Shopping Ban Update: One Year Later

(For the entire Shopping Ban saga, click here.)

I think we’re overdue for a shopping ban update, but things have been a little wild and wooly lately, as you’ll soon read … so hopefully you can forgive the lapse.

When last I wrote about my post-ban activity, I’d been having a tough time saving. At this point, I’m having a tough time checking my spending … but I have done A LOT to ensure that I’m saving more. As usual, though, I’m gonna hit you with the bad news first.

I got an unexpected wad of tax return money a few months back, and although I had grand plans to pay down some debts and sock it away for an upcoming trip, that didn’t happen. Not a dime of it remains. And, as often happens when I encounter a large windfall, I have had a hard time reigning in the spending of my miscellaneous income SINCE then. The Sunday Shoes feature will continue full force for many, many weeks to some thanks to the recent – and even ongoing – binge.

And it may sound like rationalization, and maybe it is, but let me tell you, my dears, it has been a tough six months. Tough. My sister became very ill over the holidays. I was having almost daily panic attacks for a while. I became depressed and gained unexpected weight. I found out I’m glucose intolerant and basically need to stop eating sugar and carbs. I became an insomniac quite suddenly, partially due to chronic back pain. I’ve been battling some … ehem … ladyparts problems for nearly a year. I fell out with several close friends within the space of a few months. All of that on top of working a full time job, keeping up the blog, Shop Local Shops, style consult clients, reader mail, and several other projects I’ve got in the hopper. Not to mention going to the gym four times per week, trying to maintain a social life, and tending to my marriage.

Now I don’t use this space to vent or throw myself pity parties, and as I said above I realize that none of these events entitles me to an endless shopping spree. Nor will any of these events be made better by an endless shopping spree. But at a certain point? I’ll do anything to make myself feel a wee bit better. Shopping helps, at least momentarily. Bringing something undeniably good into my world, treating myself to something that makes me feel pretty – all temporary balms. Is that healthy? Fuck no. But I’m not binge drinking or smoking weed or hurting anyone. I’m paying ALL my bills, I’m not debting a dime, and as you’ll see below I am actually saving far more than ever before. So I’m gonna cut myself some slack and hope that better times are coming, and with them, decreased shoe purchases.

Now. Let’s talk accomplishments.

Many of you recommended funneling money into a separate account, one that I couldn’t touch. That is the smartness. And, as it turns out, I had an account just waiting to be used. When I took out my car loan at our credit union, I had to set up a savings account there. It had been languishing with the requisite $10 in it, and I figured it would be the perfect place to squirrel away some cash. Mainly because I have NO FLIPPIN’ IDEA how to withdraw anything from it. I’d have to actually go to a branch and talk to someone, and even then I’m not so sure I could pry the dollars loose. Ideal, no? I’m only socking $30 per paycheck into that account, but it’s been really fun to see the balance grow. And I hope to increase that amount soon.

I have also been able to save in my normal cash savings account on a regular basis, and without making too many shoe-related withdrawls. In fact, I had enough in there that, when HM and I finally settled on dates for our upcoming trip to Iceland (!), I could easily fork over the $800 without feeling as if I had emptied my personal coffers. I will now have to put some focus on saving for the remaining trip costs, which is already proving difficult. But I am excited to travel for the first time in years, and that’s a big motivator. (See this post for an explanation of why I have been loathe to travel recently.)

Finally, my car loan AND student loan will both be paid off within the next month. I’ll still have a my credit card debt, but once that’s gone I will be free of personal debt. And what’s more? I am excited to have cash freed up that I can start putting into my various retirement accounts. Yes, indeed, I am excited to save!

I have hope, ya know? I’m still in a tough spot right now, but it doesn’t feel permanent. It feels like I am in the middle of some hard life changes and turning to an old addiction to ease the transition. I am aware of what’s going on, and why I’m buying, buying, buying. And that awareness has gotta be worth something.

- – – – -

Once again, I’m going to ask you all to be respectful and kind in these comments. This is a difficult and deeply personal matter for me. More so, in some ways, than body image. In my last post on this topic, I got an outpouring of support and incredibly helpful suggestions, which I both appreciated and applied (as you read above). But in the past, I have been lambasted and judged for my honesty in these shopping ban/financial posts, so I am eternally wary. As I said six months ago, you may think countless nasty things about me because of how I’ve handled my post-ban behavior and finances, but I will not publish those nasty things here under any circumstances.

  • nestra

    We all have certain habits that make us feel better, at least you have something to show for your behavior.

    Congrats on paying off your student loans – of that I am jealous.

  • Meli22

    I always enjoy reading your shopping ban updates. the shopping ban and the insight you (and we) gained was the reason why I first started following your blog!

    I have to say, I totally admire your honesty. I didn't know things were so difficult in your personal life, you do a good job of masking it. There is a lot of gluten intolerance in my family, so I know how difficult that can be- my best wishes to you. I REALLY hope your sister gets well soon!!! And as for the ladyparts issue, I can say I have battled off an on some non-chronic issues of my own, and I must say it's the absolute WORST. I really can't blame you for how you've handled all this- I think most of us would have done a lot worse in the situation!!!

    All in all, I think your post shows you as a rational, conscientious person who is trying her best. I hope for better things for you too- there has got to be light at the end of the tunnel!!

  • Renee

    my husband had trouble saving before he met me, and i think its really hard to transition into that kind of thinking and lifestyle, so congratulations on all you've accomplished so far! putting just a little bit back each month can add up So quickly!

  • Mrs. Windler

    Wow, Sal, what a brave post. Let me assure you that EVERYONE deals with hard life situations, depression, disappointment, and transition, in ways that may not be 100% healthy (by others' standards). This includes the people who criticize you for shopping. They have their own ways of dealing with life's challenges, and the fact that they come on here and make a point of picking on YOU means they aren't being honest with themselves about their own coping mechanisms. So anyway, chin up, and know that you provide so many of your readers with something to look forward to everyday. Hang in there.

  • La Historiadora de Moda

    I'm really sorry to read about your sister and your illness. I hope that it doesn't take french fries completely off the table!

    I think it's wonderful that you are doing a better job of saving and that you had saved up enough to pay for your plane ticket without feeling like you broke the bank! Keep it up with that other savings account, too!

    Thanks for such an honest post.

  • fröken lila

    personally, i think you're doing a great job with the blog. a lot of other people (including myself) would have given it up facing so much in their life. so i give you two very enthusiastic thumbs up!

    and now: when exactly are you going to iceland? i'm asking because my boyfriend and i are planning on travelling there as well, in the end of july. if you're going there before, i'd love to get some advice on what to do, and if you happe to be there at the same time as we, i'd love to meet up!

