Confessions of a Christian Shopaholic is my 31-day fast from my crazy thrift store madness that has gotten out of control so I can put God back in control.
In November 2015, I gave up drinking my occasional glass of wine after realizing that my occasional glass of wine was getting more than just occasional. (Let’s say ‘occasional’ one more time, why don’t we).
Since then I’ve picked up this increasing habit of buying (mostly useful) items at Goodwill, Texas Thrift Store (my absolute favorite), Savers and garages sales. I also love Ross and the clearance section at my H-E-B Plus!
But the place in my heart where God is supposed to be, where alcohol was trying to be…now shopping is.
And that, my friends, has GOT. TO. STOP. (Is writing. in. periods. even. a. thing. anymore.?)
I’m not really a fashionista, or a super decorative house-y person…but Iove love love a good bargain because it makes me feel like I’m doing a good thing for my family’s budget.
But that’s only true if my family actually needs it.
What kick started this fast was the purchase of a couch. Sure. It was in mint condition. Sure. It was only $40. Sure. The piece I was replacing was highly nonfunctional and had been literally sewn together in places.
But we didn’t have the money and I had to have a garage sale to cover my butt.
And that’s when I knew I had a serious problem.
So, here’s my story. Starting with Day 1.
Day 1: Failure Already
So, today was already a failure. I promised God that I wouldn’t shop at:
- Texas Thrift Store
- Ross (or any store like it)
- Garage Sales
- Dollar Tree
But it was my son’s birthday. I had relied on my husband to buy him a present (he wanted to buy him an RC car), but we had some financial hiccups and he put it off. So I was “forced” to go to Ross to buy a last minute birthday present.
I promise. I asked my husband if he wanted to go instead. He said no.
I can’t say I wasn’t a little relieved that I got to shop.
Sick, I know.
I bought the items needed (he did get an RC car) and fought every single ounce in my body that wanted to go look at all the other goodies that the store beheld.
I succeeded at least at that…probably only because I had to get home and prepare the party and I had only had four hours sleep after having a garage sale.
Oh, shopping addiction…how you steal, kill and destroy. I know who you are.
Guess what? Last week, I promised that I’d take my daughter and her friend to the mall while I sat at a mall coffeeshop to work…tomorrow.
I guess I’m dealing with this shopping thing head on…or failing miserably.
Lord, help my heart and my husband’s pocketbook!!!
Day 2: Seriously, Another Shopping Trip???
Okay, so I thought taking my daughter and her friend to the mall would be simple.
I would just drive them there, set up shop in the food court and they would go on their merry teenager way…
As soon as I get into the mall, my husband calls and send me on a witch hunt for some tool in Sears that pops the door panel off of our minivan.
Do you know how many clearance racks are in Sears? Do you?
Well if you don’t know, I’ll tell you (and next time, take a look for yourself.)
Like a zillion. Maybe a hundred bjillion.
And there were bins. For foraging and digging for the best bargains. Pennies on the dollar, I need it and have been looking for it for months bargains. Bargains that would make my husband proud. Maybe even a discounted “door popper offer” thingy.
Alas, I avoided them. I tried (somewhat successfully) averting my eyes at the price drop signage.
I didn’t help that I had to cross the floor twice from the auto department to the tool department.
Dear Lord Jesus, today I surely had to pick up my little 1st World Problem Cross and bear it for you today.
Thank you for any success I had. It was all you.
Day 3: Something is Always Ready to Take Shopping’s Place
I was so busy today that I didn’t have time to think about shopping.
The only time I thought about it was when my sister complemented my $3 thrift store find dress.
I have been thinking about reupholstering my mother’s old rocking chair so it matches that new couch I bought (you know, the one that started this entire fast thing).
I know that the fabric for that is probably like $30 a yard, so I’m thinking if I hit up a thrift store and find a used curtain or thick bedspread I can use that.
Obviously, this will have to be a project I put on hold.
I did kinda recognize the “familiar spirit” creep up when I went with my uncle to pick up fried chicken tonight. I wanted to go buy a Starbucks. Why? I dunno. Just to buy something?
Ya’ll, I promise that addiction this is real. It’s like I needed the high of purchasing something.
My husband and I recently watched The Science of Addiction and the Brain and it’s no joke. Most of the series is about sexual/chemical addiction, but it sheds light on all addiction.
We’ve all heard about people who have “addictive personalities,” right? This DVD explain how real that theory is.
And honestly guys, it’s only by the grace of God through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can overcome addiction.
And I’m unsure that even if I harness my flesh in this area of shopping that if won’t pop up in another area. Like overeating. Overexercising. Over-whatevering. Instead of placing all my trust and extra energy in Jesus Christ.
