Confessions of a Summertime Shopaholic

Throughout the school year I keep myself busy enough. Between the days of plentiful naps, occasional classes and endless assignments, I remained distracted.

Working at it in small doses seems to help: going to the movies or buying the new Portal 2 among other games keeps me occupied; but not for more than a few hours.

The cravings become worse at night. I lie awake thinking, what will I wear tomorrow? Dreaming of all of the new shirts, shorts and skirts that I need for summer —I wake up in a cold sweat.

I tell myself, in the morning, in the morning I will go to the mall. I’ll just browse. Just browsing never put a dent in anyone’s wallet.

Hi. My name is Katie and I am a summertime shopaholic.

As twenty-somethings everywhere settle into their 9-5 jobs, their evening shifts or even part time employment this summer, a cultural shift occurs — students suddenly have money to spend.

I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone.

Between the need for new shirts, shorts and sunglasses, the temptation for summer releases of games or movies — and let’s not forget a few deserved pints at the bar — students with summer jobs may find themselves straying from their stereotypically thrifty lifestyles as they can now afford much more than possible throughout the school year.

Now I consider myself to be a rational person. I return my library books on time, I never run my credit card to it’s limit and I am always willing to seek out the best bar with free cover on the weekends.

But no longer paying for groceries, cable or certain other essentials as I settle home for the summer, it’s getting more difficult to resist from buying things that I simply want.

After a mentally exhausting day of work, why not grab a drink (or three) with friends to de-stress?

A day off? Spending time at the mall sounds like fun. There are plenty of things that I need to browse for, or don’t need to browse for. I’ll probably end up buying a bit of both anyways. You need something too don’t you? Of course it’s necessary. These things look nice, or will make you look nice, or make others think you’re nice. In fact, you should reward yourself for being so smart and self-improving; buy something else.

My theory is that there are two main reasons for this newfound dependence.

1) During the school year, between readings, case studies and labs, it seems like there’s always something to work on. With the distractions of roommates, extra-curricular activities and of course, the help of procrastination, a 40-hour schoolwork week turns into an 80 hour one. In comparison to the unpredictable school week, work during the summer can offer the refreshing change of free time.

2) Regularly being a young broke student, suddenly being able to buy from expected earnings is exciting. Actually having money to spend proudly screams, look at me, I’m not freeloading!

Even being in Waterloo for the summer can be hard on your wallet. With all the temptations of your regular student-saving sauce stations just around the corner, walking down the street can be a summer shopaholic nightmare. Every place is calling your name, whispering “Drink… it’s patio season… for a limited time only…”

It seems as if all signs of summer point to shopping. The first step is admitting there is a problem. It’s been eight days since I bought my last skirt, three since I went to the movies and… alright, I went out for dinner yesterday.

But I confess, I actually enjoy my condition — having money to spend serves as an escape. Whether it’s a figurative escape from the retail job that I hate or a literal one as a reason to get out of the house; having a regular income is empowering.

As much as I attempt to learn from my new spending habits, the summer time is a student’s four-month break from the world of student culture, being able to disengage from some aspects of it welcomes a much-needed change. Somewhere there is a balance between shopaholism and student-saving that I am determined to achieve.

112 more days ‘til September.

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