It’s so hard to avoid, you have some money in your pocket and some time to spare, you’re feeling a bit down and going out on a little shopping spree makes you feel better. You get home, have a wonderful pair of new shoes and suddenly everything is great and dandy! I’ve been here one too many times, be it, shoes or stuff for my kids.
Retail therapy always does the trick for a quick boost but it sure hurts the finances.
Fortunately I’ve always been good at taking care of my finances and I know how to save money so I still haven’t gotten to the point of going broke. However, there’s been one too many times that I’ve spent some extra cash on an item (that I probably don’t need) and then something will suddenly come up and I’m short of cash… always leaving me thinking, darn it, I shouldn’t have tried to save that money!
I’m sure this feeling is all too familiar, be it to De-stress, because you’re bored or just the lure of the hunt, retail therapy can become a problem and put a big dent in your budget. One boring afternoon in the mall can cause some major damage, a big bookstore on discount or even just finding that one item you’ve been looking for. Add to that lunch, a coffee and a little something for yourself to take home and before you know it you’re easily out of $200.
It’s no big secret, spending like this can leave you broke. So here’s a few ideas on how you can get a grip on it before you make a dent in your finances.
1. Ask yourself, do you really need it? When I was a kid and wanted something my mom would always ask me “Do you need it or do you want it?”, I hated that! But, now that I’m an adult it’s sure helped me keep myself in check when I’m in that “retail therapy” mood. It’s not that hard to do, when you’re out and about and see something you want, just ask yourself, do I really need it? When and where will I wear it? Is it really worth the dent to your finances ?
2. Take your time! My daughter is all about the shoes, the higher the heel and the more fashionable, the better, no matter what they cost! Something I like about her is that she’ll see a pair she likes and she’ll think about it for days, even weeks, she’ll think it over, budget and then go for it if she feels they’re worth it. Take your time, if you’re at the mall, go for a coffee or a bite to eat, chances are you’ll realize you didn’t really want it anyway.
3. Make lists! Retail therapy can also happen at the supermarket, haven’t you noticed that? We all know we should never do our grocery shopping on an empty stomach and even sometimes we end up buying little things here and there that run up our bill. My boyfriend is big into movies, one visit to Walmart and he walks out with DVD boxed sets that cost a fortune, so I make him stay at home. He is a big drain on my finances; just do not tell him I said so. I’m a big list person and every time I go to the supermarket I make sure I take a full list of groceries… it doesn’t only help me remember everything, it makes me stick to buying just what I need. (This also helps at the mall by the way!)
4. Ditch the credit card. Credit cards can be evil, it’s so easy to be lured into buying something when you know you can take your time to pay it. Chances are you’re brainwashing yourself into not thinking about interest and payments. I personally have my one credit card frozen, I keep it at home and I only activate it in case of some medical emergency or when I travel… other than that, I stick to debit and I only spend what I have. Whenever you’re in a “retail therapy” mood, make sure you leave your credit card at home and only take the cash you know you can spend.
As everything in life, it can be done if you put your mind to it. Once you manage to control it a couple of times you’ll have such a great feeling of success that it can only get better. There’s nothing wrong in indulging yourself every now and then, actually, I believe it’s necessary… just make sure you can afford to do it!
Author: Ann Brampton