Day 4: When You Fast from Shopping, Then Every Store You LOVE has a Giant Sale!!!
I’ve been handed yet another flyer for yet another sale from another one of my favorite stores: Dollar Tree. During my month long fast in October, this will be giving 10% off everything in your cart. I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal. And really, it isn’t. Because…let’s face it, it’s the Dollar Tree. What? I’m saving like 20 cents?
But it’s the principle of the entire matter.
The other day I picked up a flyer for Texas Thrift Store where everything for ONE DAY ONLY will be 50% off their already ridiculously low prices.
I mean, really.
Of all the stores, in all the worlds, of all the months, in all the year…they had to choose THIS month.
Why not Black Friday?
But what’s funny, is that on Day 4 I find myself yet again having to make a quick run to the store (Dollar Tree for a kid’s prize money, nail polish remover and a new dust pan to replace our broken one). It’s getting a little insane.
I feel like I’m a horny man trying to stay celibate in a room full of naked girls.
I had to keep my eyes glued to the ceiling or to the floor to avoid lusting after anything other than what was absolutely necessary.
But this is life. Real life. Addiction must be overcome not in a bubble, but here…on the battlefield.
Day 5: Types, Signs & Symptoms of a Shopaholic
So, I’ve been researching the types of shopaholics, the reasons someone might turn to shopping and the symptoms of a shopaholic. This is what I’ve found:
Types of Shopaholics
- Compulsive shopaholics who shop when they are feeling emotional distress
- Trophy shopaholics who are always shopping for the perfect item
- Shopaholics who want the image of being a big spender and love flashy items
- Bargain seekers who purchase items they don’t need because they are on sale
- Bulimic shoppers who get caught in a vicious cycle of buying and returning
- Collectors who don’t feel complete unless they have one item in each color or every piece of a set (Sources: ShopaholicsAnonymous.com)
Reasons People Become a Shopaholic
- Emotional deprivation in childhood
- Inability to tolerate negative feelings, pain, loneliness, boredom, depression, fear, anger
- Need to fill an inner void – empty and longing inside
- Excitement seeking
- Approval seeking
- Genuinely impulsive and compulsive
- Need to gain control (Source: HealthyPlace.com)
Symptoms of a Shopaholic
- Spending more than they can afford
- Shopping as a reaction to feeling angry or depressed
- Shopping as a way to feel less guilty about a previous shopping spree
- Harming relationships due to spending or shopping too much
- Losing control of the shopping behavior (Source: PsychGuides.com)
Day 6: My Weekly Shopping Trip & The Heart of a Fasting from Shopping
I went on my weekly grocery shopping trip at Costco.
Before my trip I had to actively avoid my weekly Goodwill stop that I usually do after dropping off my older homeschooling girls to their weekly homeschooling meeting.
I waved as I drove by. I <3 Goodwill. I’ll see you next month. *Kiss. Kiss.*
But as I was at Costco I was curious if my shopping fast meant that I couldn’t browse down the center clothing/book aisle or down the small appliance aisle as I usually do.
It also brings to mind other things like shopping on Craigslist for items that my family needs (like a new stepstool) for my shorty children and their hand-washing needs.
BUT the biggest issue that I’ve bee thinking about is that I’ve been fasting, but I haven’t really been praying and spending extra time with God.
Even non-believers can fast. If I don’t spend my time in prayer, I may very well come out of my fast unchanged.
So, I need to really focus on not only the fasting part, but also the replacement part.
Day 7: Rest
Nothing to Post – Day of Rest 🙂
Day 8: How to Avoid Impulse Shopping by Online Shopping
Duct tape and milk. This is what we needed that elicited yet ANOTHER shopping trip.
It’s getting ridiculous the amount of shopping trips that I’ve had to make in 8 days. I think it’s been 6 of 8 days.
But through this I wanted to share my experience with Walmart Online Grocery shopping. (Referral Link)
I’ve done the math, unlike InstaCart.com, Walmart Grocery offers the SAME price online as they do offline. There is NO fee. And you can use your credit/debit cards (no EBA/WIC cards). There isn’t much in the way of “impulse” buying. They do “recommend” some grocery items at the end of your “shopping trip” but it’s quite mundane. I’m sure they’ll figure out ways to maximize impulse shopping, but they haven’t seemed to have mastered it yet.
It doesn’t necessarily save time at the outset until you’ve saved up enough shopping trips to have “favorites” saved for quick additions for future shopping trips.
