Your bank account called, it said “put down the shoes”

(source)

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?

What have you given up as a result of becoming financially independent? Have your priorities changed in terms of where you put your money? Are you shifting from a spender to a saver?

33 thoughts on “Your bank account called, it said “put down the shoes”

  1. thestatestreetedit

    I’m so happy I’ll have read your financial posts before I’m actually financially independent – your shoe buying rationale is so spot on! But you’re right – money spent on investments (like your patio) or experiences is money that is worth the memories you’ll have because it was spent. If all you remember from buying the shoes is painful feet, that’s what your money bought you. I definitely want to shift towards saving – thanks so much for these posts! I hope you keep them coming, since they make me feel like I’m not the only one learning about financial responsibility and (maybe – eek!) feeling a little embarrassed about bad spending habits.

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Haha, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to justify shoe purchases that just should not have happened! It makes me feel good for 5 seconds and then I’m like oh, shoot…I forgot I needed to buy gas to put in my car. And that is so true, spending money on experiences and things with long lasting value (like home improvements) is so much more rewarding in the end. And trust me, I never thought I’d hear myself say these things let alone really mean them. I will definitely keep things like this coming, I’m super glad you can relate…and I’m also glad I’m not the only one who has a bit of a shopping problem!

      Reply
  2. albucco10

    You are SO right, Steph! I don’t know if it’s exactly shoes for me–but maybe just clothes in general. I have a lot of beautiful things already, but I’ll convince myself that I absolutely need that sweater/top/pair of shoes/bag (…although now thinking of my closet, maybe it IS shoes..) and then I will think about it and think about it (and think about it) until I just cave and buy it. I know there’s a part of me that will never NOT love getting new things, but you’re right, with great responsibility ($$) comes lots of thinking about not buying that pair of shoes. What helps me: I try to make sure I don’t buy anything that I can’t imagine going with at LEAST five outfits that are currently in my closet–not things I wants, but things I already have. I don’t buy trendy items over $75-$100 and I will literally wear a pair of boots until my feet are scraping the ground before I buy a new pair. If all else fails I just ask myself: Are you OK with not eating this entire week if you buy this item. Usually the answer is yes.

    xo,
    Alyssa
    The Glossy Life

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      No matter the “addiction,” I think the feeling is the same. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go cold turkey and stop buying shoes or clothes, because I also love the “new” feeling, but I have been able to step back and really look at my finances and re-prioritize. Putting my money into projects or experiences that I can enjoy for longer than the duration of a party or night out wearing new pumps has definitely been a lot more rewarding for me in the long run. I guess it’s all part of growing up! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

      Reply
  3. cravingforbarneys

    I don’t earn enough money to live by myself so luckily I ask my parents for help from time to time! In Spain, salaries are incredible low and it’s impossible to pay for insurance, food, home and the like with just one salary… Moreover I’m addicted to shoes and bags!!!

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Wow – I didn’t know it was like that! At least you have your parents to help you out, that makes a huge difference. My parents were TOTALLY there for me when I was having trouble with money and I know they always will be. I am so grateful for that.

      Reply
  4. Amy Shaughnessy

    When I lived on my own I was never really able to splurge on anything. Money was tight so it was just the necessities for me. As I have gotten older, I have been able to spend a little more on frivolous things but it has started to become addicting. I have to be very careful!

    Amy

    Fashion and Beauty Finds

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      I can definitely see how that could happen! When I first was out on my own I realized that my money was my own. I’d earned it and felt like it was ok to reward myself and buy new clothes and shoes. But what I wasn’t realizing was that I was prioritizing that OVER my necessities – like food and gas and bills. It’s totally easy to become addicted to buying new things, but it’s good that you know to be careful!

      Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      It’s hard to give up on something you love so much! But as I get older my priorities have totally shifted. I know it’s for the better, and at least I have a closet full of great shoes to work with from my not-so-smart spending days.

      Reply
  5. Danielle

    Two things that I think comfort me, but are only instant gratification: shopping and food

    NOT GOOD! I have had a stressful past few days and I turned to both of those things.

    Right now we are trying to save up for a move next year (out of state) so I need to focus on that and not spend money so impulsively.

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Those are my comforts too! Except instead of food it’s mostly just chocolate. Whenever I am having a bad day I always want to immediately turn to shopping…and online makes it so easy to buy on impulse. I’m definitely guilty. I find that if I put something in my shopping bag and calculate shipping, it’s easier to talk myself off the ledge. The longer I spend trying to justify a purchase, the clearer it becomes that I don’t really need it. It’s hard to walk away sometimes, but I’ve got a great wardrobe to work with already!

