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Lonely? Broke?

How to stay social and solvent during the holidays.

 

Does it feel like you’ve been sold a bill of goods about the holidays?

Did you grow up hearing that the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year?

Do you feel the added stress of holiday expectations?

 

For many people, the holidays are actually some of the most difficult times of the year, challenging and potentially isolating.

 

Here are five doable suggestions for staying connected and resisting the temptation to overshop at this time of year, click here:

    1. Volunteer: In helping others in your community you’re connecting with something bigger than you. This solid reminder that there is much to be thankful for in life is truly uplifting. Check out Dosomething.org which sets you up with volunteer opportunities right in your neighborhood.
    2. Join an affinity group: Find groups with common interests, common challenges and better yet, both. Being around others, avoiding social isolation, and trusting in nature are what it’s about. Examples are activity groups online such as Meetup.com.
    3. Exercise with a friend: Exercising releases feel good chemicals in our brains, dopamine. It’s science. Take a spin class. Go for a long walk or hike with a friend. Click Here for 8 ways to get fit and be social.
    4. Take a Trip– Go somewhere you’ve never been. Change your scenery. Change your mood. Here are some inexpensive and engaging holiday travel ideas.
    5. Exercise Mindfulness and Self -Acceptance: Holidays are a time when unrealistic, unmet expectations bring on a lot of suffering. Identifying your expectations and giving them a reality test can decrease the pressure you’re feeling and increase more of the joy. For help in doing that, Click Here

 

 

 

https://www.shopaholicnomore.com/proven-strategies/9947/

Spending Less by Breaking Money Silence Over the Holidays

This is a guest post written by my colleague Kathleen Kingsbury,  whose work and personhood I’ve admired for quite a long time. She is a a wealth psychology expert, founder of KBK Wealth Connection, host of the Breaking Money Silencepodcast, and the author of several books. She’s just published a book called Breaking Money Silence : Shatter Money Taboos by Helping Your Clients Openly Discuss Their Finances

 

In this post, which she’s written especially for us, you’ll read her very original and potentially transformative suggestions about:

 

Spending Less by Breaking Money Silence Over the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us. Everywhere you turn you are bombarded with messages to shop, overspend, and be merry. But you know that overshopping rarely makes you happy for very long. Instead, it usually leads to anxiety, fear, and a sense of dread when the credit card bills come in.

To avoid spending too much this holiday season consider breaking money silence. Money silence is the term I use to describe the societal taboo against talking openly and honestly about money. This silence is especially strong from Thanksgiving to New Years when our consumer-driven culture is in overdrive, telling us that if you really love your family you will shower them with store-bought gifts. Take back control by deciding when and how you want to invest your time, energy, and financial resources this year.

One of my favorite holidays was when my family talked about money and agreed to not exchange store-bought gifts. Instead, my father rented a ski condo and my family spent three days over the holidays skiing together. We each picked one secret Santa and bought this person one gift not to exceed $30. I got ski goggles that I wore proudly all season long. What I learned that year was the material goods you receive are not what really matters. The people, experiences, and spirit of the holiday do.

Breaking money silence often leads to spending less and enjoying the people in your life a little more. Why not try it this holiday season and see what happens? You just may end up with more precious memories and more money in the bank in the New Year.

Here are a few tips for breaking money silence this holiday season.

Identify and share your holiday money mindsets.

Everyone has a money mindset that is made up of their automatic thoughts and beliefs about money and its purpose in life. Ask someone you love to share his or her money mindset with you. Use the following questions to get the dialogue started.

  •      How much did your family spend on presents when you were growing up?
  •      What nonfinancial activities did your family engage in?
  •      What family holiday experiences did you enjoy the most and why?
  •      How might you honor that tradition this year?

Take the seasonal money messages challenge.

Challenge your family to identify as many seasonal money messages as they can in twenty-four hours. Look for these messages in advertisements, music, movies, and on social media. Write down the slogans or sayings you notice and then at the end of the day the person with the most money messages wins. Once a winner is declared, discuss how the messages about spending and gifting impact your finances and your emotions during the holidays. What would you like to do differently this year?

Remember it is the thought (or experience) that counts.

Research shows us that shared experiences have a more positive impact on our psyche than buying stuff. Discuss with your partner, a friend or family member the idea of doing something together instead of buying each other gifts.

 

What would it feel like to not exchange gifts?

What would you miss about getting and receiving a gift?

What would you not miss?

 

Talk it through then mindfully make a decision about how to celebrate together this year.

How will you break money silence this year?

What impact do you think it will have on your spending and shopping behaviors?

Kathleen Burns Kingsbury is a wealth psychology expert, founder of KBK Wealth Connection, host of the Breaking Money Silencepodcast, and the author of several books including How to Give Financial Advice to Women and How to Give Financial Advice to Couples. Her new book, Breaking Money Silence:  Shatter Money Taboos by Helping Your Clients Openly Discuss Their Finances was published in 2017. For more information, visit www.breakingmoneysilence.com.

