When Not to Shop

I kind of love shopping.  I’m not a shopaholic or anything – I just like finding stuff I need/want at good prices.  I’m not one of those people who browses around stores just looking for something to buy.  I call myself a “Hunter/Gatherer” shopper.  I go out looking for what I want (which sometimes turns into an all-out quest) and don’t want to stop until I find it.  But, I have learned that there are some times you should not go shopping.

Pay Day:  Anytime you get a significant amount of money, you’re more likely to feel like more of it is disposable.  Don’t go shopping before you’ve paid your bills, or you might not have enough left TO pay your bills.  If you’re getting a tax return, plan ahead what you’re going to spend it on.  “Shopping spree at the mall” is NOT a plan.

When You Just Got a Coupon:  Stores know that sending you a coupon is a way of getting you to come in.  That’s why they do it.  Some stores send you those cool “$10 off any purchase of $10 or more” coupons.  I love those.  They don’t know I’m going to go in and spend ONLY $10.  (Unless there was something I already needed that cost more than $10 and it’s on sale!)  For the most part, coupons help you save money.  If they “enable” you to go shopping when you don’t need anything, they’re not helping you at all.

When It’s Not Really Free:   The “Free Gift with Purchase”.  Ask yourself “Do I really even WANT that gift?” and “Is it worth spending $40 for?” before you run out to take advantage of this “limited-time deal”.  If you only need a $10 item and have to spend $50 to get the gift, you’re buying $40 more than you planned.  Probably not worth it.

Certain Times of the Month:  When you have PMS, you’re more likely to get frustrated easily.  This can lead to “settling” for stuff you don’t love because you’re in an irritable mood.  (If you’re shopping for clothes, you’re probably going to be all bloated and not be happy with how anything looks!)  On certain days of the month, you might be feeling more sexually energized than normal.  This is also a dangerous time to shop.  You may be more likely to buy things you feel are sexy, but are actually unflattering or too “young” for you.  (Hint: If you’re over 40, you don’t need glitter eyeliner!)

When You’re in a Hurry:  Being rushed has got to be one of the top reasons people buy stuff they don’t want/need.  If you only have an hour and need to find something specific, you’re probably not going to be successful.  You’ll probably end up settling.  Try to plan ahead when you need to shop for something you’re going to have to search around to find.  Don’t wait until the day before an event to try to find something to wear to it.  You’ll end up buying something you’ll never want to wear again (and may not even want to wear once!)

As a Reward:  OK, you lost 10 pounds.  Awesome.  That doesn’t mean you should go buy a whole new wardrobe.  I’m not trying to sound negative.  After all, it’s very likely you could lose more weight and that new wardrobe will be useless.  Shopping when you’re really happy with yourself might sound like a wonderful idea.  And it can be a lot of fun.  To keep the fun under control, try to have a specific idea, instead of a general one.  Example: Instead of “If I get this promotion, I’m going on a shopping spree!”, tell yourself “If I get this promotion, I’m going to buy myself a $100 gift card to spend at the mall.”  Or, if there’s a specific item you’ve been wanting, make that your reward.  (If I lose 25 pounds, I’m buying some Miss Me jeans!)

When You Know You Have a Problem:  If you’re completely unable to resist buying all the products recommended by the woman at the beauty counter, just avoid that part of the store.  If you’re shopping because you’re bored or depressed, you’re probably buying stuff you don’t really need and the buyer’s remorse isn’t worth it.

In Conclusion:  You might hate shopping.  You might love it.  The thing to remember is that there’s a right time and a wrong time to do it.  Plan ahead and keep yourself out of the “returns/exchanges” line.

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  1. Just got a 30% off Kohl’s coupon. I’m excited but do you ever notice that when you have a good coupon, they never have the stuff you need/like? I think its a conspiracy.

    • Yep, happens to me, too. If it’s not on sale or I don’t have a coupon for it, I’m sure to love it! I’m kind of glad JCPenney went to the “lower price all the time” thing (although I miss the “$10 off $10 coupons!). I kind of feel like I’m getting ripped off at Kohl’s if I buy anything that’s not on sale – which I don’t think I’ve ever done, but it’s the principle of the matter!


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