You don’t need an online accounting degree to know when you’ve gone way overboard with your spending, and for the shopaholics of the world, this occurs frequently. What would be more useful is a crash course in how to budget so that you can get the things you want while still living within your means. So if you’re the type of girl (or guy) that can’t pass a shoe store (or a video-game outlet) without popping in to “take a look” (yeah, right), then here are just a few ways that you can take control of your spending without feeling totally deprived of the shopping high you crave.
1. See a therapist. I know, I threw you right into the fire with that one, but serious shopaholics; those who simply can’t seem to control their spending even though they are late on rent, in arrears with their alimony, and suffering from a marked lack of utilities (the lights are out AGAIN?); may have a psychological disorder that causes them to lose control when it comes to spending. In this case, you might want to talk to a professional in order to get to the root of the problem so that you can stop the destruction that shopping has wrought in your life and get back to spending habits that are acceptable.
2. See a financial planner. Sometimes all you need is a budget and some parameters to work with in order to stay on track with your spending. If you just can’t seem to get a handle on your expenses, then clearly you need some help making the numbers work. A financial planner can not only set a monthly budget for you (complete with spending cash) but also help you learn how to budget on your own.
3. Give yourself an allowance. This is a tough way to operate, but you clearly need to set some strict guidelines in order to curb overspending. Once you have a workable budget in hand you can determine how much money to dole out to yourself each month for frivolous purchases. By sticking to this amount you should be able to derail bad habits and make shopping fun again.
4. Track everything. Instead of throwing receipts into the bottomless pit of your wallet or handbag, keep an envelope handy that you can place receipts in for later entry into your checkbook (or other ledger). This way you can track what you’re spending on a daily basis in order to avoid overdrafts at the bank or overage fees with your credit card companies. You can also track online by checking your accounts daily, but you may get fouled up if charges don’t post for a couple of days.
5. Do it old-school; pay in cash. If you’re one of those people that will spend until your card is denied, you probably aren’t responsible enough to have a credit card. However, you may need one for emergencies, so keep the one with the lowest rate in a lock-box (or better yet a safety deposit box at the bank) so that you won’t be tempted to use it for impulse buys. Then cut up the rest of your cards and carry cash on you. If you don’t have enough greenbacks, you simply can’t buy.