I used to have a shopping problem. My shopping problem didn’t come in the form of new designer clothes every week and thousands of dollars in mounting credit card debt. It looked more like this:
Deodorant is on special, two for one. I use deodorant, I’ll stock up at that price.
Shirts in the next size up for my son, marked down to three dollars each. I’ll buy three.
That is the most beautiful fabric I have ever seen! It would make such a lovely skirt. I’ll get that.
Clearance rack of tops. That’s pretty. I’ll get that.
That’s cheap. It would make a great gift for someone. I’ll buy it and put it away for when I need it.
That book looks like a good read. And it’s only $5. I may as well get it.
I am a hoarder by nature, tend to buy things and keep things because I might need them or they might come in handy, even if it is somewhat illogical to do so. And I’m an overbuyer, which I guess goes hand in hand with being a hoarder.
I wasn’t putting us into debt by my shopping habit, but I was eating into our savings considerably. One day I looked at the amount still owing on our loan, the time in which we should have been able to pay it off, and the time it was actually going to take, and I realised I had to do something differently. So I got serious about making changes.
And I made some changes. I said that I used to have a shopping problem. I’ve almost solved it. I still need to work hard at it: not stockpiling, not buying things because I can’t pass it up at that price. I still buy more than I need to. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to not work hard at it.
My husband tells me that I wasn’t that bad. I didn’t spend as much as I think. Yes, the amount of money that I spend in a week is not a lot more than a lot of families of our size spend at the supermarket each week. But I was still buying a lot of things that I just didn’t need.
But in curing my shopping habit, I’ve done more than just save money. My house is becoming a lot less messy and cluttered. Stockpiled items are getting used up and no longer falling out of my cupboards. Less new things are arriving for me to try and find homes for. I have more time, because I spend less time at the shops, as well as less time trying to solve the clutter problem. I feel more confident that we can afford to be on one income for a few more years yet, so I can stay home full time with our pre-school aged children. I’ve even lost weight, because I realised I need to eat less, and I buy less food that I don’t need.
What were the changes I made? Stay tuned…In part two, I’ll share with you how my changing the way I budget helped me slow down on my shopping. In part three, how I learnt to recognise what I did and didn’t need to buy. And in part four, how I stopped shopping.