  • Erin

    Honestly Sal, thanks so much for sharing about your shopping habits.
    After reading the series I've found that I'm the same way, instead of the usual eating, smoking, drinking or sleeping off my bad moods, I pull out the credit card.
    Your series made me aware of that, and I've been getting better, but I think we're allowed to slip up every once in a while when there's life turmoil.
    People would understand someone digging into a pint of icecream, I think they would also understand a pair of beautiful stilettos.
    At least the shoes last longer, no?

  • Bridget

    Sigh…as with exercise, food, and education, money is one of those things that you *know* what one should do about in the general sense (eg, eat fruit, make sure to lift weights, save money) but figuring out which things that YOU should do takes a long, long, LONG time.

    I am perfectly aware that I should be eating more bean-based protein and keep taking my women's vitamins to deal with anemia. I have no quarrel with this argument, I understand perfectly why it's there, but for me this is SO HARD. For me. The key word here is "for me." I am me, that's it, that's all. Which means that I have spent years of my life floundering around food, trying to figure out what my body wants, knowing the "rules" and still looking at them in disbelief and just feeling like figuring out how the rules work for me is going to be a royal pain. And it is.

    People will always have very strong opinions about money because A, it is important, and B, people figure out what works for them and preach it from the hilltops. Most of the time, I feel like B is a waste of my time and I feel pressured and a terrible person for not already doing EVERYTHING that EVERYONE suggests. But as you pointed out, good ideas can come, good ideas can be implemented, and you can be one step closer to your idealized self that can save money, or that can eat good healthy food, and not too much of it and feel fully satisfied and happy.

    But it is easier for some people than it is for others. No doubt about it. Don't let anyone tell you differently…

  • Deborah

    Sal – you are awesome.

    And I can't tell you how liberating it is to read (and I'll be rereading this post over and over) about this right now for me, personally.

    Here's a GREAT place to check out for your nutrition issues.

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com

    You may know about this place already, but it bears repeating.

    I started (for the billionth time) Monday living the Grok lifestyle. I feel marvelous when I stick.

    Email me if you ever need to talk about this – not an idle offer let me tell you. I suffer greatly from depression and I'm slowly learning how my nutrition has been a large factor.

  • GB73

    Sal- looks like you're doing a pretty good job of keeping on top of your finances. Student and car loans paid off this month- that's awesome!

  • spacegeek33

    What a difficult year you've had! I had no idea and I'm really so sorry! My heart goes out to you! I can completely relate as I too have had my challenges this year. Sometimes you have to be kind to yourself in other areas to get through the toughness. (I gave up berating myself for weight gain. There will be a better time to address that when the rest of my life settles down.)

    So I am one of your supportive fans who says–do what what you have to do to get by! The panic attacks, insomnia, weight gain and depression can all be related.. have you considered getting some help (in the form of talk therapy or medication)? Could be short term for either or both…

    And finally, I went to Iceland for business 15 years ago and I have never forgotten it. It is truly a fantastical place!! While I found it to be the most expensive place I've visited (with the exception of Tahiti), it is amazing and worth it! Have a wonderful wonderful time!

  • Anonymous

    Ah truth again. I love your blog. Just started following it, actually first ever I keep going back to. Awareness is the first step. How else could you get to where you want to be? Enjoy the process and enjoy incorporating your love of clothing, shopping and style into the equation. Inspired again, thank you!

  • Anonymous

    You ROCK and screw anyone who feels they have the right to judge you!

  • EvaNadine

    (((((((hugs)))))))
    sal, i think you are making remarkable steps in changing your saving behaviors. its never easy to change a habit, but youre making small steps that are laying a great foundation.
    im so sorry to hear about all the stress and drama in your life — its no wonder you feel off the wagon a little bit! what is amazing is that you didnt completely part ways with all your money during such stressful times!

    in the end, you know whats best for you, youre strong enough to do what needs to be done, and thats all there is to it.
    keep it up, hon!

  • Katy Cooper

    First of all, let me join everyone else is saying I'm so sorry you're going through such a terrible time. I know that if either of my sisters were very ill, I'd be out of my mind.

    As for it being better to know why you're using a particular behavior for comfort and solace, yes, I think it is. At bottom, you're not lying to yourself about what you're doing or why you're doing it. I know for myself I get into the most trouble when I look away from what I'm doing.

    I also think discipline takes a certain amount of mental energy; I know that I can't be ruthlessly frugal and be rigorous about my food intake at the same time. One always busts loose. It seems to me that your circumstances are draining your batteries dry, so you don't have that little bit of energy to say, "No, I won't get this." (Of course, I could be insanely wrong about that…)

    Anyway, thank you for this blog and for your honesty.

  • jennypower

    I am a relatively new reader and this is the first I've seen you write about a shopping ban. I just wanted to say that it is a very courageous thing to talk about your spending/saving habits in this way. It's extremely hard to talk about money, but I can't help think that if we were just a little bit more open about it, with our spouse, family and friends, that it would make our lives better. So, damn the naysayers, and good luck to you. Thanks for this post!

  • Leah

    Wow, I'm so jealous that you've nearly paid off the student loan. Go you!

    Been there with chronic female problems, and totally understand the need for a comfort outlet.

    You sound like you've been kicking ass, so don't let the mean people get you down.

  • Beth

    I have just started following your blog so haven't read any of the other shopping ban posts. I wish I had though! I have bad shopping habits that creep up on me every now and again.

    A year+ shopping ban is very difficult to stick to in Western societies. The pressure to buy is pretty immense. It sounds like you are doing really well to me.

  • Kendra

    I don't want nasty thing anyone could say about this post! Frankly I 100% applaud your honestly and realistic perspective. I think we can ALL learn from your pragmatic approach to nearly everything you spoke of. You bring a realness to this blogosphere that is hard to find, and it's refreshing. So thank you so much for sharing your life with me as a reader. I can relate to the hard times, as I have been battling some demons in my personal life and have been in-and-out of a slight depression for months. It feels good to know that there are others going through similar swings and getting by just fine. I do hope everything turns around very soon for you!!

  • orchidsinbuttonholes

    A prior comment hit the nail on its head – people have such opinions about how others should or should not spend money, and most are never afraid to share those opinions, unasked. Money and baby-producing. I'll never understand it as long as I live.

    So I have mad respect for you, Sal, for posting this. I've always had mad respect for you, of course, I just have more now. Your honesty and self-awareness always touches me and inspires me.

    I think it's fantastic that you have a plan and are sticking to it as best as you can, day to day and month to month. Bravo to you! Finding a financial system that works and being mindful of it over time is not an easy thing, so I sincerely applaud you.