 

Unbelievable, but it’s true…. Nordstrom and I are through! (Part I)

One of the most revelatory and ultimately powerful tools in the Shopaholicnomore program is the dialogue. The purpose of the dialogue is to gain a deeper awareness of your relationship with something that you are overshopping for or something you use in order to overshop.

 

It might be that 8th pair of black boots, an evening dress from your favorite online shopping site, or for something we use in order to overshop, like a credit card.

 

The following is a dialogue that an overshopper named Lynn recently had with her Nordstrom credit card, several days after she actually canceled the card. Closing her Nordstrom account had felt good for a bit, but soon thereafter she was in touch with her hunger to open it all over again.

Let’s listen in:

                                  

(Lynn) is sitting in front of shredder with the pile of paid off credit card statements and cancelled credit cards.  The Nordstrom card starts jumping up and down)

 

CC: “Hey Lynn!  Can we talk?”

L: “sure. What’s up”

CC: “well, to be honest, I’m hurt and confused..you totally side swiped me here.  I understand that you feel that you needed to make a change – but completely discarding me, removing me from your life, shredding me to pieces…it just seems so unfair to you and to me. We’ve been together a long time..we had a good thing going on. I was always there for you. When you wanted something I came through for you..no questions asked- no judging!  Now I feel like you were just using me…didn’t I mean anything to you?”

L: “Listen, I had to change. You made me feel powerful but it wasn’t real. Having you in my back pocket just made it easy for me to be irresponsible.  I won’t lie…I enjoyed those carefree moments, the high I would get from you. But at the end of the day I was in denial. I was left with a quick thrill but then I would owe you more and more and I could never seem to catch up. And I felt crappy about myself not telling my husband about you.  Sneaking my packages into the closet…secretly paying you off each month. It was wrong.  I tried to ignore how much I owed you and you didn’t seem to mind. In fact you just made it too easy for me. You never set limits on me. You let me keep getting in deeper. You enabled me.  This relationship was not healthy for me.  But trust me it was not easy to let you go, but it is for the best.”

CC: “Well then won’t you miss me?” 

L: “Terribly I fear.” 

CC:“And what will you do once you find yourself wanting something expensive? Who is going to be there for you? How are you going to satisfy yourself?”

L: “Honestly, I am not really sure yet. I don’t have all the answers.  I only know that I need it to be more difficult for me right now. Not having such easy access to the things I desire will force me to not be compulsive.  It will force me to take my time and determine if I really need something and maybe just maybe I can learn to either live without something I desire or learn to save up for something I desire. “

CC: “Yes but what about all the perks that having me around gave you?  The free massages, the VIP treatment, all those points! Think of all you will no longer have!”

L: “Well I never used most of those “perks”! And yes the points are nice, but it’s ok to not have them in exchange for not having a mound of debt.”

CC:“And the pre-access to the July sale? Are you forgetting that! Don’t you want me to get you access to all the best deals!”

L: “I won’t lie…I panicked at first when you mention that. It might be hard next July,.  But when I think of the $15,000 I spent this past July & August from the sale, I can’t think of one item that I couldn’t do without or couldn’t wait for. And I noticed that after the sale was over and September rolled around many of those items were still on sale!  I will be okay without the pre-access. I will actually be more than ok because I won’t have the ability to trip myself up thinking I need everything I see on sale!  I am going to work hard to enjoy shopping in a new way. I am going to go with cash.”

CC:“No! You can’t leave me for Cash – that dirty green monster – my arch nemesis!”

L: “But yes I must because you are just not good for me.  For all you say you have done for me have you forgotten the 19% interest you would charge me for your part in our relationship. I can see clearly now how much I was actually overpaying for these “deals” I was getting!   Pretty sure all those pre-sale items would have cost me a lot more than their non-sale prices with the interest I was paying each month.  I was blinded by you and all I thought you had to offer me.  But now it’s just not worth it. Our relationship must end and I am going to go to Cash only.

CC: But I do hurt and I sometimes panic over not having you in my life anymore, but I continue to remind myself of the person I want to be and I can’t be that person with you.”

(Lynn takes a deep breath and puts the Nordstrom card in shredding machine slot ) 

“Nooooooo!’

 

The End .

These were Lynn’s comments when she sent me her dialogue:

When I first started to think about having a dialogue with my credit card I was stumped.  How exactly do you have a conversation with a rectangular piece of plastic? But I looked at this plastic and thought about how it made me feel.  It made me feel powerful, yet sometimes guilty…exhilarated…yet frustrated.  I felt trapped and alone, sneaky and wrong.  I knew then that I actually had a relationship with this little piece of plastic that I tucked away into my wallet.  And I also realized that I needed to examine that relationship.  How much time did I spend with that card? How did it make feel?  And most importantly..could I live without it?  

