My List of Life-Things To Do: Shopaholic Edition by Cassandra Carter

By | October 16, 2012

Since earlier this year, I’ve been chipping away at some of My List of Life-Things To Do and would have to say this was one of the hardest ones. And a small confession: the word shopaholic is a bit of an exaggeration. Regardless, this item was my number one priority on My List of Life-Things To Do, since it was becoming a bit of a headache more often than needed.

Cut Back on Splurges and Impulse Buying
For a little while I found myself justifying just about any purchase. It then turned into a “why not” justification and in result, my wallet was getting lighter and lighter. Going into places like H&M, Sephora, Zara and fun little local boutiques full of must-haves can be hard to resist. I would wander the long aisles of H&M and think “Well, this blouse is only $15 on sale and I saved on the mascara I bought earlier, so why not?!” Another situation would be looking for a pair of jeans and knowing there’s a “rough estimated” budget, but still trying on the jeans that are clearly overpriced. I would then justify that rather than get denim that clearly won’t last OR (even worse) splurge on the expensive denim, I could just purchase the pair in between… But let’s face it. I didn’t need ANY jeans. At all. Full stop. I’d tell you about my “beauty product snob” problems, but I think I’ll spare you and myself the embarrassment – maybe i’ll share the tale another day.

My problem was never overspending. It was simply just buying.

Over the Christmas holidays my best friend came to visit from Montreal and we were chatting about the impulse buying many females (and even males) have a tendency to do. I asked her how she managed to keep within budget and she truthfully shared that she didn’t always, but she was learning to go into these situations with either a list or even with JUST cash in hand (by just bringing in your shopping budget in cash only, you really can’t overspend and you think twice before you put the cash on the counter). It gave me an idea for one easy rule to follow:

If it’s not on the list,
You have to resist.
As silly as it sounds, it’s actually worked for me. I started with looking for specifics or I had a list of the things I needed. That step grew into moving my monthly budget around to make sure I could accommodate any “surprise” large purchases that month (the necessities and sometimes even the wants). Finally (and god, at last) it has grown beyond taking tips that I already knew, like don’t buy cheap clothing and always buy stuff that lasts, but apply that basic logic and use a calculator. Simple really. I’m not perfect and I certainly have my moments of weakness, but the difference is that now, I don’t feel nearly as guilty, I try incredibly hard to stick to basics with just a tad of glitz & fun, and it’s usually within reason (that’s not a justification, I promise). Needless to say, I think I can cross this item off my list – I officially know that shopping is NOT a real sport, regardless of how much walking is involved.