Month: March 2014

What-The-Hell.com

When I graduated high school my life changed. I think when you graduate high school you start the course of your growing up phases. At 17, I wasn’t ready to grow up just yet. I wasn’t ready for the reality that was the real world and any chance to escape to Neverland I would take. I was burnt out on the need to constantly be responsible. After going to school for what seemed like an eternity, I started to sabotage the very notion of stability. While my peers were starting their stages of growing up with going to school, starting new relationships, etc, I was plotting my way out. I wasn’t ready to give in to settling down, I wasn’t ready to take the easy way out.

The summer of 2000, I spent exploring life. I wanted to live, I wanted to experience, I wanted to spend a shit load of money. Of course after graduating from high school, my money making options expanded to Nannying part-time and taking a hostess job with a housing community my mom worked for. Needless to say I started making a good chunk of money. The summer I spent exploring, going to shows (concerts) and hanging out with two of my friends (a friend from high school and her friend), made for some memorable experiences. Honestly the summer was a great time for endless possibilities. Before summer’s end I had saved up a good amount of money and started dating a guy I sort of had feelings for. I should have been happy with how my summer was progressing but as soon as summer ended I wanted out. I started feeling suffocated in my life; I felt I was settling for everyone else’s dreams and needed a way out. It wasn’t that I was unhappy with my life, I was just unhappy with the way things were going. I was following the footsteps of so many of my peers that I knew I deserved better. I didn’t want to end up on the misguided end of being unhappy 20 years from now. I wanted adventure, mystery, I wanted a start to a thousand stories.

After this photo was taken my life changed. 18 without a purpose or direction.

After this photo was taken my life changed. 18 without a purpose or direction.

Right around the start of the fall of 2000, I started going to shows with my two friends (I will dub them for the sake of this story “Thing 1” and “Thing 2”). After being so sheltered most of my high school years, it felt great to sort of experience my teenage years. I started listening to a wide range of music, going to shows, and soon stopped feeling the need to conform to anyone else’s expectations. Soon after I was going to my first series of shows, I broke up with my boyfriend. I knew dating him would mean I would have to make a choice down the line of relationship or traveling the world. Needless to say I was already feeling suffocated with my life so I choose to travel the world. Honestly I was in the relationship because that’s what my peers had done. Since I didn’t want to be anything like my peers I started my stages of what I believed a new life entailed. While going to shows with my friends was fun, the reality of life was happening. From my part-time Nannying jobs, my hostess gig, I started working part-time in my Mom’s office. I was working 3 jobs, going to school fulltime and honestly was already burned out before I even had a chance to truly experience my life. At 18, I was ready to retire. I was working 3 jobs and going to school full time. The only time I had for myself was one night a week. This wasn’t how I expected my life to turn. Any way I could I started sabotaging school, sabotaging any chance of settling down. My parents blamed my friends for being bad influences but the reality was I was doing this myself. Right around the time that I got on academic probation, I knew that was the end of my academic career and the start of my life.  While still working the 3 jobs, I had the luxury of making money to pay for my travels, expenses, countless shows etc. I wasn’t thinking about a future, I was thinking about the “right now”. Since I was feeling the stress of a million people, I realized I had developed a dependency of food. While I had been heavy a majority of my adolescence, after high school I had ballooned up to 250 pounds. Emotional eating was my way of coping with how I was feeling. Coping with how many times I got a lecture about my life, coping with how many times I felt alone, and coping with how many times I felt rejected by people. While I was enjoying the living for the moment, I realized I was embarking on a series of emotional problems. From over eating to over spending, I found myself of opening demons into my self destructive phase.
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Emotional eating and emotional spending are two of a kind. While I was suppressing my demons by eating, I was rewarding my sadness with never ending spending. Spending $100 dollars at the Benefit Cosmetics counter, or spending $900 dollars in less than an hour at the mall, my possibilities were endless. I didn’t put into account the countless times I bought my friends gifts just because. Both were driven by emotion, this need to feel this void of unhappiness I was feeling. When you reach a point in your life where you’re truly unhappy, you start to believe there is no one you can talk to. I had alienated myself from so many of my friends and family members, I honestly believed I had nobody. I started keeping everything I was feeling inside which lead me to find destructive ways to deal with my emotions.  When the food digested, and the spending lost it’s novelty, I found myself just finding way to hurt myself. I started a cycle of self mutilation to keep from screaming. Cutting was my way of dealing everything. The spending, the hurt, the internal screaming, and my constant need for acceptance. I told no one about it. After being told by Thing 2 “Everyone has problems, one day I won’t be there to listen to your problems“, I stopped talking about my problems. My problems stayed internal for years, the more you bottle up how you feel the more you realize one day you’re going to pop. I was a ticking time bomb, I knew that. The only thing that was keeping me a float was eating my feelings, spending money, cutting and listening to great music.

