Sick of Spending/Consumerism/Shiny Pretty Things

  1. Disclaimer: These are only my thoughts about what's happened to me, not a judgment on anyone else. I genuinely hope I do not offend anyone else and I certainly do not think everyone should or does agree with me.

    Do you ever look around and think, "What is all this junk?" I have seriously run head-first into this realization lately...

    Honestly, I look in my closet every morning and see so many expensive clothes/bags that I thought would be "so worth it" and that I would "wear forever" and that I thought were "investment pieces," but that never turns out to be the case (for me). And now whenever I see all these clothes/bags/furniture/whatever that I thought were just so great, I just feel DUMB. I feel incredibly stupid that I bought into this consumer dream that I could somehow buy the person I want to be.

    Sometimes I just feel like a fool taken by the marketing machine that has made it a norm for young women like me, no matter what their salary, to wear $200 designer jeans and buy $4 lattes? ALL my friends are like this and I just wonder when we decided that this was a standard of life, that we are entitled to and cannot live without Rock & Republic denim and Starbucks.

    I'm NOT saying that there's anything wrong with all this if you can afford it. But "afford" means different things to different people... for some, an item is "affordable" if they can actually pay cash for it even if it means they'll be broke until their next paycheck, for others "affordable" means something they can pay off in a few credit card billing cycles, and for yet others, "affordable" are the fiscally-sensible items, which does not include luxuries like Chanel bags. I am really not sure what "afford" means for me anymore since half the time, I'm spending my boyfriend's money, or parents' gift-money, and I barely can tell what my salary will cover now that I'm dipped into other people's money pool. Can I "afford" all these things if I can't buy a condo in a couple years? I really have no idea what "affordable" means anymore, because somehow, a $1,000 purse seems like a bargain to me.

    Anyway, I didn't mean for this post to be about money because it's not really... hence why I posted it in General Discussion. It's about realizing that I haven't really ended up with anything I actually want. I'm going to try to learn my lesson rather than continually buying and dumping which is a terrible cycle. Sorry, I really hope I don't sound hypocritical or even more dumb than I already feel.

    Thanks for hearing me out. Anyone else feel this way?
  2. I totally agree with you! I just posted in the other thread because I was doing a mental play of what's happened this past year & I'm trying to figure out how I became such a brand whore & how, up to this point, I've not been able to save money! My 08 resolution will be to save money & to try to consistently give my mom her monthly allowance (even though she earns so much more than me!)

    How I look at it is, don't buy something expensive that you know you're going to dump.. easier said than done but I guess some of you might be able to sense a pattern going on. Like if you're about buy something while thinking, "oh, if I'm going to tire of this bag/top/pants/jeans/whatever, its ok, I can just sell it off", then just don't buy it.. save the money & do something better with it. (I'm still trying to practice this myself)

    But hey, we only live once. When we die it's not like we can take our money with us.. so, in contradiction to what I said earlier, perhaps we should all just spend our money, once we've settled the house/financial commitments, on frivolous things that make us happy! :graucho:
  3. Oh wow you are not alone.
    Just last week I was thinking about slowly starting to sell all the crap sitting in my closet. How many black pairs of shoes do I need? Why do I have all this stuff? It's just's making me miserable.
    I used to be happy wearing some jeans from the I won't put my ass into anything but SFAM R&R COH.
    And when in the world did $1000 become affordable? Shoot, when did Coach become affordable for me?
    I think ym transition has been due to my husband making more money over the past couple of years....but what happens if that doesn't continue? Can I go back down to Gap jeans?

    I thought about really trying to be sensible this upcoming year....make a list of clothing that I think I will need for the upcoming year and stick to it. Limit the number of bags, etc.

    I think the problem is....I get bored and shopping fills that void. It's bad.
  4. Amen to that - I could not write it better. I'm taking my hat off to you and your post!
    I think that we are starting to see how we are manipulated in ''needing'' all those things...
    You just had a little wake-up call !!! Keep up the good work!
  5. I don't think this sounds dumb at all, IntlSet. But I also don't think that learning a lesson about anything automatically means that you've been stupid about something previously. I feel the same way you do about my wardrobe. After almost 2 years on this forum, after countless handbag purchases and resales, I've found one bag that really works for me. All that time and money for naught. And my wardrobe - I don't buy really expensive clothing typically, but the pieces I really thought would last haven't and the money I've sunk into them is gone as well. It's a learning process, and not a very pleasant one all the time.

