Calling all Shopaholics!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Some amazing revelations were made during a recent lunch break conversation amongst a few of my closest fashion-forward co-workers.  Discussing where we bought our latest pair of shoes or which department store had the best sale last weekend are always par for the course.  But this conversation revealed a secret that in hindsight we all probably assumed yet never vocalized.

Being intelligent, successful and hard-working women, we often get swept up in the dizzying rat-race that we call life.  And before we realize, hours of sweat, tears and frustration, with the occasional ‘at-a-boy’ reward have passed by and now a release is needed.  The gym should be the go-to for comfort, especially after consuming a half dozen donuts after your lunch presentation bombed.  Yet the mere thought of sweat and hard work make you want to cry even more, so you avoid it at all costs; including that monthly membership fee that’s being paid to never even walk through the front door.  Lest I digress…

As we discuss our shopping ventures, one of the ladies sheepishly begins a story about how she snuck two bags of shoe purchases into her house and past her husband without being caught.  The entire room became a captive audience with everyone gazing at her in awe.  I found myself enraptured with her suspenseful story of how she crept light-foot around her home, stashing a bag here and a bag there, while her husband was fully distracted by the Giants game and his Budweiser.

The women burst into infectious giggles at the end of the story, and each is chomping at the bit to share their own best kept secrets about their shopping addictions, or shall we say habits.  We are all sidelined when our boss came into the room, curious about all of the laughing going on.  Knowing how down to earth he is, I began to explain the gist of the conversation to him.  He cackles and adds his own little antidote, ending with, “If my wife knew about all the bullshit I buy, she’d have a heart attack!”

That’s when I realize, to my chagrin, that I am not alone! It is not uncommon for women, and sometimes men (like my boss), to have to hide purchases that their significant other may question to no end.  In fact, I learned so much from that conversation that I left the room feeling like a novice!

Having obtained all of these useful and life-altering strategies, I felt it only right to share the jewels of that conversation to help others maintain their own secret shopping addiction. We are a group of many and we must stick together.  So get out your highlighters and read carefully!

  1.  Maintain a separate bank account; preferably a pre-paid debit card. – So you’re thinking, are you asking me to hide money? Yes!  Having a pre-paid debit card allows you to place as much money as you would like into an account that is hard for your significant other to trace.  Pre-paid cards often don’t mail statements.  They also do not affect your credit report or rating; something your spouse could potentially have access to.  The downside to this is that you may have to stash money away in small increments to accomplish this undetected.  Don’t worry.  If you are a true shopaholic, you’re up for the task.
  2. Know the landscape of your home and everyone’s schedules. – This sounds silly at first glance, but this is a key to the majority of your strategies. Sneaking things in the home will require careful plotting, scheduling and stealth skills.  A slight change in someone’s schedule could completely ruin your plans and reveal your secret.  It is important to remember that in this circumstance, children are not your friends.  They will not help you, even if you bribe them.  They will ask you a thousand questions and then rat you out when the bribe is gone and laugh right in your face.
  3. Establish safe spots. – Once you have step 2 etched into your memory, you need to find or create spots in your home where you can stash items without being detected. Think of places that involve responsibility, like the back of the kitchen sink cabinet.  Full of cleaning supplies and noisy pipes, no one goes into that cabinet unless it is an absolute emergency.  Areas like this are essential to your strategy, and you should have access to at least 5 such spaces.
  4. Know the dynamics of the storage space in your car. – There will inevitably be a few occasions where your plan is foiled for one reason or another. Hiding your purchases within the storage compartments of your vehicle can give you extra added comfort if you don’t know what to expect when you get home.  Also remember that you always need to be prepared to make a dash back to the car in case you get busted.
  5. Learn the mail system at your job, then ask permission. – Ironically, this was the biggest take home tip from my boss. Having worked for him for almost 10 years, I have noticed that his fishing addiction runs a very close second to his shopping addiction, so he has everything delivered to work.  He unpacks the items, and discards the boxes, packing slips and tags.  Then he takes them home and leaves it in his car, as if it was something he already had.  Genius!  Fortunately, when he joined our conversation, he commented, “Why don’t you just have the stuff delivered here? What do I care?”  For you, however, a formal request may be needed, or just strike up a conversation and jokingly mention about having deliveries sent to work.  Granted, this would be a last ditch effort, so only ask if you have a laid-back boss that you are on good terms with.  Getting fired is a swift way to end your shopping addiction, leaving all of this knowledge to just whittle away along with your life savings.

If you work hard, you should be able to spend hard, without being questioned by anyone. But that just isn’t reality for most of us.  You have to be careful and thrifty with your spending, and just as careful and cunning to hide it all away.

Your turn:  Now that I have shared my secrets, you all have to share yours! It’s only fair! 😉  What tips and techniques have you learned to hide your shopping habits over the years? I look forward to hearing your responses!!!






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