How to become a Frugal Shopaholic
If you're a shopaholic, the best part of your day comes when you pass a shopping store after a long day at work. You stop to look through the window and temptation starts lurking in your mind. At that moment of time, there is no difference in your mentality and the mentality of a 5 year old kid standing in line to get an ice-cream. You enter the store and you "shop till you drop" and come home with all the happiness in the world. But as you're readying yourself to go to sleep, you realize that you just spent half your month's salary in one hour of shopping. And that's when the bubble breaks and the guilt and sadness take over.
This is a scenario most shopaholics witness every month. And if you're not actually an "addict" but just like shopping a lot, money management must also be a big issue for you. The "retail therapy" as they call it, might work for a short while but it usually makes you end up worse than where you started. But that doesn't take anything away from the effectiveness of retail therapy. In fact, I have a strong opinion that when done in moderation, retail therapy is a really healthy habit for a stressed mind.
But it usually comes down to one simple problem.
How does one "moderate" shopping?
While it might seem like an impossible feat, there are some ways in which you can balance your shopping habits and your budget. Here are some of them:
- Shop for What You Need Rather than What You Want:
Going to a retail store and browsing often leads to you buying something you don't even need. For instance, I went to the grocery store the other day to buy milk and I ended up buying an exotic fruit crush which is still sitting in my kitchen cupboard-unused (True Story)
This example applies to a lot of stuff and sometimes, the extra buying might be a little more expensive than just a $5 juice bottle. To combat this situation, always make a list of things you need and shop according to that. Clothes, electronics, etc can all be bought online without any hassle. Just make sure you don't go wandering off in the world of online shopping. Be specific in your search and you might just end up saving a lot of money.
- Shop for Someone Else
If you're a shopaholic, it might come as a surprise for you but a lot of people don't actually like shopping that much. But they still need stuff. Become their impromptu shopper and get two fold benefits. While you would be able to satisfy your hunger to shop new stuff, at the same time, you are helping out a friend and probably saving up on a lot of favors. Cool, right? This works in a lot of other situations also, be it gift shopping for someone, or accompanying a friend for their bridal shopping, and much more.
- Window Shopping
This one is a tried and tested method for getting over your shopping urges. Scientists have actually proved that the effect and feeling of shopping drives a positive response on the human mind and they tend to be happier after doing it. Nowadays, window shopping is not just restrained to going to retail stores and trying out new clothes. Online window shopping has also become a "thing" and a lot of people have made a habit of trying it out multiple times a week just to relieve stress.
- Use Cashback Websites
While all of of the above are preventive measures to impede your shopping spree, sometimes you might not be able to resist your natural shopaholic instinct. In those times, instead of going all out on retail stores or buying everything you see on your favorite e-Shop website, try using cashback websites. Cashback websites are not exactly eCommerce websites but they are used as an affiliate links to other online stores.
Wondering what you get from this? Well, every time you buy something through the link of a cashback website, they will provide you a small part of your purchased amount back to you as reward or refund. This might not make much difference in individual cases but for mass buyers, it might help you unburden the load of your wallet. There are many popular cashback websites like Quidco, Ebates, LafaLafa, etc.
Shopping is love. Shopping is life. And one should never ever feel bad about indulging in it. Just follow the above methods and satisfy all your shopping needs.