Retail Masturbating My Way To Financial Responsibility

A few weeks ago, I began to yen for a new jacket. A quilted one to be exact. It was going to “MAKE” my winter wardrobe. I had just buckled and added a pair of those duck boots to my wardrobe, and this was the next essential item…


So, as you can see, I was already tripping down the slippery slope to a retail orgy when I stumbled on fashionista catnip. The blog Classy Girls Wear Pearls exemplifies everything I want to look like. A modern day Jackie O, who likely doesn’t snort when she laughs or schlep around her house with her curly mane held down with a million bobby pins and hair ties. This women is Classy with a capital “C” and I want to be her.

Set aside for a moment all that the above mental vomit tells you about my self image, and understand how destructive this desire can be for my wallet. Unlike folks who might be forced to be fiscally responsible, I know I have the discretionary income to feed my crazy desires to buy stuff that Classy lady endorses on her website. I don’t need the money for food or lodging, so it is pretty easy for me to rationalize the need to trip out of my house (or onto the interweb) to buy that cute J. Crew trench coat. Suddenly the siren song of F.I. is a lot softer in my ears, and the much MUCH louder voice of retail therapy is clearly telling me how Classy Lady’s life can be mine if I only bought a few – okay, a lot – of things that make her look très chic.

So, before you can say Mr. Money Mustache thrice I found myself at Macy’s…and Anne Taylor Loft….and shoving stuff in my virtual cart at J. Crew. Nom nom nom.

She’s lost you say. And you haven’t heard from me for a few months, so it’s not entirely illogical for you to think that I fell of the fiscally responsible wagon. But, you’d be wrong. You’d be wrong because you’d forget about this new – and not entirely desired – new frugal habit I seem to have developed.

In each store – both virtual and real – I’d shove things and things and stuff in my cart and then I’d literally get to the check out counter and ….fail. It was like having some odd disease where I simply was unable to spend my well earned money on ridiculous odds and ends that I clearly didn’t need. Somewhere around No Spend November, and around No Spend Holidays, I’d developed a an inability to spend irresponsibly. Now, I’m obviously not completely reformed and I don’t particularly want to test myself too hard but I do seem to have a new found reticence to engage in frivolous shopping sprees. Not bad.

Along the way I also discovered that the act of browsing and filling up my cart was a form of retail masturbation (Yes, yes…go ahead and panic at the word but it’s appropriate here). It gives me all the thrills of the real deal without the off chance of picking up a bad case of gonorrhea (or in this case, burning my credit cards into the red).

Anyways, I hope this trick is helpful to you as it seems to be to me. If it isn’t, chalk up “retail masturbation” in your phrase of the day book and move on.

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