 

I knew that having that card allowed me to be compulsive. I was never accountable because no-one ever saw the bill except me and usually I ignored the bill and just made whatever payment I could make each month. For a long time I was in denial and I wanted to be in denial.  The decision to close not just my Nordstrom card, but also my Saks card was very difficult.  When I was in therapy a few years back I could not bring myself to actually close out those cards.  I used excuses like I didn’t want to lose all the perks I got from the card (the points, etc.).

 

But yet I realized now that if I still kept those cards it would make it too easy for me to slip and fall again.  I needed a lot of help in this journey and I needed to make  over-spending more difficult on myself. I had to disable the ability to be compulsive so it would force me to think longer before purchasing something.

 

In the end, after the card was destroyed I felt both powerful and helpless.  Although proud of myself for doing something I could not do before, I would have panic attacks about not being able to just go buy whatever I wanted.  I even woke up in the middle of the night in a panic over not having the card! And once when I went to make a return at Nordstrom, I felt a strong urge to go and reopen the card and have some shopping fun!  

 

Now it has been several weeks since I “shredded” the card and closed the account.  And it is getting better. I just went back to Nordstrom the other day to return a few items that I had impulsively purchased back during the summer “pre-fall” sale! Things that I “had to have’…were “such a great deal”, but now I looked at them and thought “I don’t really love these things”.  

 

Since my account had been paid off and closed, I received the refund on a Nordstrom gift card.  And I am proud to say that I did not go rush around the store and use it right away!  I can’t say how long I’ll hold onto it, but I am proud that I didn’t just go rush and spend it that day. I feel lighter without the card…hopeful…and without it I know I can’t get myself back into the situation I had. `

 

After reading Lynn’s dialogue and her thoughts about it, I asked her the following questions.

 

1.What kind of frame of mind were you in when you wrote the first part of the dialogue? What was your mood like? Do you remember what your mood was like after you wrote it?

I had closed out my Nordstrom account the day before I wrote the dialogue. I felt that I “had to do this” and I had to do it “quickly” before I changed my mind.  So when I wrote the dialogue I was feeling strong. I had accomplished something big and felt I had jumped over a large hurdle that had been blocking me before. I felt like I had truly begun walking the road to recovery.  I felt courageous! The dialogue had actually been in my head for a day before I wrote it. After completing it I felt like I really had come face to face with a person.  The credit card was now something real and tangible to me. My mood after writing the dialogue was positive. I enjoy writing and being creative but I also felt free. Knowing I could not use this card helped me to believe that I could conquer my compulsive overspending.  In the weeks that followed writing the dialogue I came down from my courageous high.  There were days I felt frustrated that I no longer had the ability to just go on an impromptu shopping spree.  I was scared that I could not buy what I wanted at any given moment.  I felt like a scorned child being punished for bad behavior and having a toy or privilege taken away.

2. After you wrote it, did you read it  more than once?  

 

I did real it several times.  The creative side of me wanted to get across the concept of the relationship I had with debt.  Thinking of debt as an unhealthy relationship really got me thinking.  I am not the type of person to tolerate bad relationships.  I was never one to linger in a friendship or a romance with someone I felt was not right for me.  Yet here I was trapped in this underworld of sneakiness, deceit, desire, and regret.  It became clearer to me that I did not want to be that person anymore.

3. How did writing the dialogue help you to keep your resolve?  

 

The dialogue made the issue more real for me.  I have always been the “good girl”, “rule follower”, “great mom and wife”, “good daughter”. Yet here I was living this secret life that I was not proud of. I realized this is not who I want to be anymore. Going forward having this dialogue to go back and reflect on will be a reminder to me that I don’t want go back into a “bad relationship”.  It will also remind me that I have the strength and I have the power in me. I control the plastic card..it does not control me.

 

In Part II, you’ll be able to listen in on four different commentaries on Lynn’s dialogue with her card, those of her mother, her father, her husband, and her own inner wisdom or higher power.

Common Fall Shopping Mistakes

And Fall Fashions Calling You?

Resources to Help You Resist the Pull!

The end of summer can be one of the most challenging times of year for overshoppers. Three compelling sources: end of summer sales, back-to-school deals, and the new fall fashions all come together at the same time to create the “perfect storm” for compulsive buying chaos.

A few years summers ago, I did a teleseminar with Debbie Roes, who wrote the blog, Recovering Shopaholic: Trade Your Full Closet for a Full Life. On the call, we discussed the three most common mistakes people make as a result of this seasonal pressure and offered many tools, tips, and strategies for successfully handling the strong August pull.

It was so well-received that I wanted to share it with you. To listen to that call, click here

Here is another resource that you can access immediately.

We’ve developed a very affordable, interactive text messaging program for overshoppers and overspenders.  The first of its kind, it’s a way to use technology positively, not to buybut to help those who overbuy online or in bricks and mortar stores.

