I mentioned a few weeks ago how we were determined to get rid of our credit card debt ASAP, and I showed you How We Save $749 a Year By Cutting Out Cable and Still Get to Watch the Shows We Love.
My next step was to figure out how to stop shopping.
I am the one in our household that buys for myself, my hubby, the unnamed child, the pets, and our home. By cutting down these expenses, to only the necessities, I knew it would help get things back on track.
1. Stay Home. When I physically walk into a store, I lose control. I see all of these 40% off sales and the newest displays of super cute merchandise I didn’t know I needed. For too long, I justified an expense because it was a bargain — whether I needed it or not. If I never enter the store to start, I don’t know what I’m missing, and therefore don’t spend money.
2. Unsubscribe. Everyday when I open my email, and now even Instagram too, and I am bombarded with sale notifications. If I know that the Gap is having a 50% off sale, it will bother me until I stop in there and see what amazing deals they are offering. Now my favorite clothing store and home decor store send me daily pictures of their newest outfits and displays all put together. Every time I get a new picture from them, I start thinking about what events I have coming up that this outfit would be perfect for. Now I have a closet full of dresses for upcoming events, that I bought on sale, that were absolutely gorgeous in their email, that will hang there for a long, long time. Again, if I don’t know it even exists, I’m not wanting it.
3. Shop Your Home. I’ve talked about this in my How to Shop Your Home (a three month decorating challenge) post.
I described how I shopped my home for home decor, but I recently started shopping my closet(s) for new outfits. If you’re anything like me, when you go to the store they have a whole ensemble put together for you, and I buy the whole thing, so I don’t have to run around town later on trying to find something to match my newest sweater too.
Once I get it home, I’m guilty of wearing it several times exactly how I bought it and am over it.
I usually wait until 30 minutes before I go somewhere to pick out my outfit, and that certainly isn’t the time to start trying to figure out what to mix and match. Take an hour or two when you have extra time and figure out what fits and what doesn’t, and what new combinations you can make. You get that fun feeling of wearing a new outfit again, except this time it doesn’t cost you any money.
4. Trade with a family member or friend. My daughter and I can wear a lot of the same sizes of clothes (at least on the top half). We have started shopping each other’s closets (which she was already doing and I just didn’t know it). Now we both have so many more outfits to choose from — some pieces she didn’t like anymore and vice versa so we both end up happy.
My mom and I have both amassed a nice collection of jewelry over the years, and we like to browse each other’s collections, too, to see if there are pieces we can borrow.
5. Cut up your credit cards or just leave them at home. I know it sounds silly that someone can’t have enough self control not to put something on a credit card just because it’s in your purse, but it’s true for me. If I know I have to go into a store to buy a necessity, I try to just bring cash for the amount that the item is going to be. If I get there and see something that I want, but know I would have to drive all of the way home to get my card and come all of the way back, most of the time it gives me enough time to let the urge pass.
I know it’s only been a month, but so far, using all of these tips have really helped. I know there are a TON of philosophies for improving financial health, and I hope to move closer to fully utilizing one at some point, but for now, these steps seem to be making a big impact … and it keeps us moving in the direction of our goal.
Stay tuned for my other money-saving tips in the next few weeks!
I laughed out loud when I read #1- my father used to say that we were the family that was going to go broke saving money! A sale was like a siren song to my mother!! Let me also say that if you can stick to these it will get easier over time. I went from having a very nice 6 figure income to less than 35,000 on which to raise 4 children when I went through a nasty divorce 15 years ago. I also “inherited’ (thanks Mr. Judge) a good amount of debt. While I am happily re-married and financially secure now, I find I don’t like to shop at all any more. Ok- except for antique malls and stores- but that isn’t really shopping- that is a hobby!! (wink, wink) To me it is great fun to see what I can re-purpose/do for very little or free. You are on the right path- keep it up!!
Sharon Clements says
Good for you for getting out of debt! We should all be living within our means…