How I Stopped Shopping

I used to have a problem with purses.

I still absolutely love them and imagine that I always will, but at my worst, I was acquiring a new purse every month, feeling overwhelmed and guilty, and when I wasn’t spending every minute checking the delivery status of my online order, I was researching my next purchase. Suffice it to say, it was a giant waste of time, energy and money and I’m going to share with you what helped me break that cycle. Maybe this information will help you and although this information is specific to purses, I’m hoping that it can apply to other types of over-consumption of material goods.

1. Identify the why behind the action

This was the most challenging but most crucial step to overcoming my shopping addiction and it is vital that you take the time necessary to uncover and understand your own why. I knew that every addiction had a psychological compulsion to it and if I wanted any chance of changing my behavior, I had to figure out why I felt compelled to continually be in the cycle of obsessing and acquiring purses.

For about a week I didn’t focus on changing my behavior, but instead simply checked in with my emotions before I was engaging in the behavior I wanted to remove and wrote it down in a journal with the date and time.

I found that for the overwhelming majority of the time my primary emotion prior to engaging in the cycle was boredom. And evidently I was bored a lot of the time and purse shopping was my automatic reaction to snapping me out of that uncomfortable state.

2. Make it hard

After I understood that this was an easy distraction that I was getting sucked into, I made it not so easy by blocking all of the sites that I was stalking on my phone and laptop, unsubscribing from marketing emails, unsubscribing and unfollowing people on social media who promoted the type of lifestyle I was trying to eschew, and removing apps such as eBay from my phone. This forced me to get up and find something else to do when boredom hit.

3. Yield temptation

Everyone has certain things they like and that’s what makes us different and interesting. I love purses and I’ve come to accept that. I wasn’t attempting to completely remove them from my life and come out of this a one bag lady. I simply needed to find a more satisfying and sane way to engage with them.

There’s a quote by Oscar Wilde from “The Picture of Dorian Grey” that applies directly to this step, “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself.”

If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll know that I am all about allowing oneself the pleasure of what delights you and curating a life of elegance and style. Resisting and denying are very uncomfortable and exhausting states of mind that can only lead to  buckling under the burden and ultimately engaging with what you’ve attempted to resist in a way that is unpleasant and vulgar.

This is why I’ve allowed myself any bag purchase (in cash!) once a year. For me it was important that I give myself full reign to consider any bag I wanted because once I started putting limitations, I could start to feel the temptation beginning to pull me into make a decision that I may later regret. I can’t tell you how many times I would fall in lust with a bag because it was “exclusive” according to someone, purchase it and then turn around and sell it in the space of a couple of months. Giving myself the time to consider my purchase and make the right decision for me and not what is trendy was going to allow me to enjoy my purchase with only joy and excitement.

It’s so freeing to be able to see a beautiful bag and not feel that twinge of temptation gnawing at me. I can feel that admiration and love and then simply let it go either because I know I can eventually have it if I really want it (once a year!) or because I know that just because it’s beautiful doesn’t mean it’s for me. Now, when I purchase a handbag the experience is completely rewarding and fulfilling in a way that hundreds of my previous purses never could be. I hope that if you are struggling with a similar issue that some of these tips will help you see yourself out of that.



End of the Year Minimalism Challenge

I am a huge proponent of Minimalism.

Its a lifestyle that I have been incorporating into my life for about a year now. It has helped me to find clarity, savor quality, experience more meaningfully and of course save money. I love the feeling of having a clean and clutter-free home, mind, and sense of style. Despite my daily practice of Minimalism, I would not call myself a “Minimalist” — I definitely have things! But, I’m happy with the balance I’ve struck between keeping what I need and letting myself have what I want.

Lately, however, I have found stuff starting to build up in different places like my kitchen pantry, my closet, my bathroom cabinets and my car and therefore my life and my mind. To get me back to where I want to be I will be clearing out, giving away, throwing away, donating, and selling my excess things.

My goal is to complete my whole house by the end of the year. I don’t want a single thing left that I don’t need, value or love in my home. This way I will end this year and start 2017 on an invigorated and accomplished note and with some cash that I can use to start a project that I have in mind.

I’m so excited — and only a little scared — to see what these next few months will bring! My mind is already spinning with all of the stuff that I’ll have to post on eBay or otherwise give away and I’ll be posting as I plod along this process.



My Top 5 Tips to Save Money

Today I’m delving into a subject that is very different from the normal posts I write about, but its a topic that is very familiar to me because I actually work in private banking as my day job. My dream is to write full-time one day, but in the meantime I’m satisfied with the impact I make on my clients lives as well as the amount of financial experience I gain while working in the banking industry.

So today I wanted to share my top 5 tips for saving money that are the simplest and easiest to for you to incorporate into your life right now.

  1. Pay all of your bills as soon as you receive them

No one needs the drama and stress of getting late payment fees and a ding on their credit report. The simplest way to avoid this is to pay your bills as soon as you receive the bill in the mail. This way, the funds are out of your account immediately so that you can’t spend it, or if you prefer paying all of your bill with a credit card to rack up rewards (like me) you will see the charge immediately on your card so you can adjust your budget for the rest of the month.

