Not What You Want is What You Need: Life Lessons from Confessions of a Shopaholic

A few days ago, I received a book-movie recommendation from a friend. She told me to watch and read Confessions of A Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (I've been hearing a lot of good reviews about this series), but since I'm somewhat short in time, I decided to watch it instead.

Lessons from Confessions of a Shopaholic

Initially, I already expected it to be purely a romantic-comedy film, but what I did not foresee from this movie is the way how it actually reflects people, and of course, including me. I've done a bit of reflection about the context of the movie, and was a bit surprised by how it actually affects our lives.

Not all things we love doing can help us.

Take Rebecca Bloomwood as an example. At the first part of the story, she is seen as a person who absolutely loves shopping, to the point where she can't resist her urge to buy things that makes her end up with a $16,000 debt in her credit card. She keeps on spending for clothes or other stuff that she loves, but doesn't essentially need. Just like this, we all have our wants that at times, we do everything what it takes just to have them, without realizing that it has a great downside. Love, after all, is a blinding aspect of our lives, but we should not simply leave it at that.

Emotional investment is not always safe.

There are times when we just want to drown in whatever we feel, causing us to forget that it is not fully safe to rely merely on our emotions. For example, impulsive-buying, which is what Rebecca specializes in doing before, is like acting on pure feelings. We sometimes think that it is okay to do such a thing, but doing without thinking is the same as trying to jump off a building for a brief period of pleasure.

Never tolerate your wrong decisions.

One of the lines that I remember the most is this: “But quite frankly, what does it matter now? It’s too late to make any difference. I’m already in debt; I might as well be more in debt.” No matter how we look at it, it is a wrong kind of thinking because the character does not make an effort to change, when change is what she needs in order to clear her debts. It's the same with how we should act upon our mistakes: Instead of saying, “Ah, I've already done this, I might as well continue it instead,” we should have the conviction to say, “Ah, I've done it. I'll never do this again.” Mistakes, after all, are life devices that are supposed to help us learn.

Always confront your problems, including your debts.

As Bo Sanchez, the founder of Truly Rich Club puts it, free yourself from all bad debt. Do not hide from debt collectors and make excuses just to avoid paying, because it's actually more of a hassle since they will always find a way to track you. List all of your bad debts and declare when your freedom day will be. And, in doing so, avoid borrowing money from another party (and this includes your parents and friends!) just to pay because it will be the same. So, the best thing to do is work hard for it by yourself.

Learn how to manage your money appropriately.

If you really can't resist to buy that new cardigan or that scarf, then learn how to budget properly. As what I've mentioned, impulsive-buying can only provide you a brief moment of pleasure, but it won't save you from problems or anything else; instead, it might even bring you down. Learning how to manage your money properly can help you spend more without sacrificing anything verily essential in your living.

Always remember to weigh what you should and want to buy, as it can save you the hassle from running away from debt collectors. That said, shopping happily and saving properly should always, after all, go hand-in-hand.

Mark Hugh Neri

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