Being a self proclaimed shopaholic, I have been prone to impulse buys, and I come by it naturally. My Mom is a Shopaholic and one of the worst kinds, she doesn’t feel like she has a problem, and she feels she can justify her large bills all summed up into a four letter word SALE! My Mom sees a SALE sign and she is drawn to it like a moth is drawn to a light bulb.
My Mom will leave the house with a grocery list of the most basic items such as milk, eggs, bread and dog food. My Dad will yell out at her “Stick to the list Jane!!!!’, but she never does… If she were to stick to her grocery list, she would probably be spending from $20 – $30, depending on how much dog food she purchases. Instead, she comes back with a bill of $90 and upwards. She is a complete sucker for the 99 cents items. I swear she could see the most useless piece of junk selling for regular $10 and if it is .99, she has to have it. Grocery stores carry everything now too, so it is like one stop shopping full of temptation. Superstore carries a clothing line by Joe Fresh; you can now buy ingredients for your stir fry and a whole new outfit, and consumers LOVE it, including my Mom who is forever scouring the sales racks looking for cute pieces of clothing for my niece and nephew.
- Do not enter a shop or store unless you have to purchase something. After living with me, myself and I for over 40 years I know myself pretty well, and I know if I go into a store to just window shop, chances are I will leave with something, especially if it is a store I adore, Lululemon is a weak spot for me. If I try something on and love it, well, it is game over for me. I am a goner, I am definitely leaving the shop with a bag in tow. Avoidance is my best strategy for this stage of the game.
- Shop with purpose! When you do have to go out shopping, whether to replace a pair of well worn jeans or new dress shoes for work, stick to why you are shopping. Sales associates are trained to make suggestions for add ons to pair with the item you plan to purchase or to inform you about specials such as buy one, get the next half off. If you want to save more money, or pay down some bills, you need to stick with what you have in mind. Before you go shopping make sure you know EXACTLY what you want to buy and make sure you love what you are buying, or guaranteed, a few weeks or months down the road you will be replacing the item you weren’t so stoked to purchase in the first place. As soon as you find what you love and pay for it, make a b line to head home; step away from the temptation.
- Stick to the list. If you have a list of items you need to purchase, please stick to the list. Make a game of it; challenge yourself such as can you stick to your lists for a complete month and if you are successful then you can reward yourself with a treat you know you can afford.
- Avoid bad influences. I am not talking about drinking and shopping, but I am talking about the friend who thinks everything you pick up is “fabulous, a great price, so you, and that is so cute you should totally buy it!”. I have a girlfriend like this who self admits that she loves it when we go shopping as I buy so many of her suggestions she gets a shopping high vicariously through me, yet she barely buys anything for herself! Then there is the friend who can afford to practically buy all of Winners, and you start to feel envious of all her great finds and purchases, so you want in on the fun. Avoid these friends! In fact, if need to bring a dampener with you when shopping, bring your husband or boyfriend. I know my boyfriend takes the joy out of shopping, he is all down to business, best price, best quality, get it done and over.
- Determine if the item is a need or a want. Also, be honest with yourself. If you have jeans with holes in them and they are inappropriate to even wear on casual day at your work place, you need to replace those, however if you have jeans you have tired of, but they are still wearable, and they are not dumpy Mom jeans, you probably don’t need a new pair. If you decide you really want something despite it not being a need, take a pause, think about your long term goals, or if you have been saving up for something big like a trip, a car or a home. Yes, a pair of jeans is a drop in the bucket, but as discussed in earlier, small costs add up.
Stay strong my friends and keep your eye on the prize. Imagine not having any consumer debt? Think about the extra money you would save, and how it would remain as your money! You won’t be giving your money to banks and maybe you will finally be able to buy that house you’ve been dreaming of for the future. Being debt free is financial freedom.