Just a small handful the shows I went to. Memories of the past.

Just a small handful the shows I went to. Memories of the past.

To be brutally honest while I was parading around about how awesome my life was, I was miserable. I was going absolutely no where and while my demons haunted me I found myself eating more and spending far beyond my means.

The breakdown of an average show from 2000-2003:

Tickets: $25
Gas: $25
Bridge Toll: $3
Parking: $10
Merch: $40
Drinks/Food: $40
Total: $143 a week.
Monthly: $429

Where my money went in 2000-2003:

Tickets: $3,600
Food: $4,320
Merch: $1,440
Total for 1 year: $9,360

Money I made working 3 jobs a year:

Nannying: $7,200
Hostess: $4,800
Clerical: $4,800
Total for the year: $16,800

We started going to just 1 show a month, which escalated to 3 shows a week. Daily Average was $143, when Thing 1 and myself didn’t have licenses we would rely on someone to take us and pay their ticket/gas/food/parking etc. Those expenses doubled and seeing that these were mostly my friends that would take us to a show, I would spend $286 a show night. Honestly now that I look at, I spent far more then my share. I never looked into it because as I had stated multiple times I was having the best time with my best friends. Even when at my lowest moments of my life you start to realize who your real friends are. Thing 1 and Thing 2 while they were my friends would always do some severely shady things. I refused to see what was in front of me and believed them when they told lies. First it would be going to shows without me, lie about where they were, lied to mutual friends, or better yet my favorite, use things I told them in confidence to make me the villain. They would put the blame on each other then would make it out like I was the crazy one. Since I was more emotional, the one that came from the strict upbringing, etc. It wasn’t until I found out they had gone out with a guy I had a crush on without telling me, that I realized “you know maybe these people really aren’t my friends”.  No matter how many times I tried to confront them, I would be met with more lies and more paranoia that it was all in my head. For every fight I had with my friends, we would make up and become the 3 musketeers all over again. It would last for a few weeks, then Thing 1 and Thing 2 would be back to being “twins” as they effortlessly called themselves.  They were my best friends right? Who else could you talk to except your best friends?  I couldn’t talk to my parents since they already felt they were a bad influence, so  I escaped to more over eating, more spending, and more self mutilating. As much as I wanted to blame them for my problems, I couldn’t. I was the one making myself miserable. I was the one that wanted to believe lie after lie of being okay. I was the one hiding how I felt from the world. As much as I wanted to tell everyone to FUCK OFF and start all over again, I couldn’t. Instead I escaped to a world of sadness, loneliness and denial.

For every time I felt sad, I cut myself. For every time I wanted to hide the demons I felt, I ate. For every time I wanted acceptance from my friends, I would buy things in the hopes that buying things would make a dent in their armor. I wanted this acceptance from Thing 1 and Thing 2 because they were all I had left. My parents didn’t know what to do with me, I wasn’t going to school, I wasn’t doing well at work, I just stopped caring. The constant fighting at home didn’t compare to the way I felt around my friends. When I started getting panic attacks hanging out with my friends I realized I was coming across a huge problem. Before the music was my escape, staying 3 hours in a show took all the pain away. Travelling 300 miles from home, mostly on my own dime took all the pain of sadness away. Then you start noticing that your so called best friends are leaving you out of things. Not including you on anything. You start hating yourself thinking it’s something you did wrong. Maybe if I wasn’t so fat. Maybe if I wasn’t so self conscious. Maybe if I wasn’t who I was, people would actually like me. When you’re at your lowest points you realize you surround yourself with not very great people. On top of feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, I found myself being used by the very people I considered my best friends. Sure I had a great time with Thing 1 and Thing 2 but the reality of our friendship wasn’t friendship. We used each other because while everyone else was living in the real world, we weren’t. We lived in a fantasyland of 3 hours of real friendship in a show and constantly judging and belittling each other out of a show. While Thing 1 and Thing 2 stated how we were the 3 musketeers, their selfish shallow needs would go far beyond our friendship. It took years to understand that. Realizing that for every time I felt that we were all friends, it was really just Thing 1 and Thing 2 being the best of friends and me paying off the expenses. It wasn’t that they didn’t have any money, they worked and as Thing 2 told me countless times “Thing 1 had an adult job, not a job someone got for her”. Yet I was the one paying more for our friendship. I was financing a friendship with people who never were my friends to begin with.