For more information and to read what others have said about the program, visit http://www.shopaholicnomore.com/text-program/.

May those of you that are challenged by any or all of these seasonal pressures find these resources helpful and the strength to resist! In 2017, with many advances in technology including the use of Apple Pay, Chase Quick Pay, Paypal, Venmo, and many other easily accessible digital methods of paying, the urge to resist buying has only become more challenging. Please allow our resources and help strategies to guide you in your journey to recovery.

Warm regards,

April Lane Benson, Ph.D.

Hypnosis Tapes for Compulsive Buying: One More Useful Tool

Illustration depicting a sign with a hypnotherapy concept.

Few of us still picture hypnosis as it was once featured; pocket watch pendulating, subject getting drowsy, trance induction. While hypnosis has undergone an enormous sea change in the last century, beginning with Freud, it’s therapeutic potential has been evident for over one hundred years. A long-standing arrow in our psychological quiver, the ways we apply hypnosis have continued to grow.  To date, hypnosis has been studied as an effective treatment for pain, anxiety, and mood disorders and has been shown to help individuals combat addictions and change longstanding undesirable habits. As a standalone treatment, it’s unlikely to hit a bullseye; in combination with other tools, techniques, and strategies, however, it can be quite powerful.

While we currently have very little scientific literature regarding the application of hypnosis to compulsive buying behavior, one 2013 study led by researchers at the University of Salento in Italy has made headway by taking a first crack at understanding the relationship between hypnosis and compulsive purchasing.  These researchers developed the concept of Consumer Hypnotic-Like Suggestibility (CHLS), which they defined as “an altered state of consciousness causing a tendency to respond positively to messages aimed at inducing consumers to make unplanned purchases.” The study showed that higher levels of CHLS correlated with higher rates of compulsive buying behaviors.

A high level of suggestibility is a double edged sword; it can be both a part of the problem and a part of the solution.  If you’re someone with high CHLS, you might find yourself more inclined toward overshopping; you’re also likely, though, to be more responsive to making good use of one or both of the hypnosis tapes that are now available to stem the tide of your compulsive buying behavior.

The Stop Compulsive Shopping hypnotherapy tape developed by Bayside Psychotherapy in Australia is an evocative 25 minute MP3 that encourages reflection on the almost absurd lengths to which one might go in order to continue shopping compulsively. The Shopping Addiction and Stop Impulse Buying hypnotherapy tapes created by hypnosis experts at hypnosisdownloads.com promote understanding of the emotions that fuel overshopping and how to productively redirect that emotional energy. Both of these tapes, each in a different way, helps the listener become more attuned to the psychological aspects of his or her compulsive buying behavior and provides yet another tool for creating that all important space between impulse and action, the place where real, lasting change can occur.

Adding this highly affordable tool to the other strategies that you’re using to let go of compulsive buying behavior could be quite empowering. As part of our ongoing mission to enhance the lives of consumers everywhere, half of the commission that Stopping Overshopping, LLC receives will be donated to The Center for a New American Dream.

 

Are you Overshopping or Overspending? Personalized Text Messages Can Help

Shopaholics anScreen Shot 2015-04-13 at 9.26.53 AMd compulsive buyers have a new, affordable resource for help. Stopping Overshopping, LLC has just released an innovative, interactive text-messaging program that directs, inspires, and motivates shopping addicts to stop overshopping. The program is tailored specifically to each participant’s overshopping profile and it provides daily, personalized support when overshoppers need it the most.

Text messaging programs have helped people with a variety of physical and mental health issues, including diabetes self-management, weight loss, physical activity, smoking cessation, and diminished alcohol consumption. Although this area of research and practice is relatively new, there has been consistent evidence that text messaging interventions, particularly those that use tailored messages and offer the user the opportunity to text the system for immediate support, are the most successful. The Stopping Overshopping Text Messaging Program, the first of its kind designed to help compulsive buyers curb their overshopping behavior, incorporates each of these features.

The number and content of the texts vary by day of the week, time of the year, and the individual user’s particular overshopping profile. Program users answer a series of questions when they begin the program that allows the system to personalize their text messages. In addition to these personalized texts, there are special texts on Friday nights and Sundays to help negotiate the transition from week to weekend and back again and special texts the day before and day of the biggest shopping/sale days in the calendar year, such as Black Friday. Special texts point the user to relevant resources to augment his or her progress even further. Many of the texts are culled from the successful, evidence-based Stopping Overshopping Program, which has been shown, in a randomized controlled trial, to significantly reduce compulsive buying behavior.

