Building a logical budget means planning how and where you will spend your money. If pressure leads you to spend more than you intend, or to buy things you don’t really value, it’s critically important that you find another way to beat stress. Otherwise, money stress will just lead to more unfortunate decisions.
Don’t Shop as Entertainment
What do you do when you get together with friends? If shopping is your go-to activity, find something else to do with those friends, or find other people who can help you break the habit of shopping as entertainment. For example, you could get a state parks pass and go hiking with a friend instead of shopping. You could study a new cuisine and cook for your shopping friends instead of overspending as way to connect. Be ready to spend less time with those who can’t help you make this switch.
Do “Shop” What You Already Own
When you’re in the mood to shop for clothes, go through your closet and put together a couple new outfits for the coming week. Consider investing in a few suit hangers so you can put outfits together before Sunday evening. Your morning brain may feel sluggish, but it’s actually the best time to make decisions that serve you well. Don’t waste this power on clothing choices.
Make a List
Stress shopping can happen anywhere you change currency for products. Always carry a list of what you need. Consider also listing what you need it for. If you’re hungry for a particular dish, split your grocery list in two and list ingredients on one side with the name of the dish on the other. There are many apps and tools that will allow you to create a digital grocery list, but pencil and paper will make you more mindful and help you say no to unwise food buys.
Shop With Cash
There is such a thing as a buyer’s high and it can make you feel better. However, buyer’s remorse is also possible. Shopping is also a creative exercise as long as you remember to separate “shopping” from “buying”. If there’s a store you absolutely adore, get a little cash in your pocket, and go play. Buy something that you know you will enjoy with the cash, but only spend what you brought and no more. You can enjoy all of the boost with none of the guilt.
Don’t Shop Online
It’s said that drinking alone is a sign of an addiction. Shopping online nearly always means shopping alone, and if you have a problem with shopping, it will crop up in those solo times when you need connection and support but reach for things instead. Instead, go cold turkey. Watch videos of minimalists living freely with extraordinarily little for inspiration. Drag out your coloring book and colored pencils for creativity. Put on some music and dance to lift your spirit.
Make Shopping Online Harder
If you actually do need to order things online that you have to have, such as medicine and groceries, make all other shopping harder. If you have a store card for your favorite clothing lines, disconnect the card from the account and store the card at least 20 feet from your computer. If you have to get up and go get the card, you have a better chance of talking yourself out of the purchase on the walk to and from the card.
Remember Your Goals
Most people trying to stick to a budget have a long-term financial goal in mind. It may be to live debt-free, or to take a special trip, or to buy a house. Create a physical picture of your goal and put it where you see it every time you sit down to use your computer. If travel is your thing, post a photo of your dream destination. For those longing to buy a house, put up images of homes and rooms that give you comfort or let you relax. There is not a discount or a coupon out there that will give you more value for your money right now than being able to afford your dream goal later.
Join a frugal/minimalist/no-spend group on social media and post your struggles. There are many people really fighting to find joy in life at the moment. If shopping was your mojo, getting support from others on the same path can greatly reduce the sense of isolation caused by changing up your money habits.
Money has a great deal of energy and changing your money habits can impact your sense of self. You deserve to be able to find fun and friendship away from the department store. If you are in the market for a car loan but are unable to find something that works, you should consider an Australian bad credit car finance loan to help get you on your feet. You deserve joy and happiness away from your online checkout cart.