One piece of financial advice that has stuck with me over the years is the idea that shopping can be entertainment. If you’re bored and want to get out for a few hours, why not hit the mall? If you’re working on something boring and want to browse Etsy or Talbots.com, why not?
I thought I went shopping when I needed something specific, but then I really looked at my shopping history. I realized that there was some entertainment going on. I had way too many reminders to “rate your purchase” in my inbox. There was no way I had that many needs.
I hated the idea of shopping as entertainment and wanted to change my ways, without going as far as freezing my credit cards in a block of ice.
Here are a few changes I made that helped me save money and break bad spending habits.
Make a no-buy list
I looked in my closet, on my coffee table and on my desk to create a list of things I absolutely did not need to buy for the next six months. This included:
Blank writing books
Any book I could get at the library
Whenever I was tempted, I pulled out my list. I kept it on my phone. I had enough discipline to get through six months and by then I didn’t always think, “Oh, that’s cute, let’s buy it,” when I saw one of those items in a shop.