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Hi, My Name is ______________ and I’m a Shopaholic

We’ve all laughed at the expression “shop ‘til you drop,” but for some people, this expression is taken literally, and the impulse to go shopping on a regular basis is a serious and dangerous reality, even if their credit cards are maxed out. Although we’ve all experienced off days when we make irrational shopping purchases due to raging emotions (hello, my closet full of shoes that I’ve only worn once), the majority of us have managed to recover from the damage done, and get back on track with our shopping budgets.

However, there are some of us who are constantly stuck in financial debt, but continue to shop as if there’s no tomorrow because it distracts them from their problems at hand. Although heading to the mall and swiping that credit card may provide temporary relief, in reality, it’s doing more harm than good. If you feel like you may have a shopping addiction or if you’re feeling like you need to be smarter with your money, consider the following tips the next time you browse the stores along Robson Street or if you’re doing some cross border shopping.

1. Pay for your purchases with Cash

It’s easier to control the amount of money that you spend when you can see it in front of you! The number one reason why people end up over spending when they’re using a debit card or a credit card is because they’re feel like they’re not losing any money from their wallet since it’s “intangible”. This doesn’t mean that you should withdraw all your savings and carry an extravagant amount of cash on you, but it does mean that you should be sensible about only bringing an amount of money that you think you will need, and it means that you should be aware of how much money you’re spending at a time.

2. Make a list of items that you need to purchase and stick to it

Just like how making a grocery list is helpful prior to going to the supermarket, it’s a good idea to make a shopping list when you’re at the mall to keep your purchases on track. Yes, a buy one get one sale is very tempting, but if you have a list of the items that you’ve set out to buy, you’re more likely to have tunnel vision and be focused on only shopping for those specific items.

3. Avoid online shopping sites

Now that the majority of stores also have an online shopping option, it’s incredibly easy to browse your favorite haunts and spend copious amounts of time and money without having to leave your house. Yes, online shopping is a great convenience, but unless it’s a necessity or greatly discounted, hide the credit cards and just browse. Instead of filling up your online shopping cart, fill up your online Pinterest boards with wish-list items. Not only is this a free alternative to shopping, but you can also browse your go-to online shopping sites, for free!

4. Pick up a hobby

It’s said that shopping is the greatest pastime; however, the next time you feel like singlehandedly stimulating the economy, try taking up with a new hobby instead of hitting the stores. Although shopping is a convenient activity and can be done almost anywhere, directing your energy towards joining a recreational sports team, learning a language via YouTube, mastering your cooking skills at home, or being a tourist in your own city and indulging in free community activities are some worthwhile and inexpensive alternatives. There are numerous options other than shopping; you just have to look beyond the shopping malls!

5. Don’t be too hard on yourself

Similar to picking yourself up after veering off track with your New Year’s resolutions, you can’t be too hard on yourself when you’ve accidentally splurged while out shopping. If you’re a recovering shopaholic it’s going to be tough (but not impossible) to stop your habit completely. The important thing is being aware that you went off your budget and having the determination to work on your excessive shopping habits. Come on, you can do it!

If you have any tips (or know of a good sale; kidding!), feel free to share it in the comments below!

Written by: Kels Tham

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