Virtual shopping and giving away money to save money

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shopsWe joke about being shopaholics but most of us just enjoy a good session. Why do real, seriously addicted shopaholics get hooked? The thrill of the chase? The filling of an emotional hole? Or simply the intense suffusion of pleasure that lovely things bring? Either way it’s nasty and leaves hardened addicts in a scary financial situation.

The fine art of resisting the irresistible

I enjoy shopping but I’m not hooked, thank goodness. Now and again I get shopping blindness, when I know I can’t afford something but go into a weird sort of adrenaline-fuelled trance and buy it anyway. My weak spot is our local antique emporium, Snoopers’ Paradise. Luckily I’ve developed a system to stop crazy impulse buys in their tracks, designed to keep my finances safe from disaster. I call it my Amazing Anti-Splurge System. 

Here it is.

The Amazing Anti-Splurge System

  • Don’t take cards. Only take the cash you can spare
  • Have a jolly excellent rummage
  • Memorise all the things you’d love to buy if you had the cash, the cream of the crop. Then walk away
  • Carry on ’til you get of shopping fatigue
  • Find somewhere calm and have a cuppa
  • Think back. Which of the things you loved most do you a. remember and b. still want?
  • Write down the top three, assuming you can remember three – oddly, I usually can’t
  • Decide which one of the three you couldn’t bear to live without
  • If you have the cash, go get it. Otherwise make a plan to come back later when you’re flush. Or give your cash away to a Big Issue seller for a warm glow that lasts weeks, much longer than the glow you get from spending three times the amount on treats for yourself
  • Think about your heart’s desire again when you get home – you might find you’ve gone off the boil and don’t want it after all

Most of the time it’s enough to fill my emotional boots just looking at gorgeous things: virtual shopping. I go home with all sorts of treasure in my head, feeling inspired and lifted: a crocodile skull, a brilliant 1970s floor vase, yet another old Turkish rug, some vintage cowboy boots, an original ’60s suit by Dior or whatever. But my bank account remains intact.

What’s your system?

How do you resist over-spending? Or is resistance futile? We’d love to hear your story!

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About Author

I’m Kate Goldstone. I live just outside Brighton, high up on the South Downs, with my husband Tony and our three cats. I’m dedicated to saving money, spending less, buying wisely, cutting waste, re-using, recycling, re-purposing and generating cash from the stuff I no longer want.

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