How to Stop Shopping So Much

Just Say No to Shopping

I don't know about you, but I just don't have as much money as I once did. Furthermore, I just don't have the credit cards and the awesome credit limits anymore. Let's face it, it is cool to be a frugal shopper now. This can be tough on someone like myself. I love to shop.

Shopping for me was more than just a simple task. I did not shop simply because I needed some items. When I was down, I would go shopping to lift my spirits. When I was bored, I would call friends and we would go shopping together; we would bond over the experience. When I received a bonus or a promotion, I would celebrate by shopping. Shopping was a major activity and a source of great joy for me. Now that the economy has tanked, I really can't enjoy something I once loved. I suspect there are many recovering shopping addicts out there, and I would like to help you with some tips to stop shopping so much.

As we all know, shopping is a necessary evil. We all have to go shopping sometimes. Everyone needs food, paper products, bathroom supplies, etc. Shopping is inevitable, so it can be difficult to know when to shop. I am no expert, but I have managed to no longer shop as much. I hope these tips can help someone else.

Stay Away from Your Weaknesses

We all have certain stores that we know we should avoid. In some cases, you can't avoid these stores. Personally, you could put $300 in my hand, tell me to spend the whole amount, and shove me into Target or Walmart, and I could gladly spend the entire amount in about an hour or less. I love those stores just that much.

I daresay those are two stores that are unavoidable when trying to save money. Where else can you buy a potted plant, lunch meat, shampoo, socks, medicine, and toilet paper in one spot for such a low price? You've got to go in these stores rather than paying too much somewhere else. What you can do is walk past the clothing and shoes departments if you know those are your weaknesses. Both stores strategic place items you do not need in spots that you have to walk through to get to the items you do need. Don't give into temptation! Keep walking!

What you can avoid entirely are certain stores if you know you will lose all control if you enter. For example, my weakness stores are Bath & Body Works, Yankee Candle, and any shoe stores. What do I do? I just do not go into those stores at all. If I run out of shower gels and I have a coupon, I am allowed to go into Bath & Body Works. If I need some generic gifts, run completely out of candles, and have a coupon, I am allowed to go into Yankee Candle. The sad truth is, I can't just not shop at all at the mall.

If shopping is something I love and I never get to do it, I am going to snap at some point. It is cruel for anyone to expect that you are not going to sometimes go into stores that you love. You just have to do it less and use some techniques so you do not shop too much.

Some Questions to Ask While Shopping

While shopping, you may want to ask yourself some questions to help curb your desire to shop so much. These questions will especially help you stop impulse shopping. Ask yourself:

  1. Do I really need this item?
  2. Do I already have a similar item?
  3. Is there something I would rather have instead of this?
  4. Can I find it cheaper somewhere else?

If you answer "yes" to any of the questions, do not buy the item just yet. Give it some thought and, if you still want it, buy it a week later. Nine times out of ten, you will forget about the item the second you leave the store. Impulse shopping is usually the very type of shopping that causes the most guilt. If you give yourself some time, you will feel better about your purchase if you do buy it. You will also give yourself the opportunity to find the same item at a lower price elsewhere.

Try It On

Sometimes you see an outfit you absolutely love at the mall in a window display or on a mannequin. You might look at the item all the time and you wonder if you should save your money for it. You may even start to feel sorry for yourself because you can't afford to buy it. You know what you should do? Try it on!

I say this because there is no reason to walk around thinking about an outfit everyday without knowing how it will look on you. Often, once you are wearing the outfit it does not look the way you imagined it would look. Maybe the material is itchy or the zipper doesn't work well. Perhaps it makes you look 10 pounds heavier. Why fantasize about something you would never really want anyway? You will feel much better about not getting the item.

Of course, every now and then, the outfit is perfect for you. That is when you do need to determine if you would ever have any reason to wear it. Also, can you really afford it? If you absolutely love it and you can imagine wearing it at a number of occasions, I am going to say something financial advisors would never say: save up the money and buy it! Sell some of your old clothes to consignment shops or have a yard sale. Buy only cheap food for a few weeks. If you love it that much, you deserve to have a treat every now and then. If you have decreased all your spending habits, why don't you get to have something you really want for once?

Nothing is Better than Free

The best way to stop shopping too much is to find some new activities you can enjoy. Do you like to read? If so, I have found going to the library helps me a lot. After all, you can check out all the books for free. So I go in, look around, pick out a few books, and check them out. It is actually really similar to the shopping experience. The best part about it - all the books are free! I get to feel like I am still shopping, yet I pay nothing. Give it a try.