Program users have the opportunity to text the system 24/7, anytime they have an urge to shop, when they have begun to shop at a bricks and mortar store, or when they have begun to shop online. Users get a return text immediately, which attempts to help them take an all-important pause, during which the system helps to talk them off the precarious emotional ledge upon which they’re standing. Some of these return texts are linked to 1-minute audios recorded by Dr. Benson and other recovering shopaholics who are far along in their own recovery. Ten minutes later, the system texts the user to find out a) whether he/she is still having an impulse or still shopping or b) has now been able to resist. Based on the user’s answer, he or she gets one more text, either congratulatory if the person has been able to resist, or encouraging restraint, if the person still has an urge or is still shopping.

When the doctor’s office calls to remind you of your upcoming appointment, aren’t you much more likely to go? In the same way, these texts serve as thoughtful reminders to keep the appointment you have made with yourself to focus on reducing or eliminating your compulsive buying behavior. Likewise, aren’t you much more likely to go to the gym when you go with a buddy? These texts function as a Shopping Support Buddy, reducing feelings of isolation and aloneness. Offering specific practical strategies for stopping overshopping, the program has the potential to reach thousands of overspenders who are reluctant to publicly acknowledge their problem. It can also be a powerful reinforcer for people who have already taken several steps on the recovery staircase.

Among the positive results reported by beta testers was the feeling that a wise, nurturing friend “had their back.” Using the program helped one overshopper reconsider her motives and take what she called “a sacred pause.” For another, the texts provided the ammunition he needed to shoot down his strongest overspending impulses. A third beta tester said, “Thank you so much for the encouragement and support, via this brilliantly helpful program. These texts have been enormously helpful for me. I didn’t overshop even once after beginning the program.” At a price of $24.95 for three months, the program fills an important gap between self-help options and private coaching or therapy, provides a jumping off point for someone who is just beginning to address his or her shopping problem, and reinforces and augments the gains of coaching or therapy for someone who is already well along the path. To learn more about the program, click here https://www.shopaholicnomore.com/text-program/

For additional questions, feel free to send an email to text@shopaholicnomore.com.

 

How to Cure Your Shopping Addiction

When you’re dealing with a shopping addiction, the experience of shopping is entirely different than just going to the store for groceries or other necessary items. Shopping addicts participate in recreational shopping, spending money just because it feels good or passes time. But like any other bad habit there are ways to break free. Start with prioritizing your goals and look towards having something to achieve. Find other constructive activities to participate in such as exercise, volunteer work, and spending time with friends and family to gain support and experience new things. Breaking this habit won’t happen overnight, but start some new habits and you will feel your addiction lessen.
Read the entire article here: How to Cure Your Shopping Addiction

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If you must use a credit card…some tips for doing so wisely!

In accordance with the American Bankers’ Association, the average American household has $8000 in credit card debt. With credit cards, there’s always the possibility of spending more money than you have. Even if you make your payments on time, if you are merely paying the minimum amount, it may take a decade or more to repay even the nominal balance. A credit card can be an asset, but if handled carelessly, it immediately turns into a liability. Once you start defaulting on credit card payments, you may land in a sea of serious financial problems. Additionally, if you accrue an insurmountable amount of credit card debt and fail to pay it off, not only will it have a negative impact on your credit rating, you may even have to file for bankruptcy.

Many people are tempted to run wild, buying everything that they crave. However, injudicious use of a credit card can create debilitating debt. This is not to say that a credit card should never be used. When used sensibly, it can help build good credit, which makes it easier to obtain mortgages and other kinds of loans in the future. Below are a few simple tips on using a credit card wisely:

Identify your spending habits – Before applying for a credit card, consider how you will use it and set certain guidelines for yourself. You should try to live within your means, stick to your budget, and avoid overbuying. When you do not have the required cash in your bank account for a particular product, don’t purchase it! Ask yourself whether you really need to buy it. If so, postpone the purchase until you have the cash to pay for it.

Check the number of credit cards you have – Each time you apply for a credit card, it is noted by the credit reporting organizations. Applying for too many credit cards can spoil your credit rating by forming the impression that you might be a bit too reliant on them.

Pay your entire balance – When you pay your credit card bills late, or do not pay the total amount, your debt rapidly adds up. Many credit cards have an automatic billing alternative so you can pay the entire amount from your checking account every month. With this automatic payment process, you do not have to remember when your bill is due, and once you start making your payments on time, your credit score will improve.

BUI: Buying Under the Influence

We all know that a DUI can result in major consequences, but what about Buying Under the Influence?  Learn how to catch yourself before you slip!

Well, we’ve just passed the autumnal equinox; summer’s given way to fall. This means we can begin to hope for some relief from the heat. It also means that shopping season is almost upon us. As we approach the season, I’d like to briefly explore a not-so-well-known liaison, the unsavory pairing up of drinking and shopping. It’s a phenomenon we call BUI, or buying under the influence.

