>Changing My Shopping Habits

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Where Did All the Shopping Posts Go?


If you have been reading here for awhile, you may have noticed that I used to do a LOT of fashion haul posts and frugal shopping posts. Even my shopaholic neighbor commented on how frequently I was shopping. You will have also probably noticed there haven’t been any of those in at least a month. This is a direct result of Mike and I signing up for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class. I love shopping more than most people, but I also like taking on a project with my husband. 

Shopped Out
The “old” me following a retail binge. 

It’s not that we couldn’t afford my shopping so much, it’s just that we weren’t saving for longer term goals as much as we wanted to be. Starting the class for me was a lot like joining Weight Watchers. I remember when I joined WW I was diligent about calculating and writing down the points value of everything I put in my mouth. Well this month we set up our very first budget and we were crazy about saving receipts to track and categorize every penny we spent. Mike built an incredibly complicated database of our finances in Quicken and we allocated every dollar to either an expense category or a savings goal.


So now we are just about at the end of our first full month of budgeting, and we sat down to look at our progress. It is kind of amazing to me how much money we had leftover this month to put towards our long term goal of a six month emergency fund and other goals. Almost as much as our mortgage payment…in “extra” money. So how did I manage to suddenly save so much money? Some simple changes in my own personal habits made a big impact.


Removing Retail Temptation


The first thing I did at the beginning of the month was to unsubscribe for nearly every retail email I get. No more daily J.Crew sales. No more daily RueLala flash sales. No more Shop It To Me emails. It was kind of painful to do, but I don’t miss them now, and they were cluttering up my inbox every morning with massive retail temptation. Seriously, I used to get like 30 retail emails DAILY. Yes, I may miss my favorite brand going up for sale at deep discounts…but on the flip size I’m building my own nice little nest egg for a massive shopping trip to the San Marcos outlets in the near future. 

Secondly I stopped going to certain places just because I was bored. Like the mall, a frequent default location to “entertain the kids” when it’s rainy or too hot or too cold to be outside. Aside from my stealthy photography hijinks with Pam in Nieman Marcus Last Call (which WAS MASSIVE temptation) I haven’t been to the mall in weeks. I also stay far away from Hobby Lobby, Kohls, and I try to steer entirely clear of the shoes, accessories and women’s clothing sections of Target. I try to find other places to go when I’m bored, like the gym or the library. I did get a brief infusion of retail therapy when my mom came to visit and took me to LOFT for my birthday. With my $20 rewards card and her $75 birthday money, I was quite satisfied to select a few key pieces. 


It really is amazing to me how much easier breaking the shopping habit was than I’d expected, especially when I implemented some of these simple environmental changes. And as my yoga guru would surely remind me, it’s all about living intentionally and mindfully. 


Next up in the habit changes…food and drinks. I need to break my addictions to fast food, lattes, and expensive alcoholic beverages. 

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5 responses to this post.

  1. >so funny (or not so much) hubbs and i were just discussing our penchant for going to the mall as an outing and how tempting and expensive it is. . .Hillary

    Reply

  2. >This class has kind of opened my eyes to how subtle the marketing is that manipulates our emotions into getting us to spend. We are cutting back on TV as well…I heard a statistic that for every hour of TV you watch a week, you spend an extra $200 (not sure if that's a month or a year).

    Reply

  3. >Girl…..we are creatures of the same habits. I haven't attended Dave Ramsey yet, though my church has hosted it. I do two things when I am down (or happy)….I eat and shop. They are both addictions. I am trying to turn them both over to the Lord. Yikes…a shopping diet!

    Reply

  4. >Yes yes! Eating and shopping are exactly the two things I do most frequently when I am bored or bummed out. I don't think it do them as much when I'm truly happy. When I'm feeling up I tend to go into a productive mode where I clean and organize stuff, or get a lot of writing done or run a bunch of errands. I wish I could just pick up a book when I'm looking for something to do, but that rarely is my impulse. It doesn't feel like I'm DOING enough and it's not very satisfying. I also wish I had the impulse to just pick up my Bible when I know I'm feeling down. As for shopping diets…see also my 15:30 posts…in September I wore the same 15 pieces of clothing for 30 days. I still shopped a lot, for accessories, but I broke the habit of shopping for clothes. So that was like a first step for me.

    Reply

  5. >I am so happy to hear your following Dave Ramsey. I know it can be challenging, but there is nothing like the feeling of being debt free or having financial security. My husband and I became debt free (except our house) in April just before we both turned 30. Doing the cash envelope system really helped keep us in line. Plus we thought it was fun to see how little we could spend each month. We liked paying with cash so much that we continue to use the system!

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