This morning, coffee spilled on your dress, your boss was mean to you at work, and you had spinach in your teeth during that big presentation. Whoa, rough day, but you know what would help? Another shopping spree! Trust me I’ve been there too and I honestly thought a new sweater would solve all my problems. Whether we like it or not, there are always new products that we truly believe we need in our lives especially when we’re having a bad day. But as tempting at retail therapy can be, it can be a real budget breaker.
Sticking to your budget is an important step in living within your means and giving yourself the freedom to pursue your version of the American dream. If your retail habits are frankly out of budget, here are some easy ways to love what you already have and keep your wallet stuffed.
Time to clean up: Every time you want to go shopping, first take a trip to your closet and get rid of some old friends. The deal is that you can buy half of what you get rid of. For example: If I get rid of two pairs of shoes and two shirts, I can buy one pair of shoes and one shirt. This also applies to books, home décor, etc. Although this doesn’t completely eliminate the habit, it helps you understand that if you really want to shop, you have to donate those super cute pumps first!
Distract yourself: Like any bad habit, something needs to take its place before you can truly get rid of it. Have you ever wanted to learn how to cook? Take time to read more? Finally get in shape? Well here’s your chance! All that time and energy used shopping can be used to build a healthier you. Right when a little devil on your shoulder tells you to buy that pink scarf, decide to pick up a book, learn a new recipe, or go for a run. Chances are you’ll be so tired after that you won’t want to shop anymore!
Create a new budget: If you absolutely cannot quit cold turkey don’t worry, there are still ways to cut back. Creating a budget is easier than you think and allows you to choose where you spend your money. You’ve worked hard for your money and should control where you spend it. If shopping is an absolute must, just make sure you make room for it in your budget! Take your budgeted amount out of your bank account in cash and once you run out of it, you’re done shopping! This will help you understand just how fast money goes and the importance of budgeting.
Watch the clock: I don’t know about you but I hate shopping under pressure. I’m never able to carefully look for the things I want, try clothes on, or enjoy myself. However, if you’re trying to quit your shopping habit, pressure might be the best thing for you. A great method of pressure is to give yourself a strict amount of time once a week to get all your therapy shopping done. For example, you can shop on Tuesday nights between 6-7pm and once that time is up, you leave the store. Although this sounds a little like your mom assigning curfew, it will definitely reduce the amount of unnecessary things you are tempted to buy!
Stop and think: On the other end of the spectrum, you could try giving yourself extra time to decide if you actually need those new beanies. This is especially helpful for those of you who like to shop online. When your cart is full and you’re ready to enter your credit card, take 30 minutes to step away from the computer and think about how much you actually need those items. There’s a higher chance that during those 30 minutes you will consider better ways you could be spending or saving that money instead of online shopping. So step away from the computer and let your wallet breathe!
Trying these methods can help you to be more mindful of your money and relieve that extra stress in your life. Remember, this is your story, your money and you can build the life that you want!
For more ways you can own your life, or to find an event near you, check back weekly at AmericansforProsperityFoundation.org!