      Reply
  6. crazystylelove

    Such a great post! Our priorities definitely change as we age and move through stages of life. I bought all of my expensive handbags and shoes when I still lived with my parents and could afford those things. Now that I’m living with my Man, I’ve definitely had to cut back the frivolous spending. Mind you, I’m still so glad that I spent all that money on shoes and bags because I will have and wear them for many years to come. I still love buying shoes, but I’ve just cut back to be able to afford other things, such as great furniture. I always be a shopper, but now my life is just a little more balanced.

    xo Jenny
    http://www.crazystylelove.com

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      I pretty much have the same story as you! Except I way buying shoes and probably couldn’t really afford them…oops. My boyfriend has taught me a lot about saving and managing money in general which has been a great way for me to improve my own spending/saving habits. I’ll probably never be able to give up shoes altogether, but I know I have some wonderful pairs to work with for years and years like you said. Shoe size never changes, so I’ll always have them!

      Reply
  7. Always Maylee

    I’ve always been more of a saver… which is funny since I’m a shopaholic too. But the key, for me at least, is that I don’t buy ‘luxury’ items. Sales, bargains, and inexpensive stores are my friend. Now that I’m married and have a mortgage for a house to pay for, it’s harder to fund my shopping habits!

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      I’m totally the same way. I try to shop at inexpensive places and won’t spend over a certain amount for certain items. I technically could still fund my addiction each month, but I choose to resist the urge and build up my savings instead. Living in a house requires way more financial stability than living in an apartment, if something breaks we’ve got to come up with the money to fix it!

      Reply
  8. Skylette of SequinsNStilettos

    I love your insight Stephanie! This was such a great post as I have found myself in not so great situations when I was younger because of overspending- a in our first dryer going out and nothing in savings to scoop up another- yep, that put things in perspective really fast since hanging everythig from socks to towels is NOT ideal. 😉

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Agreed! I’m trying to get ahead of it now and prepare myself for those kinds of things, because I KNOW it will happen eventually. I’m glad to be saving more and spending less, and spending only on things with lasting value. Besides, it makes me appreciate mini shopping trips more when they’re much more infrequent. 🙂

      Reply
  9. lffashionable

    I totally hear you on this one. It is a tough battle. Ultimately I try to think ahead to the payoff if I don’t buy the shoes. I’m working on saving up for a house so I usually put down the shoes in favor of the idea of my own place. 🙂

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      I’m the same way – except I’m saving up for a patio project next year and just trying to build up my savings. I know that both of those things can make me feel happier than a new pair of shoes in the long run!

      Reply
  10. Gma Max

    WOW!! Great lessons to learn at 23 and not at 53 when you have no time left to save for retirement or a trip of a lifetime. Recognizing changing priorities is such an important lesson and besides you have wonderful shoe memories 🙂 You are a fabulous woman! Love, Gma

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      I’m glad you were able to relate and take something away from it! It’s impossible not to slip up and buy something sometimes, but changing your priorities when it comes to money is definitely important.

      Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      It’s so funny how these things change as we get older! I never thought saving up for home improvements would be so enjoyable and fun for me, but it’s so much more rewarding than new clothes and shoes. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Emily grapes

    I’m an inbetweener. I spend and save. At the beginning of the year, I needed every penny I could get, so I didn’t spend at all. now that things are better, I find myself spending more, but also capping it (sorta). I get paychecks from 3 different companies. I have finally made it where 1 companies checks go straight into savings and currently live on the other 2. But NOW I’m going to make the step (either Sept or Oct) to live only on 1 of the companies checks.

    i have to tell myself that I don’t need to live on so much, that 1 is plenty for me, but again, I like to spend. =D its a slow process. But seriously, I’m saving up for something big and want to get there quickly, so saving for big things really does pay off..though, whenever you get to the point of getting it, its so much money, its hard to pull the trigger. haha
    (long comment over) 😉
    Emily at Amazing Grapes

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      It’s so funny how if we get a raise we tell ourselves we’re going to have so much extra money, then we just find a way to spend all the extra somehow! It’s hard to live off of less after you’ve been used to getting more…that was definitely hard for me when I got a new job in FL making less than what I used to. I have a money envelope I have been storing my cash in for our patio project and it’s kind of out of sight out of mind that way…I think when it’s time to actually execute the project I’ll be shocked to see all the money I saved. But it will be great motivation for me to realize I am capable of saving after all! 🙂

      Reply
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