    But I really hope that the insomnia and chronic pain and lady-problems resolve themselves quickly. I'm at my absolute worst when I can't sleep, so I understand a bit of that (though I marvel at your energy in spite of it). It sounds like a vacation is in order, and pronto!

  • Kristin

    Such a huge amount on your plate, and I'm so sorry to hear of your sister's illness. My best hopes for her to recover soon!

    You write so openly, and I can't help but say that I so respect you for that. These are things that all of us have to deal with – balancing life, money, relationships – and it's not for anyone to judge any of our decisions. It sounds like you've learned so much from your ban, and that you're definitely on the right path. This is mature, thoughtful, and REAL! Paid off your student loans?? Fan-freakin-tastic! Set up a separate savings account?? Woohoo!! I know I do a fair share of pleasure shopping, but as long as I'm doing it responsibly and within means that's acceptable to our household, and still meeting the items to save and plan for the future, I'm doing okay.

    Continue to take those deep breaths, do the small steps, and look in the mirror and smile – you're doing things well! :o)

  • kjlangford

    wow- you have a lot going on. I knew you did, but still, wow.

    If it makes you feel any better, a couple weeks ago when I had a really TERRIBLE audition. (it's one thing when it doesn't go well. But as I was auditioning I was thinking "wow, you've really screwed this one up, you are sucking BIG TIME." If they had called my name I would have had to question their intelligence- that's how badly I did) I came straight home, told my husband to cancel our plans, and pretty much demanded that we go eat sushi (even though we are trying to eat out less), followed by frozen yogurt, and then shopping. luckily I hit a consignment store, but still- it's funny to admit that all that did make me feel better.

  • Sal

    Gals, I'm all verklempt. Seriously. Thanks for your kind and supportive words. I can really use them right now.

    fröken lila: I'm bummed we'll miss you in Iceland! HM and I will be there at the end of August. And I'll admit that I haven't done much trip planning just yet, but if I find any gems I'll pass them along. Promise.

    Deborah: Thank you, doll. I'll check out the site. I've done no-carb and low-carb in the past, and it really does wonders for my body and state of mind. It can be really hard to maintain, though, as a person who craves nothing but salty carbs! Anyway, I'll drop you a note soon. Thanks again.

    Katy Cooper: Exactly right. At least for me. I wish I had more willpower to go around, but generally? One thing can be kept in check, others become harder. Working on it, though!

  • Anonymous

    Keep up the good work, and I hope you feel better soon.

  • ebinbaby

    First I must wish you and your family health and happiness. May the trying times be over ASAP!

    I agree with Deborah that the way I eat has a huge impact on how I feel. I too suffer from glucose intolerance and I can tell you that when you get it under control you will feel more in control!! I find it feels like a downward spiral of indulging in sugar then increasingly bad diet, leading to shopping, not exercising, gaining weight and loss of control of many areas of my life. It makes me so sick that it has the same profound negative affect on my life as an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

    I too find I indulge in stress shopping and have found that I get the same relief with the trying on and buying as I do with the keeping. When I can't control it my little secret is to shop, buy and then take it back the next day. I know it sounds crazy but I'm finally out of the red and into the black and I'm not willing to let that go when stress hits. I do have to stay away from shoes and thrifting though as I can't seem to make myself take either of those back even if the store has a return policy.

  • Courtney

    You are doing a wonderful thing for yourself by paying off your debt and saving! Yeah, you could be doing more, but in my experience moderation (in dieting and in debt) is the key to success! I'm currently debt free for the first time in my adult life, and I want to encourage you that by taking it slow you'll get there, and it will be WONDERFUL when you do! Hang in there, and don't let the silly critical people get you down!

  • BookGirl

    I'm fascinated about why some people feel the need to be negative about someone's struggles. While challenges may vary from person to person, we all have issues over which we want more control. I applaud you for your willingness to share some of your frailties with us. It reminds us of our shared humanity, and that's always a plus.

    My savings system is a titch more complicated, but it works for me and for my husband. We keep two savings accounts: one for long-term expenses: vacations, cars, etc., and one for short-term expenses: insurance premiums, real estate taxes, the inevitable car and home repairs, and such. We get to the latter number via our annual budget, taking the total number and dividing by 12, so that we know how much to put into this account each month.

    These two accounts are not in local banks — we used bankrate.com to help us find banks that offer the highest interest rates (which are abominably low these days), and that are rated high for safety. Money goes to these accounts by automatic deposit, although for a while I also wrote a check to the accounts and mailed them in (the banks provide postage-free mail-in envelopes).

    When we want to withdraw funds, we write a check or have money automatically transferred, at no cost, to our local account. As you're discovering, ecause the process is a bit more complicated than going to our local bank, we're less likely to dip into these accounts. This may all sound elementary, but I have friends who still have no clue that they have these options, although I've been availing myself of them for nearly twenty years.

    In addition to being a good local bargain shopper, I've become an amazing (if I do say so myself) online shopper. Via a combination of shopping online clearance sales and using online coupon searches, I'm able to get clothes for a fraction of their cost. About two years ago, I also signed up for Lucky Rewards, sponsored by Lucky magazine, which allows me to get cash back for shopping online at a large range of online retailers. To get the rebate, which goes to a Lucky Rewards account (they mail a check to me quarterly) you have to click through to the retailer through the Lucky Rewards site. It's a nice little bonus to receive from time to time.

    Again, this might be something you already know, but just in case…

    Here's wishing you strength and patience as you work through the difficulties that come your way. I've recently returned to yoga and meditation after years of absence, and I'm finding that they making a genuine difference in how I navigate my life. Thanks for your candor.

    P.S. I can't help but share my most recent "scores:" two adorable skirts for summer at the J.Jill online outlet ($6.99 each, marked down from $79.99), and a classic, black Chanel jacket from a local consignment shop ($150 — a splurge, but a worthwhile one, since the jacket retails for nearly $3000. I nearly fainted when I saw it.)

    Clara

  • Trinity

    Holy shit! No school loans? You are living the dream, lady :)
    Congrats on your hard work. It seems you have a healthy and honest perspective about your own situation.

  • Jane

    DaveRamsey.com

    I'm telling ya – his system to getting out of debt works! The husband & I paid off all our debts totaling $46K in about 7 months time. We fully funded our retirement account for the year & are hammering down our mortgage – at the rate we are going now – we should have our mortgage paid off in less than 4 years & be completely debt free then – at that time – the world is our oyster & we can do what we will when we want, where we want, whenever we darn well feel like it!