For working 3 jobs, I was making a decent amount of money. How ever much I was making, I wasn’t saving any of it. While some of my peers were saving to move out of their surroundings, I was stuck. I was all talk and no follow through. For every check I spent, someone else benefited from my hard work. Whether it be a dinner here, a new eyeshadow there, I wasn’t seeing any of my money anymore. It wasn’t until I completely financed two tours and overdrafted my account over $300 dollars each time that I realized that I was over spending my hard earned money. The countless lectures about my spending, the countless lectures asking how much of my friends accounts were overdrafted, I didn’t listen. Instead I saw it as a personal attack toward me. I failed in my social experiment with living in the now. On top of feeling like a failure, I was overweight and broken. I couldn’t tell you the countless nights I spent crying just feeling that everything I was doing was wrong. My friends abandoned me, my parents didn’t understand, my skin hurt and I was broken. It took a long time for the cuts to heal to finally get to the point of feeling okay. Just sometimes the past comes back to haunt you in the most unusual way. You end up meeting people that hurt you the same way and you start the cycle of self destruct all over again. It’s up to you to realize when enough is enough, and when you reach that point in your life is when you truly feel free.

Now that time has passed, I finally have time to actually heal and process that time period. I am not the person I was 13 years ago. I’m not even the same person I was a year ago. You live, you learn and you eventually move on. It’s funny to think of it that way. I did have a great time traveling the world seeing some of my favorite bands. While I wouldn’t have given up any of those moments for the world, I would have been more vocal about how I felt. I would have saved more then what I had spent. I wouldn’t have allowed people to make me feel worse than how I already felt. I wouldn’t have felt the need to buy friendships. Thing 1 and Thing 2 weren’t the enemy, I know that now. The only enemy I had was living inside of me and making me into a monster. No one deserves to feel the way that I felt in that time period. While I now know how to deal with my emotional feelings, I just wished I had gotten to this point sooner than now. While I have gotten a lot of my emotional self destructiveness behind me, I know now I am better than my past. I’m no longer friends with Thing 1 and Thing 2. While they were never good friends, I just hope that at the end of the day they can at least be good friends to someone even if it is to each other.

At the end of the day, I guess this is growing up.

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Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Back in 2009, I watched a film called “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (film was based on the Shopaholic novels by Sophie Kinsella).
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If you’ve never seen it, breakdown:

It’s about a girl named Rebecca Bloomwood, who’s a writer and because of her shopaholic ways ends up thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt. Not to mention she starts writing articles for a financial magazine about being responsible about your finances and wellllll ohhh the irony seeing that she is flooded with never ending debt.

CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC

Basically my life story without the designer wardrobe, less accumulated debt, or the handsome Hugh Dancy.

While I did absolutely enjoy the film, I at the time of the films release could not possibly relate. Actually, I just absolutely refused to relate. My spending wasn’t that out of hand. I had an absolute handle on my finances. Sure I didn’t have money. Sure I spent every paycheck on unnecessary things, but I wasn’t spending $325 a check on various handbags or shoes. I was in control of my money, in control of my life. The only thing I absolutely learned from that movie, wasn’t to save money. No. Not at all. What I learned was that I needed to step my wardrobe game up.

At the time of the film’s release I was 27, recently getting over a broken heart and you guessed it broke. I had a very good job, making really great money (great money that I knew how to spend). I worked literally 5 minutes away from my home and I should have been content. I should have been fine with the cards I had before me. Sadly once you start the process into your late 20s you become disillusioned with your current state and start thinking of the past. At least thats what I did. Processing a broken heart is a long process to begin with, processing a broken spirit can take a lifetime. I was in the middle of both problems. I was unhappy with my life, unhappy with the state of my solitude and started a downward spiral of spending.