It doesn’t take much imagination to read this handwriting on the wall. If you’re a shopper, if you even lean toward overshopping, BUI is something to stay away from. Let’s acknowledge the temptation, whether we’re taking bricks-and-mortar or, especially, the Internet. The “All the Rage” column of the L.A. Times puts it colorfully, noting that Shopbop, the online boutique, “knows all about consumers who click on a Marc Jacobs dress and slur, Hey there, frock. I want to take you home tonight.” The boutique doesn’t, of course, have breathalyzer data—but they know. “People definitely do it all the time, says Shopbop spokeswoman Alle Fister. It’s click, click, click after a few cocktails.” And while most online retailers accept returns, admittedly a less painful way of dealing with morning-after remorse, returns cost time as well as money.

That same column nails it. “The appeal of the BUI is as clear as a shot of Stoli. With every glass, inhibitions and judgment soften. Much like drunk-dialing an ex, the impulse to buy becomes an urge that quickly blurs into a must. Suddenly, that $850 David Yurman amethyst and 18K gold ring doesn’t seem like a silly splurge. It’s a reward.”

Recently, the New York Post ran a story about a city pet store that had to ban drunken puppy-buying. “Customers tend to stumble in after happy hour and purchase a dog without thinking,” the owner of Le Petite Puppy said. She now forbids the inebriated even to hold her puppies, and instructs the more insistent to come back next day.

Joanna Douglas, writing in Shine, offers these sensible caveats.

  1. Don’t drink near your favorite shops.
  2. Don’t day drink.
  3. Avoid late-night infomercials.
  4. Restrict your online use after drinking.
  5. Have a support system.

The bottom line is, drinking and shopping don’t mix, just as drinking and driving don’t. Mindful shopping—the only kind that makes sense—is a way we search for ourselves and our place in the world. It requires judgment, the fine balancing of resources, identity, and need. Drinking clouds all that, leaving us prey to unmediated impulses and unacknowledged needs. Particularly as we head into shopping season, firmly resolve to take good care of yourself this year. When you drink, don’t shop.

 

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Stop Shopping!

Can’t stop shopping insanity? Try shopping your own closet!
Every minute of every day, inside and outside of every closet, there’s a woman who thinks she’s got nothing to wear.

Can you relate?

Every day, closet doors open on rooms full of nostalgia and dream sizes, garments we convince ourselves we’ll one day wear again. These are the “skins”  for who we are—at work, at home, when nobody’s around, on a first date, for our partners, while out shopping, in the park, when we want to be noticed, when we want to hide. These are our psyches, exposed!

We identify with our clothes, and we want our clothes to identify with us.  The relationship you have to your closet can tell you a lot about your shopping habits: are you proud of it, or do you constantly feel betrayed or disappointed by what it offers you?

In the last ten months, I’ve learned about two women who swore off any clothing purchases for an entire year, choosing instead to shop their own closets. One has even developed a program to teach others to do the same.  It seems as though everywhere I turn in my work life, people are coming out of their closets to talk about what’s in them.

 They’re doing this to feel balanced and reasonable, or simply to stop shopping. I began wondering what would happen if I tried to treat my own closet like a clothing boutique.  Maybe I would find some items I really loved, and get rid of some of the clutter.

I’d been meaning to do some reconnaissance in my closet for a number of years—yet was never quite able to get around to it. Then I read an article in a local paper this April about a warm, creative, and competent woman named Eve Cantor, who had recently begun a business helping women explore their closets.  I decided it was time for that long-postponed spring cleaning of mine.

I knew that part of what had kept me from overhauling my own closets was inertia, but a larger part was not wanting to go it alone.  What Eve offers— impeccable taste and the capacity to size up clients(forgive the pun!) and help them put together versatile, reliable, and flattering wardrobes that express their personalities and lifestyles—was exactly what I needed. We decided that she would come over, work on my closet with me, and then we’d each write about the experience. Maybe the experience would be positive enough to motivate overshoppers, with or without a closet support buddy, to do the same.

As the day approached, I noticed a few anxious thoughts: “I don’t shop at Barney’s; I almost never spend that kind of money on my clothes. What’s she going to think of my wardrobe?” or “I haven’t tried on some of this stuff in years; what if it doesn’t even fit anymore?” or “There’s so much in these closets; where are we going to begin and how much can we get to? If we don’t finish, am I going to continue myself or just let the rest go?”

The day of our appointment was perfect for the task at hand. A gentle rain fell on New York, making our indoor transformation seem like an ideal activity – both fun and cozy. Eve began by asking me to set aside the “no-brainers,” those items that I definitely wanted to keep; I’d say that constituted about half my wardrobe. As I tried on the rest of the garments, one by one, Eve showed me how some items could be altered to fit better. For example, one of my favorite jackets has gotten a little snug. Eve suggested this out-of-the box solution: have the zipper removed and replaced with a hook-and-eye closure, and maybe even wear the jacket with a skinny brown belt.

She also demonstrated how I could accessorize some things differently to look better and wear more, like a pair of beige suede slacks that I bought eight  years ago and wore once.  I could never figure out what to wear them with, though I had countless shirts and many belts in my closet as well!