    The conclusions I've come to are that I have to make a more concerted effort to use what I have (I'm revamping my wardrobe right now to ensure that happens, I have the bad habit of buying pieces of clothing that never see the light of day because they don't match anything) and to expand my shoe/handbag wardrobe enough that I can rotate items and reduce wear (I'll find one pair of shoes and one bag and wear them both to death, so whatever investment I make is gone. Rotating will alleviate that).

    I also think that these sorts of problems seem more extreme at this point in our lives because we don't have a counterpoint to them, like a family or an established career. We can't really say: "Hey, I may be spending unnecessary energy in this area of my life, but I'm doing great things over here. I'll work towards more balance." We figure out that we're spending a lot of time on fashion and don't have a counterbalance. I think doing more meaningful work can help with that feeling, like charity work, but I think that sometimes in your (by "your", I mean everyone's) life you have to accept that you're a bit rudderless at the moment but will move on to deeper things soon. Right now you have the opportunity for a lot of breadth (lots of dabbling in many different things) if not always depth. There are benefits to this too!

    Hope this helps, girl! Happy holidays, Annie!
  6. I agree with you, Annie, at least in part. I've noticed my spending shift - from clothing and bags, to things that I actually USE on an everyday basis. I knew I was getting more mature when, a few months ago, I made the decision to spend $2k on a MacBook Pro laptop, something I use for several hours, every day, without fail, instead of buying the $2k Chanel modern chain bag I had lusted after. My last bag purchase was a Kooba Meredith in grey, on sale for $400, and I've used it every day for months. I intend to use it for the rest of the winter, and probably most of spring. At some point, it occurred to me that I can't really afford to buy a new $1500+ bag every other month. My spending patterns have shifted since then, to things that are slightly more utilitarian than pretty. I think that's probably just part of growing up. Maybe when I have a career, the pretty things will be more reasonable.
  7. wow. great post. i have some comments but need to get my thoughts together on this one.
  8. I am not so much sick of spending as I am sick of coveting what I do not have. I am a stay-home mom lacking financial independence since leaving my job.

    My stage of "affording" is that we live in a nice home, the kids are fed and clothed. I buy used books online and scour online for best deals. We cannot afford to take vacation, or even an outing that goes more than one day. Even going to a family restaurant is sort of pushing it. I've been coveting a designer bag. I seriously wonder if I have issues of self-esteem stemming from my childhood, having lived in poverty as a child and having a emotionally dysfunctional parent which is causing me to run this strange script over and over in my head for years, that I deserve it. I've always shopped for relaxation when I was younger, it helped me psychologically I suppose. These days I've been taking care of a child with autism and maybe I am feeling the relentlessness of everything and want to feel pampered, say once every 10 years.... :smile:

    While I do not play the competition game with others (that is a whole other topic -- people who are not happy until they outdo the "Joneses" and I literally do not feel well in their company), I've always known what I liked and think to myself, "that is perfect or a complement to my lifestyle." Lately, I think the coveting is overtaking my true sense of style and wanting a designer handbag is blurring everything, including what I can reasonably afford.

    Whew... I hope this post makes sense in regards to the original topic at hand. I've been feeling sort of unsettled lately! :shrugs:

    p.s. the only thing I notice when I look into my closet is that I love everything I have gotten in my earlier days, except possibly those handbags I've bought recently to compensate for the designer bag that's out of reach. Sort of buying the better value (over the best quality), but it's still not quite right deep down.
  9. I'm feeling this way right now. . . if I had time, I'd actually go sit w/ a therapist for a while and figure out what I'm trying to really buy myself w/ all this spending. No joke.
    My house feels "heavy". KWIM?
    I can't seem to curb spending on my little girl for one thing:shame:
    I REALLY need to employ the "one itme in, one item out" logic but haven't been able to:sad:
    It's not clothes for me, or home decor, etc. . . it's random crap! LOL! Like more Christmas wrapping paper, cute clothes for the kids even catalogs are stacking up.