Here was my situation:

While making money is great (Honestly who doesn’t like making money), my job wasn’t my ideal job. For the past 12 years, I had worked more than 10 different jobs and never felt any of those jobs fit who I was. I had been working non-stop since I was 14, I needed a change. What a normal motivated individual my age would have done was figured out a way out of that slump.  Either finding work in a different industry or just figuring some aspect of a plan. Had I been in a right state of mind I would have done that. Since I was still completely heartbroken, I found myself drowning myself in work and trying as much as I could to occupy my time. Work helped with the forgetting but it also made my life miserable. Honestly I didn’t know what I wanted as a career. I was finding some amusement keeping with a blog but nothing too spectacular. I loved photography but honestly I had grown tired of taking everyone’s picture. I was burnt out. I had been a nanny, telemarketer, admin assistant, executive assistant, personal assistant, receptionist, claims specialist, hostess, sales assistant, general store clerk, and all before the age of 27. I needed a new beginning. I needed a different change of pace. I also needed a new wardrobe in order to go into my new life.

Somewhere I had heard that to start fresh you need to get rid of the old and start purchasing the new. Purge yourself of your old life and make way for a crisp clean new beginning. Here I wanted a new life, something to get me out of this slump I was in. I wanted something that would make my outsides look fabulous that would in turn make my insides feel good. Equipped with various subscriptions to different varieties of magazines (Elle, Vogue, W) for inspiration and a new spending account, I was well on my way to a new start. Therefore I started with the first place I would get the most notice, my wardrobe.

My average paycheck from my employer at the time was around $1225 bi-weekly. I was making roughly around $612.50 a week. Coming from working at jobs where I was averaging $300 a week from temping, seeing $1225 on my check was good money. While I had always had a passion for fashion, I could never really afford the beautiful luxuries I loved in the magazines. Sure I’d splurge on a great pair of designer sunglasses (Dior “Glossy” $325, Marc Jacobs “Terry” $325, Dior “AviaDior” $425, etc), but owning a pair of Louboutins was just ridiculous. With the help of the wonderful world of Ebay, Ebay helped me obtain all my designers needs for a fraction of the cost. Then you have to put into account that a lot of H&M’s were opening up in shopping malls near me, the complete access of online shopping, on top of the Ebaying, that’s how it all began. Since I was convinced that owning new things would be the first start to changing my well being, I had a spending no-holds-bar-free-for-all. Lets break this down to the theory of emotions. A majority of everything I buy is based on emotions, during this excess spending there was no exception.

With a large collection of monthly magazine subscriptions, I started reading various articles of ways to get over a broken heart. One of them happened to be: “To get over a past relationship, rid yourself of anything that reminds you of your past relationship“. The article went into detail about things you should keep, things you shouldn’t keep and a variety of those items of course had to do with wardrobe. Since I was extremely broken hearted, I got rid of anything that reminded me of the past. Instead of getting rid of it, in the way of donations I found ways to make a profit of my heartbreaking items. I started selling everything. Craigslist became a huge factor and when items wouldn’t sell on craigslist I would sell on ebay. I didn’t care if I made my money back, I just wanted to get rid of things that reminded me of the past. Anything that was a memory of a sad time in my life, I wanted completely out of my house. I didn’t need this bad juju going into my new start, my fresh beginning. With the profits of my sellings, I started buying new things. Things that were going to improve my well being, my new fresh start.

The Spending Breakdown:

My monthly income: $2450

My monthly expenses (phone, insurance, credit card bills, gas): $382
Miscellaneous expenses (going out, restaurants, coffee): $344
Just my expenses alone: $726 a month

My “New beginning” spending income: $1724

Sales from Ebay/Craigslist monthly: $300 +
H&M: $300
Target: $500
Nordstrom: $150
Neiman Marcus: $375
Sephora: $75
Ebay: $400
Urban Outfitters: $100
Total Left over from Spending: $124

My monthly expenses allowed me to have a spending cushion of about $1724, to which I used to my advantage. Problem with that spending cushion was that I wasn’t budgeting any of that. I wasn’t putting more money to my minimum payment on either of my credit cards. I wasn’t even properly saving money. How I saw my check bi-weekly was $1225, the lump sum of the week where I had endless possibilities. Instead of budgeting my expenses or cutting costs in items I didn’t need, I spent more. On top of the need to change for my new beginning, more excess spending started happening. Upon reading all these “life changing” articles in various magazines, I found myself spending even more. A few items from Urban Outfitters, A few designer dresses from Ebay, unlimited amounts of new products from Sephora. My room started to look like a UPS shipping center. Items were coming in and leaving just the same. For every one thing I sold, I bought two items in it’s place. If I sold a Marc by Marc Jacobs dress (purchased for $325, sold for $100), I bought 2 more dresses (Ebay find: Marc by Marc Jacobs Dress $100, BCBG Dress $295). While I saw income coming in, none of it was making any profit. Since I was spending the money before I had any chance of making a profit, I was left more broke then when I started. Somehow I didn’t care. I was so completely numb from heart break that I didn’t realize that my $1225 dollar paycheck was leaving me only $100 until my next paycheck. Instead of saving that $100 dollars, I did what any irresponsible person would do. I spent it. I went from having a $1225 dollar paycheck to having only $100 dollars for two weeks. All in the name of a broken spirit and new beginnings. No matter how many times my parents told me to save my money. The countless times I had to ask for a handout to get me out of my overdraft hell, I couldn’t stop spending. The spending like much of my life was completely out of control. Yet somehow I wasn’t Rebecca Bloomwood status. I was still keeping up with all my payments and even if that meant my account would overdraft, all of my personal expenses were always paid on time. I didn’t have any bill collectors calling about my debts. While I did have debts, I paid just enough to cover my expenses. Yet never enough to fully be out of the hole.

