How to get shopping under control

I do not know whether everyone deals this problem, but I have. In my early twenties, I regularly shopped for new clothes. I don't think it mattered what it was, what quality and style, or whether I even needed it. I was going from store to store, looking through racks of clothing or shoes until something caught my eye. I would end up with few things that I did not need or truly want, but the process made me feel good.

This shopping habit was nothing more than a cult that I join along with others. Somehow wondering around a mall with bags in my hands made me feel better. Buying something new was exciting. We all crave some action in our lives, and for me, this was a great way to spice up my life. It required little effort and was easy to accomplish. Buying made me feel good. It was a fix pill, but it lasted for a short time. I had to go back to the mall, to get my fix the following weekend.

In my early thirties, my shopping expanded to included expensive stores. I could not afford to buy new items each weekend anymore. So I started to think what I could do about this. I decided to try to curb my enthusiasm. Shopping became a rare occasion, and I would focus on items I LOVED verses just liked or wanted. After working this for a few years, I realized that my wallet and wardrobe benefited from this arrangement. My closet was not getting filled with hundreds of items that were worn on rare occasion. I had impressive pieces that were of good quality and a great style.

So here are few rules that I use to keep my shopping under control and my bank account from going into the red.

Rule number ONE. I stick to only a FEW stores. Nowadays, there are hundreds of thousands of stores, and everyone wants a piece of your wallet. We are bombarded with advertisements on social media, TV, billboards, and mail. I think that sticking to a few stores will save you time and money. It is like having only a few credit cards. The fewer you have, the less you spend. I can also control for style and quality. I do not mind paying more for an item, but it has to be of excellent quality. I want it to last a few seasons and sometimes years. I don't buy just to fill up my shopping cart each week. I do love to open packages when they arrive. But I don't need to clutter my house with unnecessary items.

Another reason to stick to a few stores is the sizing issues. I like to shop online. And I hate to buy and return. So I stick to brands whose sizes I know. Limited selection saves me time in dealing with returns and feeling disappointed. Also, "my" stores have excellent customer service. Every time I email a question; I get a swift response. Also, returns are a no hassle. I have enough time to deal with them. I prefer to return to stores just because I want to see my money back as soon as I can. Mostly so I can shop more. But simple return process is essential.

Rule number TWO. Buy to REPLACE items that are a few years old or older. Good winter coats or shoes are expensive. Buy good quality items and wear them often. As clothing starts to show signs of wear, proudly replace an item knowing that you actively used it and it deserves to retire.

Rule number THREE. Do NOT just buy because others are buying. It is so easy to buy something when you are shopping with someone else. Resist. Unless you found something you love, do not spend your money to be a part of the group.

Rule number FOUR. RETURN pieces that are just O.K. I am not even mentioning returning items that don't fit or wrong for other reasons. I do not keep things that are O.K. I tend to wear things that I love all the time. And so if I don't adore a piece, I let it go. No reason to clutter my precious space.

Rule number FIVE. Shop SALES. I take full advantage of sales at "my" more expensive stores. I am not concerned with wearing the last season's styles because I buy staple items like jackets, coats, black dresses, or suites.

I hope the above tips will help you to put your shopping under control. They helped me a lot.

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