Friday

#269 // I finally cleared my credit card. And then spent £400 on clothes.

This month, I cleared a credit card balance I'd been too weak-willed to shift for ages.

And so, what did I do to celebrate? Spent £400 on clothes and shoes and pretty house things and beauty products, that's what.

£60 was planned clothing spend, as I needed new jeans (gotta love them thick thighs for destroying denim so quickly). There was a £98 spend on beauty items on the list, some wishlist items I'd had my eye on and some general Boots bits, which was offset by some birthday money I'd been given.

But the rest? Pure gluttony, lack of self-control and things I just felt looked pretty and wanted.

At first it felt weird to be making such a quick succession of transactions, especially when I've really been tightening my belt for the last year or so. But it also felt good and familiar. Hello exhilarating rush to the brain with each next day delivery that landed on my desk. The weight of the bags, the outfit possibilities, the scent of newness.

But after the third delivery in as many days turned up at the office, it started to feel icky and embarrassing (to the point where I was actively hiding deliveries under my desk and away from the eyes of work colleagues).

Cue major, major midweek low, knowing that I could feel myself drifting out of control. Really, there are only two things that can pull me that low, make me question my entire life, and have me comparing myself and lamenting about le fuq I've been doing with my life, and those thing are money and body image. These are the two areas of life that I have to keep tabs on, because it's all too easy for me to get in my feelings about and then make bad decisions off of the back of.

And then a well timed guest post came up on Cait Flanders' website about the real reasons behind spending:

Oftentimes what we’re buying isn’t actually what we’re buying at all. We buy material things in an attempt to satisfy our desires for greater, less tangible pursuits. There might be many reasons we do this, but one is the most important, and that is fear. We fear the thing we want; we find it to be so big, or our own hunger for it so intimidating, that we choose surrogate objects because they’re more attainable. Safer. These proxies will never be enough - CAITFLANDERS.COM

What was I really buying then? I think I'm still trying to buy a lifestyle that I can't yet afford. I think I'm tired of saying no to things and trying to do right by myself, instead giving in and buying for my fantasy self. You know, the self that's somewhere off in the future, always out of reach. That woman doesn't need to watch her money like a hawk, that woman can enjoy disposable income. That woman feels financially stable. I am not that woman yet.

But I am also no longer the woman who spends in an out of control fashion, with a buy now, regret it later mentality. I am a woman with financial dreams and aspirations of owning a home and a car, having a family, giving with an ever-increasing generous nature and being at ease with my financial decisions.

The plan was to keep the card empty for a couple of months so that my credit utilisation percentage went down, but I don't think that's going to work for me. I'll have to take the hit on my monthly credit report update, and just rest in the more important fact that the amount is going down.

Let me tell you: nothing says, 'you played yourself' more than coming back to the same roundabout you've finally gotten off of. But, as the old adage goes, it's not how many times your fall down, it's how many you get back up. So it's back on the horse I go, end goal back in place and firmly in sight.

Update: I have returned £254.50 worth of stuff and my credit card balance sits at £86.00, and I so feel much better for taking back control and putting things back in perspective.