  • Monkey

    Thanks for being so honest. I've been doing more shopping myself recently and I wonder if that is related to some other things going on in my life right now. I never considered this before I read your post. So thank you and you have all of my support!

  • LaShaune

    Sal – I will simply say: Thank you!

  • Jane W.

    Oh Sal! I'm sorry to hear about your stress-a-thon. I never, ever would have guessed given the steady stream of cheerful, humorous posts that you so generously give to us.

  • Make Do Style

    Gosh do people really leave nasty things when it is no one's business but your own how you spend your money. Sounds like you've mixed pragmatism and some much needed tlc in retail therapy.

    I can't wait to have paid of my debts to then save and oen day soon I might have a spare £ or two to buy something – would be wonderful.

    Sorry to hear about your sister, family ill health is a worry. I know one of my sister suffers with schizophrenia and over the years it takes its toll.

    You don't need any more shoes though! Oh go on get some fab ones for Iceland xxx

  • Charlotte

    I love your blog and this was the first I've read of the shopping ban also. I have tried so many times to put myself on a shopping ban, and I don't follow through, so as far a shopping goes, I completely understand.
    I really love this blog, you have inspired me to "dress up". I work out of my house many days and when I do I learned to put together outfits I would have never dreamed of because of your blog. I was very matchy matchy. So thank you for a wonderful, honest and open blog.
    Sending you healing energy!

  • LPC

    Oh, honey. That's my reaction. First, so sorry about your sister. I hope she makes a full recovery. Second, panic attacks? Aaargh. Why is it that the great women bloggers all seem to have some kind of an anxiety disorder? Seriously. It's almost like it makes for better writing. I think it's great you don't drink too much or eat too much or rely on drugs. Shoes are much less dangerous. I only hope your inner environment can catch up to the great work and success of your blog. Who should reap the benefits of everything you do, if not you?

  • Sheila

    We all have our vices, Sal, and none of us can ever judge another or walk a mile in her (fabulous) shoes.

    I'm also a shopping junkie, but I consider it to be a hobby. Why should I have to defend spending money on something I love when other people spend it on things like kayaking or collecting beer mugs?

    Your honesty, as always, is admirable, but you really don't have to 'fess up anything about your personal life to "excuse" your shopping. And my heart goes out to you for all the difficulties you've had, hon. *hug*

  • Karisa Tells All

    It's terrible to hear that people leave rude comments on your blog when you're trying to be honest with your readers! Why do they even care how you spend your own money? I think most readers can relate to not being able to cut back on spending, and you certainly make me feel better by reminding us that no one is perfect! Keep saving, I have faith!

  • MichelleK

    Thank you for being so open with your readers, thats one of the reasons I love your blog! It's so boring when people create a 'my life is perfect facade' because who can relate to that? I know all about lady-parts issues and dietary complications, you're definitely not alone in that :)
    Congrats on paying down your student loans, enjoy those new shoes!

  • TD

    You are the bravest and most honest blogger I know and I am super proud of you for not giving into worse vices like drugs and alcohol! I hope you start to feel better soon. It is incredibly hard to deal with multiple health issues and other family issues at the same time. I am amazed that you didn't mentally check out. Good luck!

  • Kira

    Love your blog!
    Love your honesty!

  • gina

    Thank you for sharing. I'm dealing with some financial changes after being out of work for several months, and then starting back initially only part-time with a correspondingly lower income. It's been tough to rearrange my lifestyle to fit my new budget. Even though I know I'm not the only person dealing with this, it's still comforting to hear a little bit about others' struggles. Thank you for sharing.

  • Angeline

    Congrats on your accomplishments! I appreciate your honesty on financial matters here (I just started reading this blog a few weeks back)…I think every gal (and guy) who loves shopping has run into some kind of financial snafu, and it's refreshing to have a fashion blogger address some real life issues instead of pretend that everyone can go out and buy your outfit everyday. Keep on keeping on, and if you ever need a break to take care of things, your readers won't mind…we'll be here when you get back :)

    All the best to you (and your sis)!

  • Emm

    Aw, Sal, so sorry to hear you've been dealing with these difficulties, and I hope your sister is doing well. Best of health to her and to you.

    Congratulations on paying off student loan & car debt while still tucking some away into your savings account–that's nothing to sneeze at.

    You and this blog totally rock, you know.

    Elizabeth

  • Zuzuli

    Sal – your honesty is admirable. It is not anyone's business how or on what or why you spend money or use your time. Try and remember that those who cast stones live in glass houses.

  • sara star

    I had some serious lady part problems a few years back, and I definately gained some weight and alienated some friends. (Don't know your sit, lol, just saying what happened to me). It was just so much serious chronic pain and it interfered with my sex life so much that I turned to yummy food. I didn't gain a ton of weight, maybe 5-10 lbs, but it was a difference I noticed. If I had a good job like you do, I have no doubt I would have shopped a lot too. I think that the part that gave me personally the most sympathy for your struggles was your personal medical issues. I wish you the best in healing. When your body is in good shape, the rest will start to fall into shape.

  • enc

    I had no idea you were up against so much, Sal. I think you've done remarkably well in the face of such adversity.

    Buy all the shoes you want, I say. I think it's great that you're saving, too.

    You're making progress. And that's all anyone can hope for: progress, not perfection.

  • Rachel Steed

    A little retail therapy is always preferable to devouring a whole carton of Ben and Jerry's; shoes last a few months, and ice cream only lasts a few hours. And shoes can never add to your waistline! It makes me smile to read about your shoe obsession; I am a shoe lover myself, and only my goal of paying down MY personal debt has stopped me from buying several pairs every month. Good for you for saving and prioritizing!

  • Vix

    So sorry to hear about your sister; I think it's really normal to seek out "known comforts" when one's world is suddenly full of extra uncertainty.

    And you've implemented a lot of harm reduction strategies for saving and bill paying to help keep your spending habits in check, and that's great. I could stand to have a few more of those in place myself!

    I do wonder if the blog is a bit of an enabler as far as spending? You write *so* frequently and in-depth that I'm sure it's tempting to have a new shoe/necklace etc so you have a guaranteed "fun" post?

    Just a thought (and I may be projecting!). If it's contributing at all, I guess a strategy for that would be to try to swap in more general style object finds vs personal finds.

    As for your health stuff, sorry for that too. I'm with a previous poster who thinks they may all be inter-related (you probably know that insulin-related issues can really trigger reproductive health, sleep, weight gain, and mood problems). Hope you will soon be seeing a lot of improvement….

