Control Shopping and Save Money
Stop Over-Shopping & Save Money
Do you shop for the sake of shopping? Do you buy more stuff because you think you might need it someday? Are you unable to resist a sale? Do you shop to feel better, or to relieve boredom? Or do you shop when you’re happy? Are you frustrated that your shopping prevents you from saving money?
All of the above?
If so, you’re not alone. My over-shopping was out of control. When the twins were born and we were reduced to only one income (read more about that here), I really had to get my shopping problems under control.
Much of my problem was the scarcity mentality—I have always been afraid I wouldn’t have enough. But, for me, the worry of not having enough wasn’t just about necessities (I mean, can one really have too much toilet paper stocked up?), it was about everything!
Probably some deep-seated emotional junk from childhood, but good grief–is it that big of a deal if I can’t make a shamrock shaped breakfast with the waffler maker I would use only ONE day a year?! (and that’s if I didn’t forget that I have the goofy thing!)
I needed to know WHY I was continuously buying stuff we didn’t need.
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This book by Dr. April Benson, outlines WHY we over-shop and gives realistic strategies to help you stop.
I suggest checking your local library for the book since it would be quite ironic for me to tempt you to buy something in an article about saving money and reducing your shopping!
However, I do think this book falls under the ‘need’ category since it will help you with the ‘whys’ and how you can change the behavior.
One of my ‘whys’ was an irrational obsession with trying to make certain my kids had every single thing that I thought they wanted.
If they love Elmo, then by golly they will have Elmo coloring books, Elmo stamps, Elmo crayons, Elmo books, Elmo toys, Elmo pajamas, Elmo slippers….we even went to meet Elmo!!!!
You’d think that if you fulfilled your desires this thoroughly, you would feel complete and not yearn for more.
Guess what? Not my kids, and quite honestly, not me either. We always seem to want more.
Here are some of the ways I got my over-shopping under control and saved tons of money:
#1 Stay out of stores
If you aren’t at the store, you won’t see the shamrock waffle maker that you will forget you bought come St Patrick’s day. You won’t be tempted by the sneaky 50% off sale signs for the kitchen gadgets that will end up in your next yard sale.
But let’s be real, we do have to go to the store for necessities. However, I was going to Target because I was bored. I would honestly tell myself that I was just going to look around and sip my Starbucks to have a little “me time”.
Never failed, I’d come home with a bunch of crap I didn’t need.
The reality is that I wouldn’t have bought those things if I hadn’t gone into the store in the first place.
#2 Stay out of online stores
You saw that one coming, didn’t ya?
If we can’t get to the stores, we shop online!
We had an ice storm one winter and were home bound for a few days, so I just shopped it up on Amazon!! I was like a junkie needing my fix and icy roads weren’t going to hold me back!
You’ve got to turn off the temptation for online over-shopping. Unsubscribe to the emails that send you the ‘great deals’. Don’t even go ‘window shopping’ on Amazon.
Join the Resource Library to download your free printable: Things to Do Instead of Shopping
#3 Find something else to do
The advice given to addicts is to replace the drug with something healthy.
You can’t just stop shopping cold turkey!! You have to put something in it’s place.
If you’re shopping is due to boredom, make a list of other things you can do instead. I find it’s helpful to keep that list handy so I don’t have to try to think of a shopping alternative, I can just refer to my list.
You can include things like going to the gym, watching a movie you’ve not had time to see, plant some flowers, declutter a closet (this always brings me enough guilt to not want to shop!)
#4 Buy only what you need and will use right now
We all have to shop for necessities at some point. How do we look the other way when the clearance and sale signs are trying to draw us back in?
First of all, only be at the store with a list of the things you need.
If you are armed with your list, you can’t be tempted by the ping pong table that is marked down to only $80 from it’s original price of $500.
Well, you can still be tempted. I mean, sure–a ping pong table isn’t on my list, but who in their right mind would pass up a deal like that when you’re sure your toddlers will love to play ping pong in 5 or 6 years? And, I’ll actually be saving money, because in 5 years ping pong tables will probably cost more than 500 dollars!!!
Please tell me I’m not the only one!
The only one to come home with some monstrosity that I store in the garage (the garage so full of crap I can’t even park my car inside) only to completely forget that I have it.
The 80 dollar great deal that I sold for ten bucks at my garage sale.
If you are tempted when shopping ask yourself two simple questions:
Do I NEED this?
Will I use it RIGHT NOW?
If your honest answer to either question is “NO”….
Leave it there.
You’ll feel so much better when you start to see how much money you save when you really think through your shopping.
What are some ways you have curbed your needless shopping?