Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Spouses Who Sneak to Shop & How I Stopped My Bag Lady Act

There are a lot of secret shoppers out there according to a new PayPal survey about money, gender and marriage.
"82% of all respondents surveyed said they hide shopping bags and purchases from their partner." -- source: PayPal survey.

I used to look like a well-dressed "bag lady." Here's the drill: Go shopping, ditch the pretty shopping bags and swap tagged merchandise in to old grocery sacks. No one would guess that after a day at the office, I was carting home a week's salary worth of clothes, shoes and scarves in worn plastic sacks.

And I might have looked a bit disreputable at the bus stop, but there was a method to my shopping madness. Once at home, I would slide the new stuff into my closet and let it sit there for a while.

Here's the scenario:

Hubby: Ooh. Pretty. Is that new?

Me: (laugh). This old thing? I've had it for a while.

Fortunately, I've halted my secret shopping act & here's how and why:

1. I started working from home. No need to go downtown; fewer opportunities & excuses to shop.

2. I stopped checking out weekly sale items. I now limit my binges to end of summer sales.

3. I've restricted the colors in my wardrobe. Mostly black clothes in the winter and a narrow band of colors during the rest of the year. Fewer colors means fewer opportunities to match, accessorize or spend.

4. I rarely wear prints & patterns: Ditto.

5. I started living and stopped lying (to myself) about my unhealthy shopping habits.

6. I finally realized that the best bargains are the sales I leave in the store.

Meanwhile, the PayPal survey also offered other interesting tidbits about love, sex & money:

· Money beats out sex and house-cleaning as the number one issue couples fight about - 37% of young couples report that they fight more about money than cleaning (34%) or frequency of sex (28%)

· Couples use money as a means of control in their relationship - 57% of all respondents surveyed feel that money is used as a means of control in their relationship, determining when and how they choose to shop

· Lack of money is the biggest financial fear - for 43% of respondents: not having enough money to live the lives they want.

Source: PayPal’s “Can’t Buy Me Love” Survey findings, with input from Carmen Wong Ulrich, an author,-- Generation Debt: Take Control of Your Money (Warner Books) -- advice columnist, freelance editor, and former projects editor at Money magazine.

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Anonymous said...

I used to do this as well.. but now I stop myself, and say: Look. You could either spend $50 on this shirt that you may only wear once or twice, or put it towards paying down your loans so you can get a house sooner. Which one means more to you?

That usually does it...

debt diary said...

Wow. I've got to tell you that I have done the exact same thing with purchases that I've made and tried to sneak by my spouse.

Her: "Is that a new CD you're listening to?"

Me: "Uhh, no. My buddy at the office is letting me borrow it."

I wonder how many times she's seen through it and not said anything.