Eve suggested restyling a skirt and two dresses to give them each a new lease on life.  Some items, she thought, had seen better days and were ready to be recycled.  I was delighted to be letting go of them; her encouragement made it painless.

Here’s what Eve had to say when we were done.

—————————-

Hi April,

I enjoyed spending time with you and I hope behind those closet doors you now feel a little lighter and have a better understanding of what you own.

Below is my experience of our work together.

I had the pleasure of joining April Benson in her closet.  She contacted me based on an article recently released about “Shopping Your Closet” in the Bergen Herald. As I arrived in her lovely home I felt like I was floating on a gondola in Venice with the murals of Italian waterways on the walls. This women clearly has style. I knew in this moment I was going to love her closet. We immediately got to work.

I normally do a Spring/Summer or Winter/Fall wardrobe in 3 hours, and once we got into our work we decided to continue the momentum of productivity and completed her entire closet (all seasons) in 5 hours. During this time:

  • April tried on nearly every piece of clothing
  • We discussed openly the positives, negatives, vulnerabilities, missing pieces and accessories, etc. of her wardrobe
  • We envisioned the events where she will maximize all the pieces to give appropriateness to each outfit
  • We donated 30+ pieces that don’t fit the wardrobe anymore to Shelter Our Sisters, a non-profit organization that assists women and children victims of domestic violence
  • We created new, refreshing, stylish outfits with already existing pieces and discussed new ways of wearing them
  • We made many alteration decisions
  • We put together a list of a few accessories and separates that she might want to purchase to maximize the look of existing pieces
  • We swapped out her wire and plastic hangers for new thinner no slip velvet hangers for a cleaner closet look 

I love April’s closet! Every piece is unique and yet they all belong in the same place, with April Benson. Many women like a look and buy that look with small nuances of distinction. This closet is a wardrobe of concise choosing. April is an expert shopper. She hunts for detail and color and has a natural gravitation to classic silhouettes. Her pieces can be worn forever.

While April needed no help in the style category, she seemed to light up with the validation of her wardrobe.  She was thrilled to have a partner to try on clothing with. I felt energized and admired April, appreciated the openness of communication between us, and completely enjoyed the exchange of creative energy that flowed during our time together.

Nice to know you April!

—————————-

And my thoughts on the experience?

I’ve noticed that:

  • I really like seeing some empty spaces in my shoe racks.
  • I don’t miss anything I’ve let go of.
  • I could imagine letting go of a few more things if I don’t wear them within the next year.
  • Now I have a desire to go through all the t-shirts, shells, camisoles, and sweaters, and pare those down too.
  • Even though they don’t take up that much physical space, the more belts, scarves, stockings, lingerie, and jewelry stuff I have, the more brain space it takes.
  • I’m delighted to know that things now sitting undisturbed in my closet will lead an active, healthy life with somebody else.
  • I do feel lighter and want to keep it that way.
  • Altering things I already own to make them feel modern and comfortable makes my closet a much happier place! 

Mission accomplished!

To make an appointment with Eve, you can visit her website: www.ShopYourClosetNow.com, or call her at 646-584-7540

For more information about the work that Eve has done, click here.

 

 

Shop Your Own Closet?

Every minute of every day, inside and outside of every closet, there’s a women who thinks she’s got nothing to wear.

Can you relate?

Every day, closet doors open on rooms full of nostalgia and dream sizes, garments we convince ourselves we’ll one day wear again. These are the “skins” for who we are—at work, at home, when nobody’s around, on a first date, for our partners, while out shopping, in the park, when we want to be noticed, when we want to hide. These are our psyches, exposed!

What seems never to be discussed in the media is the relationship that we have with our closets: attachment or pride or joy, for example, or disconnection or betrayal or disappointment. What is happening here? We are identifying with our clothes. To say it another way, we want our clothes to identify with us.

In the last ten months, I’ve run two 12-session Stopping Overshopping groups, worked with a number of individual overshopping clients, and learned about two women who swore off any clothing purchases for an entire year, choosing instead to shop their own closets. (One has even developed a program to teach others to do the same. ) It seems as though everywhere I turn in my work life, people are coming out of their closets to talk about what’s in them. They’re doing this to feel balanced and reasonable, orto put the brakes on overshopping.

One useful strategy they use is to count the items of a particular class that they’ve overbought: shoes, perhaps, or maybe scarves or sweaters.For Lois, iterating a staggering 122 summer dresses certainly brought home the fact that she had far more than she needed or wore. Less dramatic counts had the same effect on others. Some clients have sold their overages on eBay; others gave things away by the dozen.

