Financial Fast helps reveal unhealthy obsession

I have 64 handbags, purses and pocketbooks.

handbagsI hated writing that out loud because first, it’s stupid and second, it’s just stupid.

But there’s more. I have 52 pairs of shoes and 11 pairs of boots.

That is not bragging. That is an admission of guilt. This is a revelation of an obsession. If there was any evidence needed of my indiscriminate and unnecessary spending, those numbers are it.

For about five minutes, I sat down, just sat down and said out loud: I’m a hoarder. Why do I have these things? Who needs 64 purses (and six laptop cases?) I hadn’t even seen some of the purses since I bought them; 17 were still brand new or used once. Who am I?

I wouldn’t have been in my closet – and come out of my compulsive-spending closet – had it not been for the 21-Day Financial Fast that I stumbled onto on Michelle Singletary’s Twitter feed. She’s The Washington Post columnist who created a spirit-based plan to teach us about money and spending and debt.

I know that I’m blessed. I know that I have loved shopping for longer than is necessary to say. I just never thought about how far my shopping had gone. Having the ability to buy is a blessing; wasting that ability is a curse.

What I have learned over 13 days is that I don’t have to spend all the money I make. It’s OK to save it.  For big things. For rainy days. For storms. For no reason other than it’s smart.

I can’t believe what my past patterns were. I can’t believe I’m talking about them out loud.

But I will say this: If I have learned only one lesson from this fast (and there have been more than one), it is that I will never spend money the same way again.

I have gone to the supermarket and purchased just what I needed without picking up 22 other things.

I have made meals in my own kitchen for 13 days. That is a record, yes a record.

I went to a restaurant for the first time in nearly two weeks yesterday – but only because a friend treated. I had an amazing taco salad. I know because I have the fixings at home. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Continue Reading