    I feel ya Annie.
  10. this was such a sensible and thoughtful thread. i think a lot of us give in to the hype of instant gratification and we get caught up in what we can own and buy and enjoy. and i think the OP nails it on the head when she describes it as "being taken in by the marketing machine."

    do we really *need* all this stuff to be happy and content with our lives? some little extras and luxuries, sure, why not. but so much of it? i've been trying to re-center my "happiness" priorities and remember what makes me feel most whole... and they don't actually require all the stuff i think i want.
  11. I think that is a result of the media now reporting on what celebrities are wearing. Years ago "who are you wearing"was not a question that anyone on the red carpet was asked? Today the television shows,music videos and tabloid magazines help to make people hyper aware of brands/designers.
    I think that it is natural for young people to try new styles and trends. I think this helps them to project to others the "group" they feel they fit in with. It may be skaters,goth,preppy,gangsta,etc. Clothes and consumer goods help us to walk the talk so to speak.
    As I grow older,I have had to give up wearing certain trends. I would feel foolish wearing everything the "twenty somethings" are wearing.
    I usually buy a trendy item or two each year;but that's all.
    My style is pretty classic now and black(slimming)LOL
    I still wear clothes more than 10 years old.
    I would say don't beat yourself up for liking to buy/wear expensive or trendy clothes,shoes furniture. As long as you are not overwhelmed with debt,or have a compulsive shopping addiction; it is hard and unlikely to be able to ignore the message of the medium.
    Five years from now it may be different; try to enjoy today.
  12. I've been considering purging on an eBay yard sale lately. I am terrified though to pull out the useless nick-nacks I collected years ago (because they were SO cute), to be confronted by the amount I spent on them, and the fact, (just like those damned Beanie Babies) they are hardly worth the material they are made out of!

    My issue is that I get off on the thrill of the hunt. I must - I mean, I find something I MUST have or I'll DIE, and then search for it until I find a deal I simply can not pass up! My inlaws gave me a mag that lays out the definition of my obsession - Hi my name is Andrea and I AM A "SPAVER". A spender/saver... and DH will not let me forget it! *phewf*

    I'm starting to think I should have sent this into the secrets thread Twiggers! LOL!

  13. Wow- well put! I agree completely! Society today is also too caught up in out-doing each other, and the best way to prove you can out-do someone is to out-spend them. The marketing machine has taken over and it's becoming the norm for people to have designer things. People, mainly the younger generation, are starting to judge themselves and others by how much "stuff" they have and how much it cost. The other day I overheard a group of women in their early 20's (my age) saying that they felt sorry for people who couldn't afford designer things because it must make them feel bad about themselves. Since when did we start associating self worth with material things?

    I'm a little ashamed that I've bought into this whole consumerism thing. I was thinking about it the other day after I left the mall- why do I need $800 bags when nice $200 ones would carry my stuff exactly the same way? I'm trying to get back to purchasing nice, quality basics instead of buying expensive things just to have them.

    Thanks for starting this thread and getting some good, thought provoking conversation going!
  14. I think this wake up call happens for many people. Whether they go through bankruptcy or just lucky enough to question 'what am I doing."
    We are spiritually bankrupt as a society. Its about stuff, instead of quality time with each other.
  15. I've been thinking a lot about sustainability lately and about what I really want out of life. And what I don't want is work until I'm 65 just so I can afford the latest 'it' stuff or 'cool' stuff.

    18 months after first discovering this forum and embarking on a single-minded crusade to develop a collection of LVs, I've now stepped back and questioned my motives. Do I need bags to sit on my shelves just so that I can say I have half a dozen designer bags? And what's the point of getting more expensive bags if I only use half of what I currently have? I'm still on PF though (can't quite tear myself away....yet), so I'm still getting tempted...

    In terms of general consumerism, I've noted that if I don't expose myself to advertisements I don't get tempted. I'm cut down magazine purchases, unsubscribed from many mailing lists, put a "no-circulars" sign on my mailbox (works a treat, no christmas mailers!) and cut down on tv watching. Surprisingly, I haven't missed it at all.

    I've just come across "Story of Stuff" with Annie Leonard, which is a wonderful little video about (over)consumption.

    Great thread!