10 easy steps to breaking your shopping habit

If shopping is one of your favorite pastimes, your pocketbook may look a little sad. Here are 10 easy ways to fix the problem.

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  • Shopping and spending money to me is like eating chocolate. I start with a little nibble: "oh look at that cute thing, I need it in my life." Then slowly I acquire a taste for more: "Wow, there are three other items in complementing colors. They are ALL must-have items!" Before I know it I crave more and more: "MUST.BUY.THEM.ALL!" Until the gluttonous spending comes to a screeching halt.

  • It's only fun for a while, and then I have to rein in my spending, for the health of my bank account (and my marriage). There comes a point in our lives when we have to break our shopping habit, and it CAN be done – in 10 easy steps!

  • Does this cycle sound familiar to you, more or less?

  • It is better for my wallet if I don't even start with the first "nibble," if I avoid all temptation. Right now I am on a mission to NOT spend, avoid shopping and just enjoy the things I have. My wants take a back seat to my needs, and I find I am more at peace and content when I stay in this frame of mind.

  • To reach this zen-filled state where contentment overrules the desire for new and sparkling materialistic things, I have had to make some changes in my life. They have been VERY effective and I know they can work for you too!

  • 10 Easy Steps to Break Your Shopping Habit

  • 1. Make a wish list!

  • Consider the list your "cooling off period." If a black pair of yoga pants are calling your name from the store's window display, ask yourself: "Self, are these awesome pants on my wish list?" This thinking will give you time to reconsider before you take the plunge.

  • 2. Don't save your credit card information on any website

  • Make it harder on yourself to impulse shop. An added bonus is that you limit your exposure to identity theft.

  • 3. Unsubscribe from daily/ weekly emails from companies

  • I am perfectly happy NOT being reminded of all the wonderful sales going on in my favorite stores. (Bonus: Some companies give you an incentive to sign up for their mailing list, which you may qualify for (again) if you resubscribe)

  • 4. Set up a Gmail or Yahoo account only for emails from companies

  • Do not add this email address to your smartphone.

  • 5. Print a picture of your goal

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  • What is the number one item on your wish list? Keep a visual reminder by your computer and in your wallet. Ask yourself: "Is this more important than me reaching my goal."

  • 6. Write down all transactions in an old school check register

  • Calculate your balance after every purchase and deposit. (Bonus: You avoid expensive overdraft charges by not overspending.)

  • 7. Look at your bank account and credit card daily, track spending habits

  • (Bonus: You catch unauthorized transactions quickly)

  • 8. Make a budget and carry cash

  • for the amount allocated to your "incidentals and groceries."

  • Having cash in your wallet is a great visual reminder of how much money you can spend. No cash = no shopping!

  • 9. Avoid the mall or big shopping plazas

  • "Lead me not into temptation!" really holds true for my shopping habits. I can go for weeks without shopping, but once I set foot in the mall I find lots of items I MUST have.

  • 10. Ask yourself "Can I live without this item?"

  • "Can I borrow this item?" "Can I buy it used?" Instead of shopping in a retail store, look on eBay, Craigslist or Facebook to see if you can get it cheaper used.

  • As you can tell, the method to my madness is to avoid making impulse purchases. Give yourself ample chances to reconsider before handing over the credit card. You need to break the cycle of mindless/reflex shopping.

  • It takes a few weeks to start a new healthy habit. Start implementing these tips today, and before you know it, shopping will seem like a frivolous activity best reserved for special occasions.

  • Editor's note: This article was originally published on Mama in the Now. It has been republished here with permission.

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Tove Maren is a Danish-American mother of four boys, ages 8 and younger. She is a freelance writer and translator. Tove reports live from the trenches of motherhood where she writes about all things related to life love, laughter and LEGOs. You will find her encouraging, as she empowers you to parent by intuition and with confidence.

Website: http://mamainthenow.com

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