    FWIW, I had a similar annoying constellation of health stuff several years ago, and what worked for me (and quickly!) was acupuncture. This was after my great primary care doc was at a loss. I know many are skeptical–but anything that helps me lose weight, feel optimistic, breathe and digest better, AND keeps me from thinking about my nether regions except when related to fun is a winner in my book…especially as I didn't have to *eliminate* any food, just add some stuff. I don't do well with deprivation.

  • kristophine

    Between ladyparts problems, panic attacks, insomnia, and sick relatives, we could pretty much be the same person–although technically the sick relative isn't mine; it's my boyfriend's young cousin, who got very sick last summer, but has been doing a little bit better lately.

    Do what gets you through, sweetie. And little steps are still progress.

  • Sara Darling

    I really enjoy your blog for the clever fashion ideas, but also for the honesty about the finances of fashion – plus you're gosh darn delightful.

    I hardly ever comment but did want to make a request: it might be a little off-topic for the blog but might you be willing to blog about your trip to Iceland? I've been talking to friends about going there in September and would love to hear about your experience.

    P.S. I keep meaning to comment when you mention wanting to find non-segmenting tights. I'm very fond of DKNY control top tights in the Tall size. I'm a bit rounder than you so they'd likely be a bit looser fitting on you, but these have become my go-to tights because the tall size puts the waist band right under my ribs. Nicely smoothing and they're fairly durable.

  • …love Maegan

    I'm sorry you've gone through so much at once. Life is so hard sometimes and I can relate to panic, insomnia, and lady part troubles {beyond not getting pregnant} …I hope all is free and clear soon for you and I say, shop as much as you know you can {and also, weed's not that bad ;) lol}

  • Anonymous

    Hi, for the panic attacks, don't get on the meds if you can help it. There are many good breathing techniques instead (my DH had/has them). Google Butyeko Breathing and New York times. The article discusses the hyperventilation and asthma (this is my problem), but it also applies to panic attacks.

  • Kathleen

    I really admire how you put yourself out here on your blog. I am also a Capricorn and a bit of a shopaholic, but due to some financial troubles that started in my family a few years ago, I've had to reassess my financial situation and have really been amping up my savings these past few years. You just never know what catastrophe is around the corner and it's better to be prepared with an emergency fund than whip out the old plastic.

    My favorite blogs to read are fashion and personal finance blogs interestingly. Have you ever considered opening a savings account with an online bank like ING Direct or Ally? They offer much better interest rates than brick and mortar banks and it is MUCH more difficult to withdraw money because you have to wait for it to be transferred to one of your brick and mortar banks first.

  • Anonymous

    I posted a comment earlier, which I thought was supportive, but I guess it wasn't. My apologies.

  • Sal

    Anonymous (5): I haven't rejected any comments today. When did you post? It might not have come through the interface. Blogger has been really wacky lately, especially with comments …

  • eek

    I was unaware that you were on a shopping ban, so more power to you. I can barely go one week without buying anything so I am definitely not one to judge.

    Looks like to me you are doing smart things: saving some money every paycheck, paying off your debt, not going into more debt. I don't see anything wrong with buying shoes when you are having a bad day.

    I can't believe all the things you have on your plate – I can barely survive just working sometimes -so Bravo to you :)

    oxox

  • Mar

    You're wonderful, Sal. Thanks for sharing with us. <3 I am a big stress/depression eater, rather than a shopper (I have deep, ingrained anti-money-spending habits), and it sucks, but just like you I try to cut myself some slack. When we're going through a rough period, that extra slice of cheesecake (pair of shoes) can really, really help in the short run. It's not a particularly good solution, but it's probably cheaper than therapy (ha). It makes us feel better. And, well, is a few more pairs of shoes going to bring the world to an end? No. You are almost out of debt, you're saving (yay!!), you're having a really hard time, and you deserve some shoes. Be careful that it doesn't get out of hand — and save for Iceland! I'm so jealous — but nevertheless, spend a little on yourself.

    Can you make yourself a weekly budget? I've found that monthly budgets are just too far-off. If you make a weekly budget for buying clothes, something that you can afford, and allow yourself to save up for that new pair of Fluevogs? I myself have done exactly that in the past, and it was an amazing motivator. It gives you something immediate that you want right away, forces you to sleep on your purchase, and is a lot less nebulous than ~my trip that I will take to Iceland later sometime maybe~.

    Another thing you could try is retail therapy at thrift stores. This is pretty hit-or-miss, so it's better to relegate the thrift stores to days when you're in a bad mood but want to get moving and take on a challenging but rewarding enterprise, and go dig through some bins. I did that just yesterday in a fit of unproductivity-rooted depression, and I came home with a ton of shirts, 3 books, a dress, two sweaters, and a great blanket. It cost me $8 total. You might give that a go as well.

    I'm sorry you're having such a rough time! Congrats on persevering through it all. You're doing great! *hug*

  • Sidewalk Chalk

    I really appreciate your honesty in this post. Very sorry to hear about your sister and hope that she's getting better. I'm very sorry to hear of the personal hardships you've been facing the last few months, and best wishes to you in dealing with them the best you can.

    Congrats on the savings, paying off loans and planning for vacations — such an accomplishment that is something to be quite proud of!

  • Kelly

    Oh Sal! I am so sorry that you're going through so much shit. I don't think I would be brave enough to share that with the world, but I appreciate you sharing more personal topics with us. I don't know what sort of "ladyparts" problems you've been having, but I have my fair share and I think that those medical conditions are worse than others because they can do a lot to change how women view themselves AS women. I hope you are taking care of yourself. (And if it helps, I am an avid Already Pretty reader and I haven't noticed any weight changes!)

  • Karisa Tells All

    BTW I saw a Fluevog store when I was in Seattle and I thought of you! I told my bf "this blogger I read loves these shoes!" and he was like "okay…" haha

  • pretty face

    Oh, Sal. I know you don't want to be thrown a pity party but I had no idea the past few months had been so tough. That is some major shit, which makes your feat of still looking fabulous all the more amazing! xxx

  • lisa

    I'm sorry to hear you've been having such a rough time in your personal life, Sal. You're always such a pillar of positivity, warmth, good humour, and inspiration; I had no idea there was so much you were dealing with behind the scenes in the last few months. That being said, I am so, so proud of you for the progress you've made with your goals! One step at a time eh? (And btw, the "have a savings account where I sock away money I can't touch" trick is what I'm using to save up for my own home! Hopefully I'll reach that goal in three years.)