Left to Right: BCBG Sequined Dress $295, H&M Dress $29.95,Topshop dress $59.90, Robert Rodriguez Dress $99, H&M Dress $34.95.  TOTAL: $518.80

Left to Right: BCBG Sequined Dress $295, H&M Dress $29.95,Topshop dress $59.90, Robert Rodriguez Dress $99, H&M Dress $34.95.
TOTAL: $518.80

Budgeting was a word that did not exist in my vocabulary. I was looking great. I had great clothes, great accessories, therefore people started to take notice. My once conservative way of dressing, turned into a more colorful approach to fashion. My wardrobe went from only a few key pieces to an assortment of stylish must haves. The more people complimented my ensemble, the more I felt the need to buy. It got to the point where I stopped finding the need to get rid of items and started to keep them. I state that I’m an emotional shopper because while I was purchasing things for my new start/new beginnings I was still miserable. I wanted to fill the void of my unhappiness that I found myself spending more money to obtain this happiness. The only time I had ever felt a pure sense of happiness was buying something. Because buying beautiful things meant something big was around the corner. With every new purchase I found myself wearing only a fraction of what I bought. For every 7 things I bought, 2 would be worn religiously. 3 would be kept for “special occasion” purposes, still with tags. The remaining 2 items would never be worn and just be hidden in the closet until I do my yearly donations, and still with the price tags. The $300 dollars or so I would spend at the store and wear only about $60 dollars worth of the purchase. I would be left $240 shoppers defeat and $240 dollars out of my account and deeper in the hole. It was this need for the luxurious things that will make my life better. So I thought. When you start maxing out your credit cards all for the “love” of fashion your realize that something eventually has to give. In the course of that time I had managed to spend a little over $3,000 in the course of 4 months. 4 months! If I wasn’t going out every weekend or buying everything I could get my hands on, I was paying off debts and finding ways to make more money.

What I should have done was asked for help. I should have talked to someone the moment any or all of this emotional bullshit was happening. I didn’t, I thought this was a problem I needed to solve myself. The only way I could resolve any issue I had, was with spending thousands of dollars on bullshit purchases.  It was more than just the spending, it was this emotional void that I thought I was filling with buying beautiful things. Looking at that part of my life as the person I am now, I just wondered why no one shook me and said what I was doing was wrong. Nothing I was feeling internally could be solved throwing money at a problem. No matter how much a bag, scarf, jacket, or sunglasses cost, while beautiful it may be was never going to ever make my insides feel better. While my spending has since downscaled since the Shopaholic Storm of 07. I can’t help but look at a lot of the items from that time period and think “Man I spent 400 bucks on this?”.

While I may not have had the supreme spending power as Rebecca Bloomwood, I did feel the void she did. Just that notion that all of our saddest darkest moments could be solved with a credit card and a shopping spree at Bendel’s. Thousands of dollars in debt later we both realized that, none of that was healthy. No amount of beautiful items will ever make us happy (as much as we didn’t want to believe it). The temporary happiness we get from buying things can never silence how we feel on the inside. While it took Rebecca Bloomwood about midway through the film to realize her mistakes (probably longer in the books), it has taken me a few years to realize my wrong doing. I get it. We live, we learn, and we save up money to pay off our debts. We all have to grown up sometime. While I may not have been vocal about my problems in the past, it’s good to get a handle of my emotional needs now a days. I know I am not perfect, I never pretended to be. Eventually we all find ways to bring our happiness back with out the need of material things. At the end of the film Rebecca eventually found a way to be happy and debt free. Soon, so will I.

