The beginning of 2020 marked my transition to a new way of life, both because of the sudden shift to isolation after the pandemic hit and the fact that I had been given unrestricted and all-powerful access to my own credit card for the very first time mere months before.
The idea of ‘buy now, pay later’ victimizes many young cardholders, and I was no different. Spending every waking moment online bombarded by advertisements, there was no escape from the inevitable: I became a shopaholic. During this time, I was also anticipating my move to Bucknell by watching every college essentials YouTube video out there. By August, an average of five packages were showing up on the doorstep each day. My spending habits were horribly out of control.
We all thought this shopping obsession would subside once I got to my tiny dorm room and realized what many of you probably already have: that the space does not allow for this habit. Just one month into school, though, my 75 “Dining Dollars” were all spent, the 200 “Campus Dollars” were not far behind, and my bank balance was quickly diminishing. If you can relate to any of this, you may have a shopping problem.
The first step to recovery is acknowledgement, so congratulations—if you are still reading, you have made it this far! I will be the first to admit that this process is challenging, but in all likelihood it will be completely worth it when our future selves are financially stable.
In the months since that year-long spending spree, I have been able to curb my shopping habits slightly. Removing all shopping sites from the bookmark bar and unsubscribing from their persistent emails reduces the temptation to purchase every nifty gadget you see on TikTok. Less time on Instagram and similar platforms means less exposure to “irresistible” new products, so finding other ways to spend time during the rare moments when college students are free does wonders to lessen stress/convenience scrolling on Forever 21. As the days become colder, taking up a hobby such as painting, photography, or music could help pass the time in a productive and enjoyable way.
Allotting a healthy amount of fun and frivolity when it comes to treating oneself is a healthy practice. This might mean a reasonable monthly budget and/or easy access to your bank account via an app. Try not to spend your limited funds on just anything. Instead, ask yourself whether you would actually use a certain item and feel good having done so. Fads change often, so skipping one once in a while is not a big deal. Remember, it is okay to be a shopaholic—just be a responsible one! By implementing these steps, a happier and healthier lifestyle is sure to follow.