  • DaniBP

    Hi Sally,
    I am sorry to hear about your sister's health, and your own problems you've been dealing with. I hope everything works out for the best.
    Good for you that your car/student loans will be paid off soon. When I finally paid off my student loan it was a happy day, and I did some shopping to celebrate it!
    There's nothing wrong with shopping and wanting to look/feel great. Let's face it, it costs bucks to do so.
    I too started really saving a couple of years ago, and I now have a sizeable nest egg socked away. It DOES feel great to watch the balance grow. Automatic payments are KEY, and an account that cannot be withdrawn from is another key.
    So I like to shop, but I like to save too. It's a balance that works.
    Best to you!
    DaniBP

  • Christine

    Thank you for sharing all this with us. I hope you and your sister feel better soon.

    I've been meaning to tell you this and now seems like a good time, I love your writing style. You are always a pleasure to read and I've learned a lot from your blog.

    Iceland is at the top of my list to visit and I hope you share details/pictures.

    You are overdue for some good times so I'm sure things are about to turn around for you. I wish you all the best!

  • SR@MyStyle

    Hi there-very well done on your progress to date, a holiday to look forward to and savings in the bank are massive achievements!! Have a great weekend!!

  • anna

    Thank you for posting this. I've been battling my own shopping demons, unfortunately I have credit card debt to show for it.

  • KrissyBell

    I really appreciate the talk about finances, since I am currently struggling with these same issues, and have put myself on a ban. One of the things I have done to help with my saving has been to give the money over to my mom. She takes my saving money and puts it in an account that I have had no contact with, other than set up, I don't even know how much is in it. It is a litle bit of a cop out, because I am not actually taking responsibilty, but I say whatever works. I have also indulged in one pair of $7 sandals, and a $100 perm. Totally worth it. Sometimes you just have to do things for yourself.

  • Kathy

    Wow, Sslly, you are more amazing than I initally thought! You never fail to inspire us. Thank you!

  • Jackie

    Jackie in VB: – Couldn't help wanting to comment on some of the health issues you are experiencing.
    I have Glucose intolerance due to PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and also experience bodily pain as a result.
    I'm not sure if this is your issue or not, but I wanted to say that Glucose intolerance is easily handled by diet (I say easily,
    even though it's not so easy, but easier than having to go on medication which is not necessary. You will notice a difference in how you feel…Take
    it from a former Sugar Junkie~). When you start having problems with hormones, you often experience weight gain, insomnia, irritability
    the whole nine yards. What I learned from all of this is that my health problems – including associated back pain were brought on by stress.
    I read a book called The Mind Body Connection by Dr. John Sarno that helped explain the effects of stress on the body.
    His book focuses on back pain because that's what he specialized in – but he goes to explain that so many parts of the body
    are affected by stress. This is not some New Age book that hypes the power of positive thinking it is instead a reminder
    that our lives are very stressful these days and that we must learn to control stress before it damages our bodies.
    I'm not affiliated with the book in anyway – so I'm not pushing it on you, but I felt that I really benefited from reading this book and have
    recommended it to friends as well.
    Good Luck to you and your sister.

  • The Waves

    Wow, I had no idea you have had such a hard year, I am so sorry to hear about all the troubles, and hope that things will get better soon, for both you and your sister. I think it is great that you can be so honest about these types of things. No one is perfect, and I am sure everyone is guilty of having done her share of feel-better-shopping. You know, if it makes you feel better, it is really no one else's business to criticize, especially because you have done so well with saving money otherwise.

    And girl, you do need to give yourself some credit for all the savings you have been able to scrape together. A big hurrah for you having paid off your student and car loans, that is big and wonderful news! Just for that you should be entitled to treat yourself a little, and not be too hard on yourself! And as for Iceland – it will be so exciting, I am sure! :)

  • Sal

    Hey everyone. A few things occurred to me as I was out on my lunch break. One is that I'm wrong – this is only one year later. I ended the ban in April of 2009. I'll edit the post title.

    Also, I've clearly confused some folks. There's a link at the very top of this post explaining the ban, which was six month long and ended one year ago. I'm no longer on it.

    Finally … just got off the phone with the credit union, and guess what? My car is paid off NOW! There was a banking error and I over paid. WOO HOO!!!!!!! Just a few more weeks and that student loan will be knocked out, too.

    Thanks again for all your kind, supportive words, and for some really great suggestions, both about finances and health. I will definitely be giving them more thought in the coming weeks, and I so appreciate everyone sharing their own struggles and journeys.

  • FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com

    Congratulations. Let us (the PF community) know if we can help in any way :)

    I got out of $60k of student debt in 18 months, and I am currently on a shopping ban/challenge.. so I know how that feels!!!

  • Stephanie

    I just started reading so I'll have to go back and read about the ban. Here's my thought though. No its not ok to go on and endless spree and no shopping doesn't fix things but sometimes it makes you feel better for the moment. I think sometimes that is OK bc sometimes we really need to feel better for the moment.

  • Nadine

    Iceland! Ooh, so lucky . . . make sure you really enjoy it for me (since I live at the other end of the world, ie NZ).

    Hey Sal, I really appreciate your honesty. I keep coming back here because I love your 'voice' in your writing, and this is such an impressive post. My very best wishes to you in your tough times – big hugs!

  • Anna

    It sounds to me like you are doing great, despite recent personal setbacks. Wasn't one of your goals to save more and pay down your debt? You've both of those things done admirably. Thanks for sharing with us so bravely and honestly; you've inspired me to be more honest with myself about my spending habits as well!

  • NinaBucci

    I am all too familiar with burning holes in my pockets, but it sounds like you have everything under control! I find the honesty in your blogs refreshing, and truly inspirational! Keep up the good work!!

    http://bootsbeatsandeats.wordpress.com/

  • RGuillory

    Congratulations on making progress toward your savings goals (and also on cutting yourself some slack)! And I hope you're doing better on the panic front.

    Wow, Iceland. I just took a trip there in December and it was one of the best travel experiences EVAR. I'm a science writer, so the place has fascinated me all my life, practically. (And I know I'll probably get skewered for this, but I *LOVE* Bjork's style, including the goosey-goosey Oscars dress.) PM me at [email protected] and I can send you my travel bloggedy-blog-blog links from facebook–which include some great storefront windows.

  • mistie

    Sal, one of the reasons you are such an inspiration to me (almost daily) is that your honesty shines through in your writing. You are brave to write the things you live. I admire that so much. This post is another great one, and something I think many of us struggle with. Thanks again, for your awesomeness of true self.

    My hubby and I have worked hard over the past year to get rid of debt and we too are celebrating this month, as it is the last of paying out bucks to that debt. Congratulations to you.

    We have big tax money coming in and have a pact to put half into savings. This is the first time in our marriage of 20 years we can do that.

    Thanks for sharing! I hug you over and over in my head :) Anyone who needs to judge and feels they need to post a clue to you is apparently living a very boring life. I'll continue to go for the excitement and relish other who do too!

