I talk a lot about shopping on here, hence the title of this blog! In all honesty I would have to say my life revolves around shopping, not necessarily just for clothes and shoes (although about 75% of it is) but also for make-up, toiletries, groceries, food, etc. These have been my methods of survival when it comes to the shopping bug (these tips are mostly for clothes and shoes). Please let me know if you need clarification on any of these suggestions! I just saw that Money Pincher and Well Heeled Blog wrote similar posts. Check them out (click on their links and it will direct you to their posts). Great minds think alike!
15 (+2) Tips to Fight the Shopping Bug
1. Write down ALL the items I want on paper
I have a notebook that I carry with me everywhere just to write down thoughts but I have noticed it’s turned into a money tracker/list of wants notebook. I tend to write down the items I want from particular stores or other splurges (like a haircut) and add them all up. After coming back to them in a few days, I usually don’t want them.
2. Google ACTUAL pictures of the items on people or "in real life"
THIS is what really helps me. Photographers make items look lust-worthy online. Google the item name and you will most likely find it photographed for an eBay auction or on someone else’s lookbook or blog. I like seeing things "in real life" and worn by actual real people. This helps me in figuring out what it REALLY looks like and from there I usually decide I don’t want it.
3. Add items to online cart and leave it in there
When I add items to my cart I have this mentality that I will buy it later, so it’s sort of bookmarked for me when I come back to that site. Since I don’t have to think about it too much, when I come back to the site, chances are stuff in my size are sold out or I just don’t want it anymore. The initial “wanting” stage when first seeing an item has worn off.
4. Go to the store and try it on
This happens often to me. Everything looks enticing online because of the perfect lighting, model, and styling. If you can, go to the store and touch the material and see how it fits on you. Chances are it doesn’t look half as good in person as it did on my shiny laptop screen. This happens to me a lot and I end up wasting postage and gas to return the dang thing
5. Calculate how much money you will have left
When I add up everything that I want to buy, the total amount is insane! It’s almost an entire paycheck. Obviously I don’t buy everything I want but IF I think about it, it puts it into perspective for me for how much I would really spend on crap. This helps me curb those wants and also space out major purchases.
6. Think of what you could buy with the money if you don’t spend it
Is what you want equal to your entire gas budget for the month? Usually good quality pieces are. Think about if those $200 pair of ankle boots are really worth a month’s worth of food. That usually snaps me out of yearning for expensive but useless garb.
7. Read reviews
Seriously, look and read for all reviews for the item you want. There will usually be some negative ones. All people are different so you can’t always count on those 5-star reviews that rave and rave about a product. Beware of companies' false advertising and rating their own products 5 stars.
8. How much would you REALLY pay for it?
Look at the item, think of what you would wear it with and if it DIDN’T have a price tag. How much would you pay for it if you could give it your own price? Stores mark up their items like crazy so they can make a profit. If you wouldn’t pay $50 for that polyblend blouse, don’t buy it just because it’s on sale for $50!
9. Obvious one here – Focus on savings goals
I like using my Mint app on my phone to stay aligned with my savings goals while I’m out and about. I use the goals feature to see how I’m doing. Looking at your accounts will make you realize that saving is more important because you've come a long way to save that much money. Blowing money on shopping will only deter you from those savings goals you desperately want to reach (travel fund, down payment fund?).
10. Buy a small pick me up treat
This can be fro-yo, an iced caramel macchiato, song off iTunes, a used book off Amazon. Just make sure it doesn’t break the bank or open the floodgates to heavier spending. This could be a catalyst but it could also be a great substitute to fight the bigger urge to shop.
11. Head to the library
My favorite! A library card is usually only $2 or so. I absolutely love reading fiction and chick lit so I happily get books there instead of buying the $16 hardcovers at Barnes & Noble.
12. Find free games on your phone (if you have a smartphone) or on your computer.
Free games are everywhere. I don’t know anyone that hates playing games. There are games for everyone! My personal faves are Words With Friends, MegaJump, and any of those Sally’s Salon type games.
13. Play dress up
I could spend hours playing dress up and I’m a grown up (or so I think). In the mornings when I get ready I don't have much time, so when I really examine my closet in my free time, I end up pairing new outfits together and falling in love with pieces I already have. Try hanging outfits together such as a blouse with a cardigan you normally wouldn't conjure in the morning to make sure you will wear it together.
14. Calculate cost per wear
For a $3,000 bag, you will have to wear it 4,000 times to get the cost per wear down to $0.75. Is it worth it to you? Will you SERIOUSLY wear that bag that many times? If I will need a dress for a special occasion I think about the cost per wear and if I won’t wear it that often, the price should show that.
15. Head to the gym or take a walk
Get active! That always takes my mind off shopping. I will usually be too tired to spend money afterwards. Whether it’s hitting the gym, taking your dog for a walk, or cleaning, you will get an endorphin high from working out! That’s always a great substitute for the shopping high I yearn for.
16. Talk it out
When I talk about that sweater I want with the BF or my BFF, they always slap me back to reality, sometimes literally. OK joking, not literally, but they always put some sense into me or give me a 2nd opinion. They’re always looking out for me so I would suggest finding people you can rely on to stop your urges (not someone who will advocate it!).
17. Write it out
Lastly, I like to write it out. Writing makes me feel better and feels like I upchucked the shopping urge onto my blog instead of at the store and upon my wallet. I also write in a notebook (yes with a real pen and actual paper!) and that helps a lot. Try it out!
I hope you enjoyed these tips! These are all my personal tips for avoiding the shopping bug.
What helps you?!
What helps you?!