2. Set up automatic payments for your bills

This is a way to make tip number one completely fool proof. Most billers will allow you to pay your bills automatically and this gives you one less thing to remember so that you can put your focus and energy for more important things — like writing!

3. Set up automatic transfers to a savings account

You notice a pattern yet? Yes, when possible automate your banking. You can set up automatic transfers to your savings account and decide how much and when these transfers should happen. You can also have your paycheck be split between your checking and savings account as well instead of once it reaches your account, if that is what you prefer. Personally, I have a portion of my paycheck deposited into a savings account at a small, local bank and not the one that I have my main accounts at. I only have a saving account there and no ATM card or online banking so that I am not tempted to use any of it because it would be too much of an inconvenience. There are very few branches for me to visit, so the only way I can find out how much is there is the old fashioned way — calling on the phone. I don’t call often since I can’t be bothered, but when I do I am pleasantly surprised!

4. Avoid credit cards — if they are not right for you!

I use a travel rewards credit card for everything — bills, groceries, gas, purchases — and I’ve racked up a ton of points on it so that I can travel for free when I want. However, I also pay it off completely every single month and have never paid a cent of interest on it. If you have a the discipline to stick to a budget, then using your credit card for purchases is an awesome way to get some real benefits as well as boost your credit score. But, if you’ve found it difficult to pay off the balance each month or are currently in credit card debt — avoid them. Credit cards have the highest interest rate of any credit product so they are notoriously difficult to dig yourself out of should you fall in.

5. Create a realistic budget and check on it often

No matter how much you make, you have a budget. Budgets are for everyone. I don’t care if you work a minimum wage job or are an ER surgeon, if you don’t know how to manage your money, you will eventually find yourself living paycheck to paycheck or living in debt — trust me, I’ve seen it. Anyone who has an interest in living in financial stability and prosperity will follow a budget. It’s all about creating cash flow and savings and this requires your frequent attention. This means you need to check your account often and know if any adjustments need to be made. Try to limit how much your lifestyle expands as you inevitably earn more and save more throughout your life. If your paycheck is $4000 a month and currently save $500 a month and you get a raise and now earn $5000 a month, set up an automatic transfer to save that extra $1500 a month. The numbers are inflated, but you can see how you can use your raise to save faster and do more intelligent things with your money than giving it Nordstrom’s or Best Buy.

These 5 tips are easy and simple, which is what saving needs to be in order for it to get done. We all have enough to deal with in our lives and your personal finances should be as simple as possible to leave space for deepening and discovering your real passions. Money is not the answer to everything, but life is better with it than without it.




Book Review: Why “A” Students Work for “C” Students

Why “A” Students Work for “C” StudentsYou’ve probably heard of Robert Kiyosaki, if you haven’t you’ve probably heard of him you’ve most likely heard of his best-selling book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” . He has written numerous books on this subject or similar ones and this book that I’m reviewing today is presented as different lessons that parents can teach their young children to impart on them financial knowledge that isn’t taught in schools.

Kiyosaki starts the book off with the problem of money management not being taught in school and students being taught instead to “go to school to get a job” and that “if you don’t go to school, you won’t get a job”. It is because of this issue with our current educational system that Kiyosaki offers this book as a way for parents to raise their children with financial know-how. The rest of the book goes on to distinguish between the 4 types of ways people earn income, by either being an employee, a small business owner, entrepreneurs of large businesses, or a professional investor and the different advantages and disadvantages each type brings with it. Since Kiyosaki believes that being an entrepreneur or an investor is the best option, he goes on to explain different lessons that a parent can teach their child to start seeing the world through the eyes of a true capitalist, a true entrepreneur, instead of an employee as much of their schooling would train them. Kiyosaki touches on many different hot topics in the book, but one that resonated with me was what he had to say about one topic that I believe is crucial to our nation right now, “The Entitlement Mentality”. He and I both share the concern that the entitlement mentality is spreading in our nation and we both understand how for someone who has run in hardship and has no financial education, this can be a way of life, but I think Margaret Thatcher put it succinctly when she said, “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money”.

I know that Kiyosaki has been the subject of controversy before due to his anecdotal style of writing on subjects that require very specialized knowledge to successfully apply in one’s life, but I don’t believe he means for his books to be read as a manual. There are literally hundreds of thousands of books that layout the step-by-step method for achieving your financial goals in whatever method you choose, but I see his writing as a call toward a greater paradigm shift in our nation’s thinking about money, not as some sort of how-to book on accumulating wealth. Honestly, if his books were that technical, I don’t believe they would be nearly as successful as they are now. If someone who reads his books becomes inspired to take action in their financial life, then there are plenty of authors that offer that sort of knowledge, but to accuse Kiyosaki of peddling substance less stories is unfair.

Clearly, my bias is showing, so obviously, I recommend you read this book and his other books. I know that the concepts he discusses in his books have changed my life and I plan to use this book to have my children be brought up to be financially saavy. It is rare to find a financial book geared towards children, which makes it that much more important to read this one!