  • Anonymous

    I think you're amazing. I haven't read you for long, I came in just as the shopping ban ended … You have a fantastic spirit, and your integrity shines through.

  • Anonymous

    First time commenting but I just wanted to add one more perspective: I think you would be totally justified in thinking of spending on clothes not just as something you do for yourself but also as a public service or at least as a semi-professional expense. Your shopping enables this blog, and this blog brings joy and inspiration to many people and changes the world by helping us think more positively about our style and ourselves. I think that's worth an investment!

    Sarah

  • Gillian

    You are crazy brave woman. I understand what it's like to have ladyparts problems and snakes alive are they rough. And I know this is trivial in comparison to all the other things you've been going through, but I'm sorry that you can no longer eat fries.

  • Sarah

    Good for you!!! Saving $30 per paycheck is a great start and you have to start somewhere – most people put $0 per paycheck. Paying off debt is a HUGE accomplishment!!!!!! Congrats!! If you apply the money you were spending on your car loan and student loan to your credit cards you will be completely debt free in no time!!

    I am very good with money – I would much rather save than spend. So I get excited watching my savings account balances grow too!!

    As per the other things going on in your life – you are an incredibly strong woman! Keep hanging in there!

  • Lesa

    I really feel for you. I have anxiety and panic so bad that I am on disability. One of the only things that brings me up is shopping, even on the days that I can't leave my house (and those are many). It seems as though you have a lot on your plate, but it also seems to me that you are doing a good job with all the things you've got going on, which is a HUGE accomplishment. I hope your sister is okay. Have your husband give you a big hug and kiss and then go buy another pair of shoes-or not….
    xoxo

  • Shona

    Wow – you have been through the wringer. As Dory says to Nemo in the movie – "Just keep Swimming".

    I note your lady problems and glucose interance, and want to mention Candida to you, as they are two possible symptoms of it. Many GPs ignore it but I have had it choronically
    A good write up is here: http://www.candidafree.co.uk/ though there is plenty more on the net
    If you want to discuss I would be happy to.

    I am glad you have some lovely shoes, get them out and wear them even on your rough days

    Hugs to you!

  • Eyeliah

    wow good work, I have been on a subconscious shopping ban, I have barely bought anything in the last year (helpful when I had to splurge on a mac).

  • Sara

    Hiya Sal! Is there any chance you can give some Iceland-planning advice? Hubby and I have been wanting to go, and have no idea where to start.

    As for the ban, that is what made me a regular reader of your blog, as someone else mentioned. If you need something to help handle this rough time, you could certainly choose a worse crutch.

    I've got a bone to pick with anyone who would say something nasty to you; you are not only respectable, but respectFUL of everyone. You deserve the same in return.

  • The Raisin Girl

    Nobody would guess just reading your blog day to day that you have so much to deal with. Whenever I read your blog, I think "gosh, Sal just has everything together. I hope I can be like that someday." To look at the way you smile in pictures, you'd think you've never had a bad day in your life!

    Of course, that's not true. In the back of my mind, I know this, and yet reading this post somehow makes it more real. Now I think, "Wow, Sal's a person, with a real life and problems, and she can STILL smile like that in pictures and get up every morning and do everything she does…not to mention looking fabulous while she does it all."

    You, Sal, are Superwoman.

  • - tessa

    I am just amazed at the balls some people have, to feel they have the right to criticize you or anyone else. I would like to thank you for being as open and honest as you are. You have helped me and a great many other people, Sal. Not only are you human, but you are funny, sweet, and genuinely care about others. That is why I emailed you recently. (Wow, I think this is my fourth or fifth comment tonight – quite a bit for a professional lurker such as myself). :)

  • K.Line

    You know, Sally, I have nothing but respect for you. I feel for you and the tough times you've been going through. I can imagine your sister's illness is very challenging. I only wish I knew sooner so that I could be giving her and your family good, healthy vibes. I just hope she's feeling better. And the glucose intolerance SUCKS. I've been there with the blood sugar issues.

    I am thinking of you and you have all my love and support. Kxo

  • Valerie MN

    Congrats on your saving and your financial changes you are incorporating into your life. I, too, am on that journey as well. I started a savings acct last summer with an automatic deposit coming out of my ckng into my savings acct each month. It feels good to have a little nest egg for emergencies, etc. I need to start another acct for furniture saving with an auto-deposit to there. I, too, like to shop (jewelry, clothing, purses, media/books). It varies on what item I spend more on. I go through spurts of buying and not-buying. Good luck to you and everyone else who are learning to save, etc.

    Valerie – MN

  • Jingle Bella

    Hey Sal! Sorry to hear that things have been so rough … but it sounds like you're handling it really, really well – well done lady!

    Being aware that you're shopping for comfort definitely counts for something – you've noticed it, and when things are better, you'll be able to go and look at that. We only have enough energy to fight a certain number of demons at a time … and a bit of extra spending (given that you're still saving and on track for paying off debt and paying all your bills – that's quite an accomplishment, by the way) definitely sounds like a lesser demon compared to everything else you're dealing with.

    It's also great to hear that you're starting to enjoy saving and enjoy seeing that balance in your credit union account grow! That sounds like a real change in mindset – fabulous.

    Hang in there, hope things get better soon.

  • myedit

    Some of your posts make me want to write you a novel…
    I'll try to be more succinct…
    I'm sorry that you have had a rough 6 months and I'm glad you shared it with us. But I am grateful that even when you are down, your blog is always a positive space. Sometimes I get stressed even thinking about managing everything and then I think 'Sal does way more' and she manages.
    I can related to your shopping… I feel the same way, I work hard and the way I feel better and have fun is to shop. I drive a beater, my house is tiny… so in my mind that justifies my spending… doesn't quite make sense, but I'll justify it anyways. Sad story… I got hit with my second huge tax bill in two months (reassessment and this year's…ouch!) so the shopping is curtailed until I get some stuff under control. But I definately need to do your saving idea, if you don't know how to get at it, you won't spend it…
    I look forward to more Shoe Sundays…

  • Inder-ific

    My, so many comments! I haven't read through them all yet, but I just wanted to pipe up and say, "Hang in there!" Life is so hard sometimes. Be nice to yourself while you're going through hard times. Do your best to save (sounds like you are doing pretty great!), but don't get down on yourself if you have a "relapse" now and then.

    Love your blog! Take care of yourself!

