It is indeed difficult to resist the temptation to shop especially when you have fantastic deals being offered by many of the shops. But if you are one of those who just cannot hold back and find yourself spending a high amount on shopping regularly, then you need to read on to find out how I overcame this habit. It is necessary to mention here that I too faced buyer’s regret on the many occasions that I splurged on something that was extravagant and much outside my own comfort area.
Earlier, I too was guilty of spending a lot of money on clothes, books, and shoes in order to keep up with the need to look smart. But some years on and as I became more mature, I realized the futility of spending on all this stuff that I would not be able to use frequently and to the fullest capacity.
The result is that I am very careful about my spending and am able to curb that instinct to spend on such stuff. I look for value buying opportunities and only when I find true value for the money I intend spending do I go ahead and make the purchase.
It is worth mentioning here that I was able to achieve success in my endeavor mainly because I did some introspection and tried to find out the underlying reasons that were compelling me to behave in the manner I did when I overspent.
Some of the reasons why we over-indulge in buying stuff:
a) The urge to counter insecurities that were prevalent
I was merely trying to possess material things to compensate for the insecurities that were lying deep down within me and hoping that these would help me in overcoming those insecurities.
b) To feel better
It has been proved time and again that when you buy something new and fancy, it gives you a temporary boost and you feel much better for some time.
c) To overcome boredom and seek distraction
The absence of anything substantial to do and boredom often leads people to the shopping malls and they end up purchasing stuff they would not have otherwise done. That also explains the presence of a lot of youth at shopping malls.
d) For entertainment
You may be aware that window shopping is a major pastime that is indulged in by many people. However, it also leads to them buying stuff on impulse as the proximity of so many goodies becomes difficult to resist. They thus end up purchasing items that they would have otherwise deliberated upon and possibly not even bought in normal circumstances.
e)Peer pressure and the need to impress
The urge to be recognized in social circles and the need to impress them is another reason why people keep buying stuff.
f) To plug a gap or emptiness in your life
Some people find that they are able to get some respite from the emptiness they are facing in their life through shopping and spending money.
g) Impulsive buying
This happens to many people who let their emotions at a particular point get the better of them and they end up buying a lot of different stuff or even copies of the same stuff. One example is how music fans often purchase many copies of their favorite music idol just due to the fact that at that particular point in time they felt they must appreciate the effort of that idol in coming out with their favorite album and they should buy many copies to reward that particular artist.
So how do you get out of this spending cycle? The good news is that like every other program, there are steps you can follow methodically and get out of this disturbing habit. It is a matter of recognizing when you actually need something as compared to just buying something because you want them. The steps mentioned below have been already tried before by many with positive results and you can thus follow them without any doubt or apprehension.
1. Acknowledge the problem.
To address any problem effectively, you first need to be aware of it and acknowledge it. Not doing so is like living in a fool’s paradise where everything seems s fine and okay. Once you are able to determine the root cause of your behavior, you are placed more than half way towards solving the problem. People who refuse to acknowledge often have something more to hide and they are forever searching for solutions without knowing the actual problem.
2. Keep yourself busy.
Doing nothing often leads to temptations that are hard to resist and you end up doing stuff that you would not have contemplated if you were busy enough. When you have a lot of time to spare and some money with you, the urge to go and spend it becomes too intense and that starts a vicious cycle.
3. Inculcate habits that are less expensive than your spending habit.
You can take on hobbies that are not only interesting, but may also help you earn some money. Something like a home based business or putting your talents to good use in some other activity is far more beneficial to you and would adequately wean you away from the spending habit. That would be a wonderful way to express your creativity and skills and also help you keep busy.
4. Request somebody else to make the purchases for you.
If you feel that you always end up buying more than you had planned to, then you could depute or request somebody else to do the needful for you. Mind you this person has to be somebody trustworthy and disciplined or it can backfire badly. I have often entrusted this responsibility to my family and the advantage I have with my spouse is that she is very focused in her approach. This helps her pick up things in a planned manner and she does not need to spend a lot of time at the shop or mall and invite temptation. You can help by giving appropriate instructions and the price limits beyond which the purchases should not be made.
5. Think about the effort and energy required to earn the money you are about to spend.
This exercise will allow you to appreciate the long hours you put in to earn the money you are about to spend in a jiffy and may discourage you such that you will not make the purchase. This approach has been very successful for people as they immediately desist from their purchase and save the money from being spent.
6. Take a few days or postpone your buying decision.
By doing so, you will not give in to an impulse buying decision and after a couple of days you might understand that a particular item is no longer as important as it appeared to be two days back.
7. Keep track of your funds through a good money management device or tool.
Once you are aware of your exact financial status, you would become more careful about your spending habits. A good money management tool will help you budget expenses in a professional and planned manner and that will help you avoid impulse buying.
8. Do not listen to sales or discount scheme offers.
Just because there is a sale on should not be the reason why you should go and buy something. You must buy only what you actually need and not what you want. Hence only necessity should drive your purchase and not desire.
9. Make sure you compare prices.
Do not buy something just merely because of the brand name. If you can find cheaper alternatives that do not have the brand name, by all means, you must go for them. Purchase branded items occasionally to satisfy your ego and your desire. However, avoid the habit of buying clothing stuff just because they have been recommended on some fashion magazine by some designers.
10. Bring shopping lists and stick to them.
When you take along shopping lists with you and have the discipline to stick to them, you can avoid spending unnecessarily and your buying becomes a planned one. It will help you stick to the budget and not go overboard.
11. Remember that good things need not always be very costly.
All of us love the good things in life. However by limiting their purchase to just the need will ensure that you are in control of your expenses and are also able to enjoy those good things. For instance you can keep away from buying bags or shoes of the same color that you bought merely to satisfy your ego.
12. Review what you already have and learn to appreciate their value.
Get into the habit of reviewing your possessions occasionally. That will help you realize their value and you may be able to curb your desire of buying more of the same stuff. It will also give you a reality check of how many things have just been accumulated and not used adequately and are just gathering dust. That is sure to embarrass you and dilute your intense desire to purchase more.
13. Do not use your credit cards.
There have been enough studies that have shown how people not using credit cards actually spend much less. These credit cards should be used only for convenience and if you are not able to maintain that discipline and are making use of them to buy stuff just because they are on your possession, get rid of them.
14. Seek help if you are deep in debt.
If things have become so bad that you are in debt then you must seek professional help and try to get out of the situation with help from organizations that have specific ways to help out debtors.
If you are ready to get out of your spending habit, then you will do well to impose the above mentioned restrictions upon yourself. You will find that with discipline, single minded focus and a lot of discipline, you can become successful in controlling that urge to spend.