When going shopping, whether that be grocery shopping or clothes shopping, there are multiple temptations to catch up out everyday you turn. It’s part of the store manager’s job; to make you spend more than you originally set out too. Online media is bad for this too; there are so many websites offering deals and discounts on items, plus all of the pictures on twitter/instagram/pinterest. It’s like you can’t avoid it.
I got a message sent to me a couple of days ago that said:
The only hard bit is not giving in to temptation, any tips for that?
And really, that’s the crux of any overspending problem. How do we avoid temptation, so we can stay on the right path?
In an ideal world, everybody would buy just what they needed, nothing more, nothing less. In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be the super rich, there wouldn’t be the ultra poor. Everyone would just have enough. But, unfortunately, this isn’t the real world, and people spend money. Society works because we spend money. If everyone stopped spending, things would grind to a halt. People would lose their jobs as demand wouldn’t be there. So, spending is a good thing, if it’s controlled.
Stores are designed to tempt you. They have the latest designs, the homewares that would fit oh-so-perfectly into your home. They change the layout frequently so you have to walk around the whole store to find what you want. They make you look at all they have to offer, hoping to tempt you to buy something you definitely do not need. Imagine throwing that item away a few years down the line – did you really need to purchase it?
As with grocery shopping, have a list and stick to it. Even if this is just a mental list, don’t go shopping without thinking about exactly what you need before you step foot in any store. You can plan for your purchases and know how much you are going to spend.
Do not be swayed by offers when you’re there. If it isn’t on your list, then you don’t need it. Just because something is a good deal, does not mean you necessarily need it. Obviously, if the item is something you use regularly then fine, but more often than not, it’s something you won’t need. I find this to be particularly tricky when grocery shopping. There are some “buy one, get two free” deals on in our local supermarket, and the “get two free” bit is so tempting. It’s supposed to be! 9 times out of 10 it isn’t a product we ever have at home, or even eat, yet it’s still a temptation.
Avoid lifestyle websites/blogs if you’re prone to online shopping. I am definitely guilty of this; I read a lot of lifestyle blogs who post perfect pictures wearing beautiful clothes, matching accessories and smiling away. It does make me want to wear the clothes they are wearing, as if somehow that will make it so I’ll have the same lifestyle. How mad is that?! Of course it won’t! I now limit how often I read these type of blogs, as I know if I read them often, I’m more likely to spend money online.
If you find something you really truly want, then use the 7 day rule. Leave it in the shop for now (or bookmark the page if online) and if you still want the item just as much in a week’s time, then perhaps it is something that you could buy. If you don’t, then you’ve avoided an impulse purchase. Most of the time, I find that after a week, I’m not too bothered about the item at all, so therefore it’s not something I truly need.
Another simple but effective rule is to never go shopping when you’re hungry. Again, whether that’s grocery shopping or retail shopping, I think it’s a bad idea to go when you’re hungry. I don’t know if it’s just me, but when I’m hungry, I tend to be more impatient and less decisive. This could mean that I make wrong decisions because I’m not thinking straight because I’m hungry!
Lastly, and I think this is one of the most important ones, pay cash for everything. It is so much harder to justify larger items when you’re paying in cash. Firstly, it puts a limit on how much you can spend as you (presumably) only have a certain amount of cash on you and secondly, it makes the spending 100 times more real than if you were to pay on a credit card. Paying in cash every week for our grocery shopping has made me much more careful; I’m less likely to put extras in the trolley if I’m paying with cash rather than card.
Here are some of my tips to avoid temptation when shopping – I hope they have helped!
Do you find it hard to resist temptation when shopping? Have I missed anything off? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
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