I'm a bit of a shopaholic. I'll do really well at not spending for a couple months, and then something happens and I spend everything I just saved. The problem is, it feels so good to get something that feels good on, looks good, gets compliments… There was a time I didn't spend anything. That wasn't very happy either. So I allow myself to enjoy the process of shopping and let myself buy new things. It's something that I totally enjoy. Instead of eating, I shop.
Let clear this up though. I don't spend more that I have. Well, anymore. That's how I got myself into debt. But it's been many months since I used my credit cards to shop. My relationships don't suffer because of my spending. My friends don't tell me I shop too much. I have never spent the rent money or not been able to pay a bill because of it. So it's not like the shopping is ruining my life. It just a compulsion I can't control very well. And keeps my bank account in a sad state.
So here's the thing. After I shop, I sometimes feel guilty because I don't really need to spend the money. Y'know, buyer's remorse. Sometimes I return the stuff, most of the time I don't. I look at my wish list of things I want to do and I look at the list of money I've spent and then I feel bad. I could have totally afforded the trip to New York already. Or paid off one of the cards. Or paid for school. I'm not getting into more debt, I'm just having trouble staying focused to pay off what I already have. So I've come up with a plan to help me stay focused on spending my money where I really want to.
For a while I've been wanting to get involved with a charity. And I want to travel. But traveling for charity would be awesome and life changing. But it's crazy expensive. At the rate I'm going, I would never be able to pay cash for a charity trip. (and it's not something I really want to charge either.) But, I think this plan will work. When I feel the urge to spend, I will take the amount of money I would spend on clothes and shoes out of my checking and put it into my special savings account. That is still spending the money, but I'm not buying more clothes and shoes. Since I usually spend $100 or so (yikes) the account should add up quickly.
The charity I picked? Thought you'd never ask.
TOMS. I bought a pair of shoes from Toms a few months ago. Crazy cozy. When you buy 1 pair, they donate a pair to children who don't have shoes. They travel to these places and put the shoes on the children themselves. It's called a Shoe Drop. Mostly in Argentina and Ethiopia. They went to New Orleans after Katrina and give shoes to the children there. These shoes help to prevent disease and sickness in developing countries. I want to go. I want to be apart of this. This is something I can do. We all know that I buy shoes! 🙂 I'll be saving money so that someday, I'll go on a shoe drop and put shoes on the feet of children.
If you want to be involved too, go to friendsoftoms.org. Sponsor someone going on a shoe drop. Donate money. Volunteer for a shoe drop. Or, just buy a pair of shoes. Friends of Toms is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and your donations are tax deductible. (Your shoe purchase is not.)
This holiday season, buy a pair of shoes for a child. It may save their life.