Ready to turn over a new leaf?
Yet another brilliant guest post from APB
Something I have always struggled with, and I doubt I am alone – when and what NOT to buy instead of when and what TO buy. It seems as though every time I leave the house I end up returning with a purchase I never intended to make. If I go to the mall to make a return I end up with an exchange, if I go to the grocery store I see a new nail polish color that I can’t live without and so on, so forth. I can’t help but feel like you all know exactly what I am talking about. Then there is the whole other aspect to shopping – it’s just a hobby that I unabashedly love. This year, my goal is to shop less, therefore spend less and save more. Here’s my plan.
Spend Time, Not Money
No matter where you live, there are needy individuals that for one reason or another are unable to provide for themselves. Replace some of your shopping mall time with a volunteer group to help out the needy. Nothing will cure your desire to make frivolous purchases better than spending time with those that can’t even afford basic necessities. It’s so easy to forget and distance yourself from what you learn after a couple of weeks, so try to set up a regular volunteer schedule. Eventually you will see that you get the same warm and fuzzies helping others that you would if you were helping yourself and your shopping bags out to the car.
Not that my mother and I have EVER or would ever do this, but I have heard that people sometimes hide their purchases from their significant others. Think about it this way – even if your husband/wife (whoever) does not mind you buying things for yourself and you still feel the need to hide your new stuff, maybe you feel guilty because you know, deep down, you shouldn’t have bought it in the first place. Ask the person in your life that you share money with to take an interest in your shopping trips, even if it is just showing them what you bought when you get home. It is soooo much easier to justify the 85th pair of shoes to yourself – when you start trying to explain the necessity to someone else you may realize how silly the purchase was and actually make a return.
Release Shopping, Relieve Stress
If you don’t have a budget that you stick to every month (big time shoppers usually don’t), take the time to sit down and make one. I would advise that you also sit down with a highlighter and copies of your bank/credit card statements from the previous couple of months. As painful as this may seem, seeing what you spent your money on in black and white may be just the shock you need to get yourself into remission – from your shopping addiction, that is.
- Add up money spent on shopping trips (not the ones where you bought toilet paper but the shoes/clothes/purse trips)
- Total up your utility bills for a month and compare the amount with what you spent shopping. The first time I did this, I was shocked to see that I could have paid all of these smaller bills with the money I spent while shopping. When you have changed your habits, you will see how nice it is to have that extra cash to put towards debt or as an addition to your monthly savings.
Even if you have just a mild case of shopaholism and you just buy a thing or two that you shouldn’t, these things really add up. Make a list before your trips to the store for basic needs and only buy what is on your list. If you don’t believe how fast these things add up, write down the “extras” you would have thrown in the cart for an entire month, keep your lists and see what those things you didn’t buy added up to – I guarantee you’ll be surprised.
Refuse to Give Up?
For those of you that refuse to give up your shopping hobby – stay tuned, part 2 will be for those of us that just can’t quit and need to simply shop smarter.
photo by pawpaw67
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