Let it go.

Do you ever get those days of pure rage?

Where you just want to take everything you own and light everything on fire. I don’t just mean putting it in the car and lighting the contents on fire “waiting to exhale” status (but hey that works too). I mean everything. In this “Everything must go” field just letting every single item you once cared about go. Just let it burn and start all over; a fresh clean slate. I do, I honestly think about letting everything burn and watching it turn to ash on a daily basis. Mainly just an easy cop out then actually dealing with my materialistic situation at hand.

This scene. ALWAYS.

This scene. ALWAYS.

Okay arson aside. I’d love to live with only the essentials. Only the things I needed. A complete minimalistic way of living as opposed to how I live now. As of right now, I’m surrounded by mountains of clutter. Countless stacks of magazines, unopened packages*, clothes, accessories, unread books, and well… you get the picture. You know they say you can tell a lot about a person from the way they dress? Well, lets just say a room is a reflection of their soul. Right now my room is a big hot mess (that I occasionally want to light on fire). Everything I’ve ever purchased is looking straight at me with its beady little eyes. Judging me. (Yes, because Toy Story has managed to make me believe that everything comes to life when I look away. JUDGE ME!). I know they say it’s hard letting go but since I’m too afraid of arson (and since I live at home with my folks), lighting everything on fire is not an option. Things have to be done, things have got to change, and well that expensive Marc by Marc Jacobs dress that I paid $325 dollars for in 2006 and still haven’t worn, has got to go.

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Over stuffed closet, Cluster of accessories, the stack of unread recently purchased books, over congested magazine collection. Yup, be afraid.

This debt didn’t just happen overnight. It was slowly accumulating and I allowed it to happen. In this $26,000 dollar debt, I’ve realized a majority of it comes from impulsive buying. I don’t mean just impulse buying when the item is on sale (that happens too). I mean the emotional need to have things, just to have them. The “I’m having a bad day, I’m going to spend money” or the “I’m having a great day lets celebrate by buying this”. Truth of the matter is I am an emotional shopper. Everything in my room is there for the sake of pure emotion. I can pick up just about anything in my room and tell you when and why I bought said item.

You think I’m kidding.

In April of 2006 I purchased a friend of mine a rather expensive bottle of perfume. Marc Jacobs “Grass” Splash perfume which at the time retailed for $90 dollars. While getting her gift I managed to fall in love with Marc Jacobs “Cotton” Splash Perfume from the same collection. Instead of purchasing just the one bottle of perfume, I managed to pay for not only 1 expensive bottle of perfume but 2 rather expensive bottles of perfumes. Somewhere inside my head I thought “I’ve been working a lot, I deserve a new perfume”. That’s how the cycle starts. You start to see yourself buying something for someone and your own selfish greed takes over. I didn’t need that perfume. Putting in the emotion to buy it for someone else, caused me to believe I needed one too. I know I should have thought of a cheaper gift and in 2006 I was not in the head space (more on this in future posts) to even purchase such a luxurious gift but I did. That bottle of perfume is just one of the many countless stories and deductions of my bank account in my life. $180 dollars (plus tax) for two bottles of perfume, I could have easily purchased something else. I didn’t and well you get the general idea.

My $90 dollar investment. Marc Jacobs "Cotton". If you're wondering, it does smell heavenly.

My $90 dollar investment. Marc Jacobs “Cotton”. If you’re wondering, it does smell heavenly.

My closet is no exception. I can look up and down that closet and tell you where/what/ how/why, I bought every single item in my closet.

“Oh it was on sale”

“It was 50% off the entire store”

“I was having a bad day”

“THEY WERE HAVING A SALE”

and my personal favorite…

“I JUST HAD TOO”.

I just had too.

Now I just have to let all these things go. Carrie Bradshaw once said “I like my money right where I can see it, hanging in my closet“. Well my money is doing nothing for me except gathering dust and collecting more debt. Letting go is hard. I know I’ve been there so many times through friendships, relationships, arguments, but material items? Can’t I just stay a little bit longer in my room of clutter? It’s just stuff right?

