After spending my Saturday entertaining friends from out of town—which included long, luxurious meals, drinks and shopping in SoHo—I came home to my computer. Every week, at one point or another, I log on to check my bank balance. The accompanying anxiety is akin to a detention-plagued high school student receiving his or her report card, or a child who has been liberal with Mom and Dad’s emergency credit card—I’ve experienced both.
The page loads. I wait with bated breath, my new purchases leering at me in my peripheral vision. Over and over, I think, “I’m okay, I just got paid, this should be fine.” But it’s not fine. My rent check has been mailed—and although the numbers say one thing, reality says another. I’m not broke…but I’m broke. I sit pondering the next few weeks of finances, carefully plotting my expenses. It’s going to be tight. Too tight for comfort.
I glance over at a bag from Saint Laurent, a coat hanging on my door from Acne, a leather jacket from Phillip Lim and more of my recent designer acquisitions. They’re all staring back at me, laughing. A bursting closet of awesome clothes, in exchange for a crippling anxiety. That’s no way to live. In a last desperate attempt at sanity, I tell myself that I will not spend selfishly until 2014. No more impulse purchases, no more justifications and no more coping through retail benders. It’s November 10—51 days and my own birthday to go.
My usual expenses will remain. I will not give up the gym or my trainer. I will not give up meals and other non-material expenditures, because I am a human. But the moment that retail itch hits, I will flee, unless it’s to buy for somebody else. After all, it is the holidays. Wish me luck—as a lifelong retail beast, this will not be easy.