since I’ve been freelancing full-time, I’ve justified buying stuff for my business. I’ve heard of people who refused to reinvest in their business even when it could save them time or money.
Unfortunately, I’ve gone too far. I instantly buy a book if I think it could help me, even if I’ve already got five unread sitting on my nightstand. I have a few courses that I haven’t finished. And I almost signed up for a new coach the other day, even though I already have one.
I’m not sure if this is a diagnosable disorder, but I have a name for it: the “one more thing” syndrome.
“If I buy this one more thing, I’ll be successful.” “This one more thing will be the difference maker in my business.”
I realized that I have this attitude every time I shop. “I just need one more necklace and my wardrobe will be complete.” “I only need one more lipstick and then I won’t need any more make-up.”
Where Does This Come From?
I’ve always had an inferiority complex when it comes to other people. My therapist says I like to compare myself to others, which can make me a judgmental bitch (she didn’t say it so boldly).
For example, I wear a lot of leggings in my everyday life. I don’t mind wearing leggings and a sweatshirt every day, but when I go outside and see other girls wearing cute outfits, I feel a pang. Ugh, I’m not enough. Never mind that I was feeling fine about my outfit a few minutes earlier.
I’m uncomfortable with the idea that I’m enough. I have enough tools to run my business and look good doing it. I have enough clothes, make-up and business books and courses. But every time I see something new and shiny I think, ” What if that’s the one thing I’m missing that will make me complete?” Spoiler: it never does.
Why Does This Matter?
For years I’ve been saying that personal finance is about how your behavior shapes your finances. Until we understand our behavior, we can’t fix our finances. In my effort to cut back on my spending impulse, I’ve been trying to decipher what makes me want to spend money. Sometimes it feels like an itch. I’ve never done crack or heroin, but I imagine it’s similar. Crack addicts, feel free to correct me in the comments.
To cure my addiction, I’ve put a moratorium on spending. I’m not done buying things completely, but I’m trying to figure out when I’m buying “one more thing.” For example, I’ve decided I won’t buy any more business-related books until I read the ones I already one. I won’t buy any new courses until I’ve gone through all the modules of my current ones. And I won’t buy more makeup until mine runs out.
We all have different money triggers. Some people want to own the sleekest car, others want a vintage bike. I’m not condemning all shopping. But I know in my gut when I’m buying something because I really like it and when it’s because I’m shopping for one more thing.
What’s your one more thing? Do you have something you buy thinking it’ll make you smarter, prettier, better? Leave a note in the comments!
Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life says
Pens. I always want more pens even though I have two dozen perfectly good pens to use, and I type almost everything, and half a box of brand new pens ready to go. Also stationary, stamps, rubber stamps and all things mailing.
I’ve basically had to take up letter writing as a hobby to force myself to use what I have before I’m allowed any more.
I also have a seriously unhealthy addiction to pastries from a nearby bakery. I realized I had a problem when, in the middle of the workday, I gamed out a possible way to run to the bakery, and eat all the evidence on my way home.
Wait. Were we talking about addiction?
Oh right, no, shiny baubles syndrome. My brain gets restless and if I can’t bribe it with nice juicy payoffs like early payments to principle on our mortgage or generating dividends, then it bizarrely turns to the need to buy something to give me that faux satisfaction of getting something. I was fighting that down today, in fact. Ms. ONL awesomely paid off their mortgage and my brain is clearly Pavlov’s dog because it immediately starting calculating assets and how much do I REALLY want to have cash savings over a paid off mortgage. And since we’re in the Bay Area and our mostly paid down mortgage is still twice that of a normal Midwesterner’s entire mortgage, well, time to sit down and shut it 😉
Shopping addiction is real and I definitely have to restrain myself from buying stuff I don’t need. The less time I’m around temptation (i.e. stores) the less I feel the urge!