Not Going Out Like That

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How to Stop Shopping & Spending

It might be the change in seasons and the anticipation of cooler weather, but I have been on a roll when it comes to shopping lately. I am typically very good at saving. I am the person who gets a high when I see my savings account or investments growing. My recent spending has not been “out of control” or anything beyond what I can pay off at the end of the month, but I did notice that shopping often triggers the desire for MORE shopping. I get into a cycle of wanting more and more stuff.  Especially, when an equally eager shopping companion is near.

I decided to research some articles and expert advice on what makes us shop, when we really don’t NEED anymore clothes, shoes, purses or make-up and here is what I came up with :

Emotion is the key driver behind buying decisions. Shopping can temporarily fill psychological needs. We are continually told we “deserve” cashmere sweaters, fine cigars, etc. We begin to believe that these things will make us happy. If we are bored or depressed, the novelty of acquiring something new provides a pick-me-up. Shopping is considered by many in our culture a perfectly respectable recreational activity; for some, it is actually a hobby.(1)

For women with full houses and fuller schedules, shopping offers a precious opportunity for purposeful aimlessness, a place to be solitary for a delicious hour or more. (2)

I think part of the reason I have been shopping so much lately is because my husband has been working so much. He is busy with a big business opportunity and as a result, I have had to pick up more of the work related to our home and kids. I am either trying to reward myself or find an escape in shopping. I think the other motivator for me is the acknowledgement from others when I get praise on something new that I purchased. It’s a strange way to seek validation, but sometimes approval from strangers is comforting.

So how do you stop yourself from shopping ? First, figure out what is motivating you to spend .What is the emotion behind it. Then try to replace the shopping response with something else. Like a walk around the block when you are tempted to on-line shop or buying a magazine instead of new shoes when you are at a store.

Below are some other helpful tips to help you avoid shopping. Pick a few that you think will really speak to you in that moment of weakness and keep the list nearby. Maybe even in your wallet, wrapped around your credit card. Or place a small sticker on the inside of your wallet, that reminds you to STOP spending. Sort of like a red string tied around a finger.


Set a budget for how much you are allowed to spend per month and stick to it. Review your credit card bill on-line to remind yourself how much you have already spent.

Make a pact that you will not shop until you have worn all of your recent buys at least 2 times.

Clean out your closet. You will often find clothing that you forgot about and wearing it will make you feel like you have something new on.
Look at fashion magazines and blogs for inspiration on how to wear items of clothing you already have, rather than looking for new items that you can purchase.

Take yourself off the email alerts you get from your favorite retailers. Ask fellow shopaholic friends to NOT forward you any sales promotions.

Make a list of people you have to buy gifts for in the near future and when the urge to shop is just overwhelming, try to purchase those gifts instead of shopping for yourself.

Limit yourself to only one credit card. Pay off and close credit cards from stores and do not open any new lines of credit.

Keep a list of what you really “need” and when you feel the impulse to shop refer to your list to remind you that you do not NEED this item.

If you are not sure if you should buy an item even though it’s a great deal, leave it at the store and tell yourself that if you still want it in 3 days, and it’s still available then, you were meant to have it. Doubt means don’t !

Avoid discount stores like Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s, Ross, etc.

Pay for items with cash or check.

Throw catalogs in the recycle bin as soon as you get them.

Stay away from malls as a means for entertainment.

Send me any other tips or suggestions you may have !

(1) – from this article

(2) from this article

* Disclaimer: I am not a financial expert or adviser so this is not professional advice and is simply a journal of how I am going to try to tackle my own shopping compulsion.