Originally published on Hubpages.
Coming from a fellow shopaholic, I hope that you readers trust my advice. I absolutely love to spend money on clothing, decorative items, make-up, etc. You name it, I probably binge shop it. The real question is, how do you make it stop?
I have tried method after method trying to control my shopping needs, but it is extremely difficult. The real wake-up call to this issue is looking at your bank account and feeling that stab of guilt deep in your chest when you see how much money you have lost. Do not let yourself get to a point of being in debt, try taking these tips to avoid falling to rock bottom.
Always Check your Closet
Do you need something specific to wear for a special occasion? You want to go out and find something new to wear to this occasion, right? Try looking through your closet first. Chances are there are items at the back of your closet or the back of your drawers that you completely forgot you even own (this has happened to me many times). I am certain that you will find something you have hardly worn, maybe once or twice, that will look perfect for whatever event you need it for.
If your Closet Fails: Plan B
If you look through all of your clothes and still cannot find that perfect piece of clothing you desire to wear out, try borrowing from a friend. Some of your closest friends tend to also have many pieces of clothing and probably would not mind letting you borrow some for an evening, it also may be exactly what you are looking for. Go to your trendiest friend and ask them to find something for you to wear to your special occasion and let them go nuts picking out an outfit for you. Chances are you will look awesome and be very pleased with the outcome. It is almost as if you are wearing new clothes too because they are not anything you have worn before! It is a win-win situation. You do not spend any money and you get to wear something new and exciting!
Stay Away from Online Stores
Maybe it’s a lame evening and you have nothing to do. You have already taken your boredom out on Netflix, food, and random cleaning. Your closest friends are busy doing something fun and exciting and you are just at your place, bored. I know you are tempted to head to an online store or your favorite clothing stores which deliver from shopping online… But wait! You already spent $100.00 yesterday on that brand new dress for that wedding you have this summer. Maybe it is not a good idea to hit that internet icon. Online shopping is so simple and easy because you can do it right from your home, but think to yourself, “is there anything that I really need?” Chances are you do not need anything and your boredom is causing you to take the risk of entering the online shopping dungeon where you know the only escape is to buy that cute leather jacket you were eyeing in the store the other day.
Find something else to do with your boredom! Do not enter the world of online shopping when you know you cannot resist. They say that step one is acceptance, well that is true. Know that you are the type of person that has trouble saying no to certain items so try to avoid putting yourself in those sticky situations. There are plenty of other things you can do with your time. Try baking something, writing a blog, chatting online to a close friend, call a close friend, go for a walk, or pick a new hobby like scrapbooking to keep you entertained and satisfied on those lonely boring evenings.
“Am I Going to Wear This?”
The question that people should be asking themselves, but unfortunately do not, is “am I going to wear this?” or “am I going to use this?” You allowed yourself to enter into a shop… and then you allowed yourself to try something on. Well, if you got to this point of trying to control your shopping habits then you must ask yourself the most important question. Do you really need it? Are you actually going to use it? or wear it? If you think about it and what you normally do in your daily life, how beneficial is that item really going to be to you? How many times are you really going to wear those heels if you aren’t normally a dress-up kind of gal? If you can’t see yourself benefiting from the object then you must leave it and move on because in the long run you really just helped yourself in two ways. You did not spend money on something you do not need, and you do not have another item that you need to store somewhere at your place. Always ask yourself these questions.
Create a Budget for Yourself
This will be the hardest task for you to do as it means completely cutting your spending costs, but it may be the most beneficial. Create a spending budget for yourself and take an oath to go by it. Start by separating your living needs and your entertainment/wants. Living needs obviously include things such as food, water, or hydro. Basically, anything you need to survive is accounted as a living need. Know how much you have to pay monthly for these needs and make sure you have that money ready every month to pay those bills. Set part of the amount you make weekly or bi-weekly specifically for your living needs so that you know you have that money secured and ready to pay off. Next, set a limit for the money you want to use for simple wants or entertainment every month, but make sure it is doable. For example, do not set a standard of $500.00 a month for things you want when you only make $700.00 a month. Make a budget of only having about $50.00-$70.00 a month for your personal wants or entertainment. If you do not use all of it in one month, then you have more to add to the budget next month!
Pass it to Someone You Trust
Maybe none of the above-said methods have really worked for you. You are still shopping and it feels as though it has become uncontrollable… so now what? This piece of advice I am about to give is probably the most difficult yet. Give your methods of spending to someone else. Have them hold onto it so that you are unable to spend any more money. Give a close friend or a family member your credit cards in which you have endlessly used for your shopping sport and do not let them give it to you unless absolutely necessary. This does not mean completely cut yourself off from money because you never know when there might be an emergency, always try to keep about $20.00 or have your debit card in your wallet in case. Try to give that person you trust all of your credit cards so that you cannot purchase with them and have bills piling up from different cards or one mass one on just one card. If you do not have anyone that you trust to hold onto your cards then simply leave them at home in one of your dresser drawers so that you do not have access to it while you are out.
After working hard to control my own shopping habits, there is advice that I like to take from Mr. Luke Brandon which is “Cost and worth are very different things.” By this, Luke means that just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it is a valuable item, and just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it isn’t a valuable item. Hopefully, these tips will help you try and control your shopping needs, even though that beautiful mint green cashmere sweater would look cute this spring… No! Control the temptations of shopping, the best that you can that is.