If only a Sith deals in absolutes, then I must be a Sith. I can't seem to do anything in moderation. It's not just that I had an obsessive spending habit, when I decide I'm not going to buy ANYTHING, I've done just fine at that, too. But when I go into a drugstore to spend $5, I come out having spent $30. When I go to the Dollar Tree intending to spend a couple dollars, I come out with 10 new nail polishes.
Of course, I've gotten better at what I spend my money on. Especially at the dollar store. I think that was probably where my ridiculous buying habits took root. The first time I went down the makeup aisle there, I eagerly grabbed every shade of every product that looked remotely interesting. Why not? They're only a dollar apiece! How could I pass up such a great deal? Grand total? $53. For some reason this didn't register in my head as having just spent over $50 on makeup. All I could think of was how giddy I was at having gotten such a huge assortment of products so cheaply. I hadn't even looked closely at the colors to see what I would and wouldn't wear--this problem compounded by the fact that at the time, I had very little idea what even looked good on me. Over the course of the next week or so, I went to two other Dollar Tree stores and each time spent about $25. Sometime during the following few days, I did have the shocking realization that I'd just spent over $100 on makeup, but I told myself that I hadn't ever really bought makeup before (which was true), and that since I was getting into Youtube and making beauty videos, I was just building my collection to have more variety.
So I insatiably snapped up every "good deal" I encountered, still with very little regard to what looked good on me. Eventually, this evolved into "needing" to buy every shade of every new product that e.l.f. came out with, so that I could help other people be informed and save money. Of course, I still only purchased during sales. I waited for the good coupon codes to come along. But I was going broke saving money. Like I've said before, I never spent money I didn't have, but I was spending far more than I really had to spare.
Then in the summer of 2011, I met a guy who was absurdly obsessed with being an anti-consumer wherever possible. He never bought anything if he could help it, and didn't see the point in makeup at all (although, amusingly, he'd tell me my eyes looked nice when I wore neutral makeup, and never made any specific comments when I wasn't wearing makeup). While I did think it was an admirable idea, I also felt a bit pressured and shamed into not buying anything. At all. I remember feeling horribly guilty for spending $7 to get two of the Physician's Formula face primers on sale, since I'd been interested in trying them for a while. So overall, I did fine at obsessively not buying makeup just like I did at obsessively buying all the cheap makeup I saw.
The past few months have been an exercise in moderation for me. I'm still struggling with the idea that I can go out and buy a couple new makeup products every month and not have to feel guilty about it. That I can go to Goodwill and buy a skirt that I really like just because I like it, and not have to justify a list of reasons why I need it. I guess I'm learning how to shop normally. Before I got obsessively into makeup and thrift store clothing, I hardly bought anything at all. I'd happily wear guys' cargo pants and hoodies or T shirts all the time. Then when I got into makeup and fashion, I didn't know how to do it moderately. After having been at all sorts of extremes, maybe it was just the natural progression of things that I'd eventually stop swinging so wildly between them and settle somewhere in the middle, but I look at so many Youtube "gurus" today whose channel seems to just be a justification for their insane shopping addictions. Thousands of dollars worth of full price goods that they'll maybe use once. Hauls the size of my month-long collective hauls every single week. I'm grateful I never had the resources to make it to that point. I hope I do end up settling at some healthy medium, but for now, it seems like it's taking a whole lot more effort for me than it should.