This is what my “Favorites” looks like on Walmart Grocery:
Visit Walmart Grocery at: http://r.wmt.co/epmc- GET $10 OFF BY ENTERING CODE: RO7OZVJK – (Referral Link)
As you can see I still have to comb through 213 items (and then still might have to add items that I haven’t gotten before).
They do offer substitutions when they have run out of an item, you can uncheck that option if you’d prefer not to do that. They will adjust your amount if this happens and send your final receipt to your email.
The only weird thing I’ve run into is you can’t just buy “one” piece of ginger. Instead you have to buy a pound. While I understand that factoring the weight/dollar amount for 1 piece of ginger would be difficult. I ended up with twenty pieces of ginger. Granted, it was only like $1.27…but still. Unless you cook Asian food on a regular basis, ginger isn’t a regular staple…esp in Texas.
But other than that I absolutely love Walmart Grocery for planned grocery shopping trips. (For unplanned ones it doesn’t work, because they have time slots).
I hope this helps if you are specifically struggling with shopping and impulse purchasing at the grocery store.
Day 9: My Boba Tea Addiction
My hankering for Bubble Tea was smashed because it was SUNDAY and my favorite tea shop was CLOSED!!! (Gagnam Zip)
Ugh. The horror.
Is my my shopaholic-ness, really consumerholic-ness?
Does our culture always need something extra? Are we never satisfied with just what we have?
I seriously love Bubble Tea and I actually had to find a new Bubble Tea place (Mr. Boba).
Maybe consumerism replaces our boredom.
Today (at church), my pastor preached on sharing the gospel. Why can’t I replace my “boredom” with the Great Commission?
There is a lady across the street from me that desperately needs to hear the gospel.
But noooo…I went out to get Boba Tea.
PS. I did go out the next day and get my Espresso Bubble Milk Tea with my husband. He immediately choked on the tapioca ball, but is now addicted to their mango smoothies (sans black pearls).
Day 10: I am Mom; Therefore, I Shop
A girlfriend and I spoke today over the phone and she’s been watching my #ConfessionsofaChristianShopaholic videos.
I told her that AGAIN today I went to the store to get my kid’s prescriptions. She suggested that perhaps being a stay-at-home mom that many times we use shopping as an excuse to get out of the house to “get away” from the mundane tasks of “just being a mom.”
I had to avoid the clearance section of Walgreens.
WHY DOES EVERY STORE HAVE A CLEARANCE SECTION!?? You’re killing me, Smalls.
But she’s right.
I did go to Walgreens after a long day of orthodontist appointments and visits with a fellow church member that needed us to do something. I wanted my Calgon moment…
and if going to get prescriptions was how I was going to get it, well, then prescriptions it is!
I guess, it’s true…I am a Mom; therefore, I shop.
Day 11: Even Godly Things Can Be A Stumbling Block
When I first started head covering I only had a few scarves.
If you saw my scarf collection now, your jaw might drop.
It’s kind of excessive.
It started out innocent enough. A need to cover my head for prayer and prophecy.
I bought a scarf here, a scarf there.
Then, my kids started trying to make sure mom would steer clear of the scarf aisle.
Soon enough I realized that I only liked a certain style of scarf and started searching for only those types.
It was kind of like a game.
But a game that really had no end.
No matter what it is…ANYTHING can turn into an idol…even something you are doing to honor God.
(Honestly, I think the Devil takes special pleasure in trying to pervert things that were meant to be holy, like head covering).
We, as Christians, have to be always vigilant in keep what is most important (God) first and everything else secondary.
Day 12: Relapse at the HEB Clearance Section
So, this day was just a sad confession day.
I had two relapses.
- At Walgreens.
- At H-E-B
I didn’t buy anything, but I sure did look. I didn’t even try to be pretend to hide my failure.
I need to wear a cone of shame or something.
But what if there was something that could have saved my family money?
Then it might have been worth it…yeah right.
Time to get back on the wagon.
Day 13: Be Satisfied
Day 14: Another Day of Rest: Selah
Sunday is a day of rest. No video or post!
Day 15: Am I Lot’s Wife with Looking Back at the Garage Sale
Day 16: A Funny Outtake
Totally being stupid and pretending to be a news anchor for #ConfessionsofaChristianShopaholic.
Only for your viewing pleasure.
Day 17: Eyes Down, Soldier
Day 18: Does Dumpster Diving Count?
Day 19: Unsolicited Purchases
Day 20 Another Fun Outake
Embarassing my tween is fun!!!
Head covering Christian woman who loves good wine, coffee, stinky cheese and missionary books. My favorite dessert is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. I am a Christian author, blogger, and speaker. I fell in love with my husband because he had rain drops on his glasses (true story). In my spare time I homeschool my six children (5 girls, 2 boys).