The bottom line is, I am no financial expert and I am not perfect. I feel like many financial advisors look down upon shopping addicts and believe it is easy to stop spending. I know it is not. However, there are ways to cut back and you can still enjoy shopping. It is just going to be a scaled down version compared to how you once shopped. You can still have fun though. I hope these tips help you stop shopping too much. They've helped me a lot. Good luck to you!

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Comments 16 comments

nycgrl profile image

nycgrl 5 years ago from New York

This hub is too funny considering our previous conversation, guess it was on your mind! I am with you, I am a recovering shopaholic since the economy tanked. It's terrible being in NYC too, I used to go and buy something every lunch break. People used to always be like there she is with another shopping bag lol. Not anymore though. My rule that helps me now is only buy it if I have a coupon or I absolutely need it (milk, bread, shampoo, etc). If it doesn't fit those categories then its a no go. Usually if I wait just a bit a coupon or major sale comes up.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Yes, this has been on my mind a lot lately! I am still trying to save money so I can have a fun vacation next month, but I am like a kid in a candy store when I walk by certain stores. I swear, Bath & Body Works is going to be my downfall! They keep trying to lure me in with coupons, and I work with someone that has their Dark Kiss scent and it is so nice. I don't have that one yet. Still, I am fighting it! Thanks for the comment!


germanbini profile image

germanbini 5 years ago from Missouri

This is great advice, but unfortunately your hub will probably fall on deaf ears (or, in the case of the reader, "blind eyes" might be a better metaphor). Either way, you're absolutely right; in this economy, some people would be better off saving instead of spending for a while. I read a theory once that said that one of the reasons that women like to shop is because of the genetics - historically we were the "gatherers" of the people. I don't know if this is true but it makes a lot of sense. Voted up! :)


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I am glad you liked the hub. Yes, it is probably true that people won't really listen. Even though I give this advice, it is hard for me to follow it sometimes. I had a bad day yesterday and desperately wanted to go shopping. At least I talked myself out of it. I am going to go with that theory - maybe we are gatherers and need to shop. Thanks for the comment and the vote up!


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 5 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

Great hub, think we should all stop, right now. I have a three tips: First, before you thow anything away ask 'is it fit for purpose?', if yes, then just keep on using it. Second, never shop for food when you're hungry. Third, always check your car after shopping (just found 6 slices of what was gorgeous ham in the car - when did I last shop?? Couldn't even give it to the dog!)


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Yes, for now, none of us can live the life we once lived. Or at least, I guess that applies to most of us. Even though it is better not to fill up my home with clutter, I do miss the old shopping days. You also have some helpful tips, too. Thanks for reading and for the comment.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Excellent advice. I hope more folks heed it!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks for reading and for the comment. Hopefully it will help someone else. It is tough to stop shopping!


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Nice hub....my wife's weakness is Best Buy, which our 4 year old calls YellowBs....she is addicted to the lastest tech stuff....has to have it.....I should get her to read your questions....and then she would never buy from Yellow Bs again...voted up.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

We all have our weaknesses. It is a good thing Best Buy is a little too far away from me, so I can't get there easily. I understand. Thanks for the comment!


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 4 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

I've gotten a lot better as I got older, but will admit to an occasional weakness, but still for clearance items.

I shop by process of elimination. First I rationalize a need for the item, and then I rationalize that the need was only that I THINK I need it. I do quite well...most times!

If I haven't said it before, I absolutely LOVE your hubs...keep em' coming!!!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I am better at not shopping as much as I get older, too. However, if I am having a bad day, I always convince myself I deserve an award for working so hard and surviving the day. If anyone tries to talk me out of it, my excuse is, "But I deserve it!" There is no getting past that. :-)

And thank you so much!


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 4 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

I almost always shop alone...don't need to hear anything from the naysayers!

AND...you're quite welcome!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

You are right! Naysayers ruin a good shopping trip. :-)


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

This is all great advice, Jeannie. I agree that you do not need to go to extremes - telling yourself you can't do it will make you want it more. If you really want something, find a way to get it.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Millionaire Tips - It is amazing how you want something so much more when you can't have it. There were several outfits I desperately wanted, but now that I got my paycheck and know I am getting my tax refund, I don't want them as much. I feel better having extra money. :-)

Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment!

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