If you compulsively shop, shop to cheer yourself up, experience regret after spending money you don’t have, run up high credit card bills, and generally behave like a freshman college student at your first beer blast, then… well, we don’t want to go all Dr. Phil on you, but you might have a little bit of a problem. Sharon Epperson, author of “The Big Payoff,” offers 9 tips on how to curb your addiction.
Know what you have
Carry a shopping list (note: we accidentally typed “bag” instead of “list”—seriously—which we think raises some alarms about our own tendencies)
Put items that you want to buy on “hold”
Don’t be a sucker for sales
Bring cash, leave the plastic at home
Track what you spend
Cut up your credit cards
Pay off credit card debt
Seek financial advice
Personally, we think the latter half of the list falls into the “tired financial advice” category. But we like suggestions that trick the more immature parts of your brain, like putting things you like on “hold,” which can really help you curb impulse spending.
We have a couple of other suggestions, which might sound stupid but have worked for us in the past. The first is to pick up the object and look at it from all angles, and imagine as completely as you can what it would be like to own it. If you’re like us, and quickly lose interest in shiny new objects once they’re no longer shiny or new, this often helps take the sheen off the latest gadget. (It’s how we were able to walk out of the Apple store empty handed several times.)
The second is to walk away from your computer whenever you’re about to purchase something online, and give yourself the same “cooling off period” you would before sending out an angry email to your boss. Usually after a half hour or so, you realize you don’t really need all those volumes of “The Goon” from Amazon by tomorrow morning after all.