Keep impulse shopping under control
Oh, the excitement of trying new clothes, the adrenaline rush from finding great deals, matching clothes, and trying on outfits that fit! Only to find yourself later in a house surrounded by clothes that have never been worn, still in shopping bags, with the price tags attached. If your life reminds you of that of Becky Bloomwood character from Confessions of a Shopaholic, use these simple strategies to keep your spending under control.
Have a budget
Do you know how much you are spending per month on rent, utilities, and food? If so, it is just as wise to have a spending budget for shopping as well. Even better, break it down into smaller sub items, such as cosmetics, clothes, shoes. Once you have spent your monthly shopping allowance, do not allow yourself to dig any deeper into it. Every time you go shopping determine the amount of money you allow yourself to spend and stick to it.
Pay with cash
Leave credit and debit cards at home, and only bring cash with you on a shopping trip. This will force you to stick to your budget. Besides, studies show that people who paid for their purchases by cash have spent about half than people who paid with plastic.
Have a shopping list
Know exactly what you are going shopping for on any particular trip to the store. Determine what you need, whether it is a winter coat, a t-shirt, or sandals, and look for that particular item. Do not get distracted by what looks cute, cheap or is on sale.
Keep a shopping journal
For a month, write down everything you purchase, with the price next to it. Review the list in the end of the month with a pen, marking each item with “need” or “don’t need.” Return any items that you haven’t worn marked with “don’t need,” because if you haven’t worn them within a month within purchasing, chances are you won’t wear them at all.
Check store return policy
If you have a tendency to buy clothes that you don’t’ need, make sure that you can at least return them. At this day and age, all stores should be able to accept return for a full refund. Avoid stores that not allow exchange or credit, because this forces you into more buying, and doesn’t help your financial situation at all! It is best not to buy anything that you are not 100% sure you need, to avoid returning it later. Needless to say, save all your receipts for easy returns.
Sleep on it
If possible, ask the sales associate to hold the item for you for a day or two. Sleep on it and see if you still like it next morning. If you really-really want it, by all means buy it, but you will be surprised how many times you will feel like you don’t really care for the item on the next day.
Address emotional shopping
Have you ever felt like you needed to get out and visit a store, because you were bored and had nothing better to do? Don’t go shopping hungry, lonely or upset, because your judgment will be impacted by the negative emotions. No argument here: sometimes a small treat makes us feel better, that’s why we call it “shopping therapy.” If you do, bring cash, stick to your budget (see above), and only reward yourself with one small purchase.
There are a lot of psychological reasons behind the need to shop, from boredom to loneliness. By staying busy and connected with friends and family, feeling the need to be appreciated and loved, a lot of the urge to buying stuff will go away.
Related reading: Are you an impulse shopper?