Step one: admit you have a problem. Hi, my name is Stephanie, and I am addicted to shoes.
I am in love with shoes, the kind of love where I’d buy shoes instead of groceries. The kind of love where I walk into a store, see a shoe from afar, picture myself in an outfit and have to buy it kind of love. But now, being faced with a closet full of shoes I rarely wear, I ask myself, “is this where I really put all of my money?”
It’s comparable to that moment in Sex and the City when Carrie is going to get kicked out of her apartment if she doesn’t buy it and is shocked to realize she’s spent $40,000 on shoes. Then, in a time of monetary need, she has nothing in savings and a closet full of expensive footwear to blame.
Often I wonder if I’m going to have to have this terrible moment of clarity. Now that I live with my boyfriend in a HOUSE (read: not an apartment) I now share financial responsibility with a very financially responsible man who no doubt is a much better saver than I. Would I be prepared for a household disaster? What more could I offer up than a pair of Rachel Roys if God forbid an appliance broke? A hurricane did damage to the house? My car died?
I suppose this whole thought process is a very accurate depiction of how I have grown up financially over the last few years. Before, I’d go online shopping, see a pair of shoes I loved and convince myself my life wouldn’t be the same without them in my closet. It was no matter that I’d probably only wear them once, to a dark and dingy bar where nobody is bothering to look at my feet anyway, and they’d come home smelling like bad pick up lines and cigarettes. Now I find myself asking a question I never thought I’d think of, let alone ask myself: “Stephanie, do you absolutely NEED those shoes, or do you just really really want them?” Hint: the answer is usually (sadly) the latter. I’ve learned to starting giving up the shoe addiction and thus save my money for bigger and better things with better payoff.
Truthfully, I’ve learned that there’s a gap my shoe addiction can’t fill. When I buy a pair of shoes, I feel that moment of instant gratification and tell myself I’m going to love and cherish them and wear them everyday. The reality? I put them on, complain the whole time about how bad my feet hurt, and can’t wait to get home and kick them back into the closet where they belong, sitting there on display behind a closed closet door. Shoes can’t give me that warm fuzzy feeling I get when I’ve spent my money on ingredients to bake a birthday cake for my boyfriend. They can’t excite me in the way that saving up for a huge patio project can. Honestly, I can’t stare at my closet full of shoes and really tell myself that each and every pair was an excellent investment, but when I walk into the living room in our house or our garden out front I couldn’t be more happy that I put my money towards those things.
As I’m entering this new chapter in my life, so many of my priorities are changing, including financial ones. I’ve learned a ton about managing finances from my boyfriend, and I’ve learned even more from making my own financial mistakes. Now I’d gladly trade in those fabulous heels for a new patio, kitchen remodel, or on ingredients for a romantic meal at home. Besides, who says I can’t look fabulous doing yardwork in my rubber garden shoes?