With the economy taking a turn for the worse, we are always hearing about “cut-backs.” Corporations are doing it, airlines are doing it, and most consumers should be doing it as well. Given the rise in gas prices and rampant inflation, you’ve probably already made a few minor life adjustments in the interest of frugality. You might be eating out less or brewing your coffee at home. More than likely, though, these small changes will not be enough. Despite consumers’ valiant efforts toward change, sales figures indicate that shoppers are still hitting retail stores in droves. Why do people shop when they don’t have money? For one, we are bombarded by limitless choices, especially with the online marketplace continuing to grow. In addition, shopping makes us feel good. It’s a quick pick-me-up, a refreshing change from the mundane day-to-day grind. But to be financially stable, you have to break yourself of this habit, and we’ll give you five ways you can do so.
Ways to Cut Back
- Don’t cut it out, just cut back. Once shopping becomes a habit, you grow accustomed to making a few new purchases each week, and you stop seeing it as a luxury. You might justify it by saying that you’ve had a rough day and need a new DVD. Or you might tell yourself that you have nothing to wear for an upcoming special occasion. You don’t need to stop shopping entirely, but you do need to set limits. Try to cut your shopping time in half until you’re down to only one or two times per month at the most.
- Think twice. Take the time to understand why you really want the things you buy. Try to distinguish between shopping and buying; you don’t have to buy every time you go shopping. Before you purchase something, walk around the store and think the purchase over.
- Resist trends. Fashion trends are fickle and change every few months. Trying to keep up with them will land you in a mountain of debt. You’re better off sticking to the classics that you know will never go out of style.
- Don’t fall prey to marketing. Marketers are highly skilled in making you want what you don’t have. The thing is, you probably don’t need what you don’t already have. Marketing and advertising are becoming more aggressive, and you have to resist this temptation to avoid breaking your budget.
- Treat yourself in other ways. If you were a hardcore shopper before, you will have to devise a new way to fill your time. Think about other things you enjoy that are inexpensive or free. You could exercise, give yourself a pedicure, or go bowling with friends.