  • Anonymous

    I'm not sure if my problem with money is opposite or actually pretty similar. Because I don't want to think about budgets, I stress out every time I spend money, despite having no credit card debt and healthy savings. I'm happy about my savings account, but I'm not happy about my wardrobe, and I hate that I can't fully enjoy new things because I feel guilty about buying them.
    All it would take is a few hours going over my expenditures and figuring out how much I can spend, guilt-free, and yet I haven't done it. Just thought I should point out that even people with finances that look great on paper still may have issues with money!
    Anyhoo, enough about me and back to you.
    Now that you've firmed up your plans for Iceland, I think it might be a good motivator for savings. Instead of a moment of happiness from spending money now, tuck that money away and imagine yourself having fun spending it in Iceland. Really close your eyes and see yourself doing something fun with that money on your trip. Try to make your imaginary or future spending as happy as your current spending. Put a post-it that says "Iceland" on your credit card, or find some other way to remind yourself about your trip every time you pull out your wallet.
    Maybe write "car" on there too, so you can feel good about your accomplishments as well!

  • Mikaela

    sounds like you've had a challenging year.

    don't get discouraged, and keep up the good work!!

  • Miss Outlier

    so exciting to be headed to Iceland! I'm here right now at a conference, and it is gorgeous. Hope the trip serves as further inspiration on your spending goals…

  • Vanessa

    I think it's great that you've been so honest and candid about the problems you're going through– and about the ban. This kind of honesty is something I look for in a blog that's worth taking the time to read. You're a "real" person, not just a blogger.

    I just wanted to say I hope things start looking up for you and that perhaps– if you're not doing it already– some kind of formal therapy would be a better alternative for you than spending lots of money. As you know, the money and the stuff is just covering up for a deeper pain that's not being dealt with properly. I hope you don't take offense to me saying this, because I say it out of concern rather than nastiness.

  • Jean

    {{{Sal}}}

    This post came as a surprise; in no way is the myriad of concerns you're experiencing reflected in your writing. Your posts are ALWAYS uplifting and informative. I love your sense of adventure and appreciation for varieties of expression. I feel work like yours encourages women to know themselves and honor that which best expresses their spirit, rather than defer to trends and body-image mythology.

    Things have been very unsettling and rocky here for the last year. How often I used the challenges to excuse my disinterest in taking care of my appearance. Numerous occasions, I'd mouse-click over to "Already Pretty" and find myself renewed Yeah, you're writing does that for me! :-) Well, I guess today's post just blew my last excuse out of the barrel.

    IGNORE the negative blowhards! It's astounding to me how many blog writers (and I read a lot of them) have been lamenting lately of the nasty comments left by "Anonymous" visitors. I imagine they're cowards and believe they have little power in their "real" off-line lives.

    Congrats on the funds building!!! It's a great trip to smack down debt and save up a nest egg (or two, or three – LOL!)

    You rock, Sal!!!!

    Hugs, Jean

  • Ekatherina

    I truly respect you for your ability to work towards your goals while keeping a realistic perspective and not giving up when things don't go perfectly. I respect you even more for your ability to keep trudging on, keep working, keep at it, even when everything goes to shit. I am very sorry though for all that you've been going through, and hope that there are better days ahead. Iceland sounds like it'll be a great time for you :) Keep that pretty smile up because you're going to be just fine, sweetie!

  • FashionTheorist

    We're told a lot that any sort of emotional reliance on – well, anything – is a Bad Thing, but is it, really? Have a drink to relax at the end of the day, you're an alcoholic. Turn to your spouse in times of trouble, you're co-dependent. Enjoy surrounding yourself with pretty things, you're overly materialistic. Like to shop, even if you stay well within your means, are actively saving money and reducing your personal debt? You must be a shopaholic, and there's something wrong with you.

    Nonsense (my time spent in Jersey urges me to use a stronger, perhaps less printable phrase).

    I think it's amazing that you're managing to keep all those balls in the air – it sounds like you're dealing with a lot right now, some of it really difficult. We all need to do something to stay sane: we can't be perfect little Puritan drones all the time, being psychologically well-adjusted and perky in the face of whatever painful challenges life throws our way. We need a release, a way to cope with all that pressure. If you were exceeding your means, or shopping compulsively, that might be worrisome, but you're not – you're very aware of how you're spending your money, and from your posts about them, you're obviously taking joy in your purchases rather than buying obsessively for the thrill of the new.

    It's less that you've turned to an old addiction and more that you've found a way to turn an old, destructive habit into a newly healthy outlet. Instead of hindering you on your path, as it has in the past, it's now helping you. That's the value of that awareness you're talking about: you can control it, make it work for you, instead of letting it control you.

    I wish you the best of luck in sorting out your problems. Your style, persistence, and positive attitude are a constant inspiration to me, and it's a pleasure to read your blog every day.

  • All Women Stalker

    Those are amazing insights. I am glad I read this because I have been having trouble with my shopping ban. You are an inspiration :)

  • Tina Z

    I just want to say thank you for continuing this blog during what sounds like a rough year. I appreciate this open and honest forum in which difficult questions are raised and views are challenged in a positive, constructive way. It's more of a learning community than a blog. Again, thanks.

  • Nubby

    I really appreciate your honesty and it sounds like most of your readers do, too. You're more self aware than 90% of the world's population, that's for sure!

  • Lauren

    I know I am a little late and everyone has already commented, but I just wanted to send a hug across the blogosphere.

    It sounds like the year has been a hard one, and we all have them – though perhaps not to the same level. However, how you deal with the emotional problems is up to you, entirely, and is not the place for anyone else to comment or judge.

    We all love you, just remember :)

  • Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP

    Sorry to hear how tough life has been for you recently. As long as you're paying your debts, spend what you want, no point in dying with heaps of cash in the bank. Enjoy while you're alive.

    Hope everything starts improving for you really soon!

  • Peldyn

    First off, healing vibes to your sister! Next, I completely understand the shopping to feel a wee bit better. I have been so stress with my husband's unemployment. Only thing is I have no money to shop with and it is KILLING me! I swear, when he goes back to work I will go on such a spree that the shops around here will explode! *giggle* Since there are about 570 people in town here in the same boat I expect empty shelves when that happens *grin* So until then I am shopping vicariously through you.

  • Audi

    You should be proud of yourself, Sal — habits are very hard to change, and developing the mindset of finding satisfaction in watching your savings increase is a tough thing for many people. And don't worry, you can be a responsible adult and still derive joy from buying shoes.

    I had no idea you were going through such turmoil, sweetie. Here's hoping everything settles down soon!

  • Anonymous

    Sounds to me like you are making terrific progress. It's baby steps, don't look too far on the horizon.

    I haven't read though all the comments and apologize if this has come up already, but I highly recommend the book, "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. It's a life changing book.