That’s my problem. I can say “let it go” to anyone and in reality, I’m coming home to a cluster of shit. Its this emotional graveyard of items from a time I can’t let go. That Marc by Marc Jacobs dress had a reason to be bought. Now looking at the dress it doesn’t seem so special as it once did. I haven’t worn it, it still has the price tag. What good is it doing the dress just hanging in the closet? Clothes should be worn to be seen not hidden in a wardrobe for the “maybe I should wear this” day.  Letting go is more then leaving everything behind.  Its saying goodbye to a part of our life; to the person we once were. The person that was so happy to buy the dress because she was having such a cruddy day. The person that bought that dress because this dress was going to change everything. The dress exuded happiness. Then the dress came home and all I was left with was buyers remorse. I had too much pride to take it back, so it sits in the closet waiting for the day to be alive. $325 dollars just accumulated more debt in my closet. Lovely.

Marc by Marc Jacobs "Crinkle" Dress. $325 Brand New with tags. I know I'm disgusting. UGH!

Marc by Marc Jacobs “Crinkle” Dress. $325 Brand New with tags. I know I’m disgusting. UGH!

Not anymore. It has to go. Everything. Anything with a price tag, anything I haven’t worn in a long time, anything I bought because of some emotional bullshit, ALL OF IT. Just have to let it go. Letting go is hard. It’s a cold saying but after getting rid of all the clutter can make way for bigger and better things (within my price range that is). Letting go can finally free me of this suffocation I feel for having so much crap. By letting go it finally releases all the emotional garbage left in the corpses of these material objects. With that I am going to let it go to everything. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING must go. I started boxing up magazines. Tearing apart my closet, my accessories, cleaning out my DVD collection. Instead of buying new books when they came out, I started finally reading the books I have stacked up. Honestly it sucks. It’s that itch you just want to scratch but can’t reach. I just want to buy things. If I have a bad day, I need to buy something. I just can’t bring myself to do it. After placing items for sale and giving things away, I finally realized something. It didn’t hurt anymore. The want for beautiful things will always be there. What can I say I love beautiful things but this need for things just stopped. I am finally able to let go of things I don’t need and never needed to begin with. Finally able to be okay with not having everything I want. While I mourn my former spend-a-holic life, I will continue to listen to “Let it Go” from the film Frozen for motivation. If only life were more like a Disney movie. Where I had a magic wand to change everything, a motivating song to empower me, and a fairy godmother to make me pretty gowns (tax free). Sadly my life is not a musical and Disney is a little too expensive for my tastes at the moment. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Lets sing and mourn together, shall we?

*packages were purchased before this budget saving makeover. DON’T GET IT TWISTED.

 

Closet Debt aka This is why I can’t have nice things. **

Marc Jacobs Splash Perfumes: $90
Marc by Marc Jacobs Crinkle Dress: $325
Brand New  items of clothing in closet with price tags: $1742
Unread books: $250
Brand new cosmetics: $150
Brand New DVD’s: $100
TOTAL: $2,407

**If anyone in interested in any of my clothes, feel free to ask me. I can cut you in on a deal.

Let’s take this back to the start.

Let’s take this back.

Way back.

Like to the way, way baaaaaaaaack.

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My adorable cuteness and my the Barbie kitchen and closet accessories I got from Santa. Santa always knew what was up. Thanks Santa!

When I was a small adorable child, I loved many things. My little pony, Barbies, stickers, colored pencils, Fred Savage from The Wonder Years…..AND MONEY. Even as a small child I knew the importance of what money brings. Money brings nice things. Money can buy you pretty things. What I didn’t know then was when I received that crisp 20 dollar bill in my Birthday card, that money would become the start of all things wrong in my life. It’s actually really sad to think that I, coming from two great law abiding, hard working and not to mention money frugal parents, would be in debt. After my parents instilled in me the value of a dollar, hard work and paying off debts, I didn’t listen. After receiving my money for birthdays , I would save it because that’s what I should be doing. That’s what I was taught to do. Save it for a rainy day. I did save. I had a nice little $100 dollar cushion. Then a book fair would happen in school; I just NEEDED those Luke Perry & Beverly Hills, 90210 books.

Honestly if I didn't own this book, I would know nothing about the Stars of Beverly Hills 90210!!!

Honestly if I didn’t own this book, I would know nothing about the Stars of Beverly Hills 90210!!!

Needed them.

NEED.

