My favorite things in life are delivered directly to my doorstep: pizza and clothing. When I turned 16, I got my first debit card and PayPal account. I used it sparingly at first, only ordering things when I had extra money from a birthday or Christmas. The more email lists I signed up for, the more I was sucked in. Every day I would receive a dozen emails about free shipping, great sales, and even cash back. Today, I’m signed up to almost 100 different email lists. I get hundreds upon hundreds of emails every day from different stores that convince me I need things that I really do not. I’m not addicted to drugs, alcohol, or dangerous activities – I’m addicted to online shopping.
I truly believe in retail therapy. I like to treat myself, and I find that I do the most shopping before I leave for work in the morning when I’m dreading going, or right before I go to sleep after a rough day. It makes me feel better knowing that even if my day isn’t the best, there are good things coming my way.
It started off slow at first. In high school, I did a lot of shopping on eBay and Amazon. I would get small things, usually only spending $20 or so at a time. I would order nail polish (did you know Essie is usually $5 or $6 on Amazon, instead of $8 or $9 at Target and Ulta?) and a variety of small accessories. Today, the stakes have gotten higher. At this point, I’m spending about $500+ a month exclusively online. This is not counting any trips that I take to the mall or local shops.
Granted, I make more than I did when I was 16 and I never spend money I don’t have, but this online shopping addiction has actually become a problem. If I work an extra 30 minutes than normal at work or I get a bonus, I’m already plotting what I’m going to spend that extra money on. At any given moment, I have a wish list of five to ten items that I am planning on buying. I can literally justify buying anything, with some sort of twisted logic I use against myself.
My most recent online purchases have been some of my more embarrassing decisions. It was a rough day and my retail therapy needs got the best of me. Before work last week, I bought a pair of shorts at 6:30 in the morning. On break at work the same day, I ordered a new purse and two pairs of shoes. As I’m typing this article, I have at least three packages waiting on my doorstep.
Other than the email lists, there are a couple of other main culprits that fuel my online shopping addiction: Tumblr and Pinterest. They both show pages upon pages of cute outfits that I end up lusting over. With Tumblr, I reblog the photo of the fashion item I like and then I usually go back and look at it a million and one times before I finally buy it (“finally” usually meaning within the same week of seeing the item).
Although my addiction can sometimes be frustrating, the retail therapy aspect of it works out well for me and as long as I don’t let this addiction get too serious and start spending money I don’t have, I really don’t think it’s the worst addiction out there. In the future, I will hopefully become better at budgeting or just not let myself online shop more than once or twice a week. For now, though, I will continue to online shop at all hours and unwrap my packages like they’re year-round Christmas gifts.