Clearly, I believe that closet reconnaissance is a mission worth completing. It’s something I’d been meaning to do for a number of years—yet never quite happened to get around to. Then I read an article in a local paper this April about a warm, creative, and competent woman named Eve Cantor, a former buyer at upscale Barneys and former women and children’s boutique owner who’d recently begun a business helping women explore their closets. I decided it was time for that long-postponed spring cleaning of mine.

I knew that part of what had kept me from overhauling my own closets was inertia, but a larger part was not wanting to go it alone.What Eve offers— impeccable taste and the capacity to size up (forgive the pun!) clients and help them put together versatile, reliable, and flattering wardrobes that express their personalities and lifestyles—exactly filled the bill. We decided that she’d come, we’d work together on my closet, and then we’d each write about the experience. Maybe the experience would be positive enough to motivate overshoppers, with or without a closet support buddy, to do the same.

As the day approached, I noticed a few anxious thoughts: “I don’t shop at Barney’s; I almost never spend that kind of money on my clothes. What’s she going to think of my wardrobe?” or “I haven’t tried on some of this stuff in years; what if it doesn’t even fit anymore?” or “There’s so much in these closets; where are we going to begin and how much can we get to? If we don’t finish, am I going to continue myself or just let the rest go?”

The actual day couldn’t have been more conducive to the task at hand. A gentle rain fell on New York, offering us a nurturing cocoon for the metamorphosis. Eve began by asking me to set aside the “no-brainers,” those items that I definitely wanted to keep; I’d say that constituted about half my wardrobe. As I tried on the rest of the garments, one by one, Eve showed me how some items could be altered to fit better. For example, the first picture is me trying on one of my favorite jackets; it’s gotten a little snug. Eve suggested this out-of-the box solution: have the zipper removed and replaced with a hook-and-eye closure, and maybe even wear the jacket with a skinny brown belt.

She also demonstrated how I could accessorize some things differently to look better and wear more.The second photo is of me wearing a pair of beige suede slacks that I bought eight or nine years ago and wore only once:I never could figure out what to wear them with, though I had the shirt and belt that you see in the picture in my closet as well! Eve suggested restyling a skirt and two dresses to give them each a new lease on life.Some items, she thought, had seen better days and were ready to be recycled.I was delighted to be letting go of them; her encouragement made it painless.

Here’s what Eve had to say when we were done.

Hi April,

I enjoyed spending time with you and I hope behind those closet doors you now feel a little lighter and have a better understanding of what you own.

Below is my experience of our work together.

I had the pleasure of joining April Benson in her closet.  She contacted me based on an article recently released about “Shopping Your Closet” in the Bergen Herald. As I arrived in her lovely home I felt like I was floating on a gondola in Venice with the murals of Italian waterways on the walls. This women clearly has style. I knew in this moment I was going to love her closet. We immediately got to work.

I normally do a Spring/Summer or Winter/Fall wardrobe in 3 hours, and once we got into our work we decided to continue the momentum of productivity and completed her entire closet (all seasons) in 5 hours. During this time:

  • April tried on nearly every piece of clothing
  • We discussed openly the positives, negatives, vulnerabilities, missing pieces and accessories, etc. of her wardrobe
  • We envisioned the events where she will maximize all the pieces to give appropriateness to each outfit
  • We donated 30+ pieces that don’t fit the wardrobe anymore to Shelter Our Sisters, a non-profit organization that assists women and children victims of domestic violence
  • We created new, refreshing, stylish outfits with already existing pieces and discussed new ways of wearing them
  • We made many needed alteration suggestions
  • We put together a list of a few accessories and separates

that she might want to purchase to maximize the look of existing pieces

  • She swapped out her wire and plastic hangers for new thinner no slip velvet hangers for a cleaner closet look

I love April’s closet! Every piece is unique and yet they all belong in the same place, with April Benson. Many women like a look and buy that look with small nuances of distinction. This closet is a wardrobe of concise choosing. April is an expert shopper. She hunts for detail and color and has a natural gravitation to classic silhouettes. Her pieces can be worn forever.

While April needed no help in the style category, she seemed to light up with the validation of her wardrobe.  She was thrilled to have a partner to try on clothing with. I felt energized and admired April, appreciated the openness of communication between us, and completely enjoyed the exchange of creative energy that flowed during our time together.

Nice to know you April!


Okay… so how was it for me, really?

What I’ve noticed:

1.I really like seeing some empty spaces in my shoe racks.

2.I don’t miss anything I’ve let go of.

3.I could imagine letting go of a few more things if I don’t wear them within the next year.

4.Now I have a desire to go through all the t-shirts, shells, camisoles, and sweaters, and pare those down too.

5.Even though they don’t take up that much physical space, the more belts, scarves, stockings, lingerie, and jewelry stuff I have, the more brain space it takes.

6.I’d be delighted to know that things now sitting passively in drawers and on hooks in my closet will lead an active, healthy life with somebody else.

7.I do feel lighter and want to keep it that way.

Mission accomplished!

For more information about Eve Cantor, click here.

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