Reducing the Temptation to Shop
We’re having a blog swap today! You can see my guest post “Are Credit Cards Evil” at Journey to Saving. This post is brought to you by E.M. fromJourney to Savingand is full of great tips to help you curb your temptation to shop. Where was this last week when I made my credit card mistake? 🙂
I have never been all that interested in the latest fashion trends, and I’m perfectly okay going out in a hoodie and jeans. I can’t be bothered with accessorizing most days. I own maybe five pairs of shoes, and hate shopping for them.
However, once upon a time, I did have a dangerous obsession with buying beauty products. Cosmetics, nail polish, hair products and skin products. You name it, I wanted to try it.
It got so bad I ended up with a pretty horrible collection of these items – half of them used maybe once or twice. Worse yet, some never opened.
Looking back, I do regret purchasing so much stuff. Because that’s exactly what it amounted to – clutter around my apartment. Last year, I vowed to use up all this stuff before making additional purchases, and so far, it has worked out well!
Today, I wanted to share some ways you might be able to reduce the temptation to shop. I know many people who do it simply because they’re bored, which is not a good reason to spend money at all! You worked hard for your paycheck; don’t squander it because a case of “I don’t know what to do” hit you. Believe me, you don’t want to catch yourself wandering aimlessly around the mall.
Why do you shop?
The first step to reduce the temptation to shop is to ask yourself why you feel the need to shop in the first place. Again, boredom isn’t an acceptable reason. Are you trying to fill a void in your life? Competing with coworkers, trying to look the trendiest? Impressing someone? Let me tell you the truth – shopping isn’t the answer.
Many people go on sprees, getting caught up in the moment of getting a good deal, adding new items to their wardrobe, and getting excited at the prospect of a shower of compliments coming their way. But when it’s all over, you’re left with a couple of items and a hefty receipt.
In a year, people are not going to remember what you wore to what. It’s simply not going to matter. Are you going to stay at your job forever? Likely not, so why waste money on trying to compete with people who never wear the same thing twice? Impress people with your true self – not with the material possessions you own. Unless you want to keep up an expensive façade forever, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.
Shop because you actually need to.
Obviously, we all need clothing items and shoes, but we don’t need to fill the entire closet. Guaranteed, you can be happy with less. Just get creative! To avoid clutter (also a bonus of buying less), get rid of an older item when you replace it with something new. Make “Thing Thursday” your thing!
Avoid temptation completely.
Once you’ve figured out why you feel compelled to go out and spend, hopefully you’ll have more of an understanding of yourself and your behavior. It can still be difficult to talk yourself out of spending, though. This is why avoiding the temptation completely can sometimes be necessary.
Don’t shop at trigger stores. If you love shopping at a certain place, avoid it at all costs. I know a lot of people who have a love/hate relationship with Target. If you must go somewhere, create a list and stick to it! Put blinders on and only go to the departments you need to go to.
This is exactly what I had to do to curb my spending. I never head over to the cosmetics aisle unless I actually have an item on my list. Even then, I make sure to only look at that specific item. If it helps, bring someone along to keep you in check. My boyfriend was the one to point out my frivolous spending in the first place, which made me think twice about my purchases.
If you’re an online shopper, don’t browse the websites you love! I know Ulta and Sephora are killers for me, and Amazon can be a big black hole to pour your money into.
If you’re like me, you might have signed up for a few newsletters from the stores you shop at. If we’re going to buy something, we might as well get a deal on it, right? Sure, but not when you’re trying to reduce your spending. Again, you should be making an effort to only buy what is needed. Unsubscribe from these emails so you’re not tempted to think, “But they’re having an amazing sale, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get this TV for this price!” Chances are, you don’t need a new TV, and the price will be reduced again.
I personally have a dedicated email address where these types of emails are sent. I don’t check it unless I’ve decided I’m actually in the market to buy something.
In the same vein, do you follow fashion blogs, tech blogs, or makeup blogs? Maybe YouTube channels? Stop. This is what got me into my mess in the first place. I used to watch videos of beauty guru’s reviewing new products, and I wanted to rush out and buy them. The realization that I did not need three different foundations came after the damage was done. If these things are truly hobbies of yours, return to them after you have your spending under control.
Evaluate your priorities.
What is really important to you in life? Do you like to travel? Are you aiming for financial independence someday? Getting your priorities in order makes it easier to determine where you should be putting your money. Perhaps it will motivate you to shift your focus to saving for these things. The next time you’re tempted to spend your money, ask yourself if it’s worth giving up X amount of dollars toward your goals.
Know your limits.
All this talk about how to stop spending may be great, but you have to know your limits. You don’t want to crash and burn halfway through this journey. Treat yourself once in a while, and keep it to a reasonable amount. Hopefully this will enable you to keep your goal in sight, whether it is to pay off your debt, save for something special, or have fewer items in the house. Spend in a meaningful way, and you might find yourself a happier person.
In addition to that, you can always let people know you’d appreciate gift cards to the places you truly love. This can free up more money for your goals, while still allowing you to have fun.
In the end, if the temptation is not there, hopefully you will find yourself happy with what you have. I know I was wasting a ton of money on trying to keep up with all the new beauty products that were coming out. I was also wasting a lot of my time watching videos on YouTube.
Use this time to reflect on your past decisions, or earn some extra money! Eventually, you’ll be able to walk into stores and feel no pressure to purchase things you don’t need. From experience, I know that it’s a wonderful thing.
Have you found yourself mindlessly shopping to pass the time? Do you have an expensive weakness such as technology, clothes or makeup? How did you overcome it?
E.M. is the blogger behind Journey to Saving. She writes about paying off her student loans, finding ways to save, her love of pets and her dreams of becoming financially independent. She encourages her fellow millennials to start their financial journey today while time is on their side.
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