The word NEED is also the root of all evils. Honestly I didn’t NEED those books. I didn’t NEED half of the stuff I bought when I was younger. Frankly, I don’t NEED any of the stuff I currently own now. Why is that? Why is it we always NEED what we can’t afford, always NEED what we can’t have, always have the need to NEED something. A majority of all my neediness comes from sadness. The generic thinking that I needed something to make me happy. If I bought a new toy, or if my Barbie needed a new outfit I would buy them. While I did enjoy a happy childhood at home, its the sadness that I endured internally that was never satisfied until I had something. It didn’t matter what that something was. I just needed to have it. The one of many things that would make me happy. While both of my parents were extremely hard working, they showered myself and my sibling with everything we needed. A roof over our head, food on the table, stability in our home life. We were never left without needing anything. Of course when you’re younger you want more. So you vow that when you’re of age to work, that you would work hard to get all the things you’ve ever dreamed of. All the things you needed but never got.  It’s only then when you work hard, you earn hard. When you earn hard, you make money. When you make money, you can buy all the pretty things you want. Then once you have everything you ever wanted, will you truly be happy. That was my sad make believe assumption.

From the moment I had my first job at age 14 to my recent job at age 31, I have nothing but expensive expenses to show for a lifetime of spending. I have nothing but debts to re-encounter every single purchase I have ever made. Everything adds up by the way. No matter how many times you put money towards paying off a debt, you immediately go back to spending. You see this new available balance and you can’t help but tell yourself “I have $100 dollars on my Wellsfargo Visa, I can eat at this restaurant and spend $30 dollars on myself”. That $30 dollar meal, turns into a $30 dollar meal and a coffee. That $30 dollar meal and a coffee, turns into $30 dollar meal and the new album by so and so band. With that you’ve spend $75 dollars, before you know it your new statement arrives and you’ve spent the $100 dollars you just put in. Because you forget that there’s a finance charge at the end of every period.  My $30 dollar “I deserve it meal”, just cost me a $100 bucks.

The sad realization that everything in this photo aside from dress (which I didn't purchase) comes to a total of $395.23. Everything that I'm wearing, drinking, including what's in the basket. Debt is the reason I can't have nice things.

The sad realization that everything in this photo aside from dress (which I didn’t purchase) comes to a total of $395.23. Everything that I’m wearing, drinking, including what’s in the basket. Debt is the reason I can’t have nice things.

I’m miserable. Then what do I do? I get paid and buy something with my debit card. It’s this never ending cycle of spending that you don’t realize is a seriously problem, which in turn makes you upset, which then makes you miserable. While my peers and friends my age are building families, their own person legacies, not to mention doing a lot of traveling; I’m pinching pennies to buy a $4.95 coffee. Because instead of looking at the bigger picture of saving money for a rainy day; I’ve spent EVERYTHING.  But hey, I NEEDED THOSE THINGS. I live too fast and spend way too furiously. Its because in those 40 minutes you spent at the store, the half hour you spent eating a delicious meal, or the 5 minutes it took to get your expensive coffee, it was in that exact moment you felt happy.

Boy did you feel happy. Which lasted a full 5 minutes and then you’re back where you started from. The never ending cycle of excess spending.

That’s my problem. I realized how truly unhappy I was the moment I returned from a month long visit in Mexico (of course more money I didn’t need to spend, but reality was I needed this trip). In that month I spent no money on either of my credit cards, I bought no new clothes, didn’t have to eat at all the new restaurants, didn’t need that expensive fancy coffee every day. Sure I spent money I had saved on meals and adventures, but I didn’t feel the need to have everything. I didn’t need much of anything. While I realized that I live in a country of extreme excess, it was humbling to see life different from my own. Maybe that’s all we need. A slice of humble pie to bring us back to reality. The moment I walked into my room after a month long hiatus of being gone, I couldn’t believe myself. I honestly saw myself for what I was. I was a emotional hoarder who had a huge spending problem. My depression brought out the worst in myself and lead me in a downward spiral of clutter. I took one look in my room and told myself “I am better than this bullshit stuff”.

That’s how it started. How it all began. It took a little girl who felt the need to have everything to finally come to terms with her true unhappiness. I was rewarding my bad behavior with expensive items I didn’t need. Purchasing things to mask how truly sad I was on the inside and how ugly I felt. The years of problems I had in my life showed itself to me the moment I set foot in my room. The past relationship rewards, the sad breakup rewards, the countless bad day rewards, ALL OF IT. And you know what? I feel better knowing that I am on the road to being happy. It’s going to be hard to resist buying pretty shiny new things, but for my own well being it needs to be done. I have to keep telling myself, what’s better: being happy or a new kate spade wallet? Okay, wait. Let me rephrase that. What’s better: being happy or debt? Yeah that’s what I thought. Move along.

This is my introduction to a more frugal way of living and these are my own personal stories I am sharing with the world.

If you see me in the store with too many things in my cart, please feel free to keep me in check.