Know When to Shop to Save Money

The parallel between habits when it comes to food and money are significant. Many people reach for a cookie when they’re depressed, others for their credit card. Some celebrate with cake and sweets, still others by purchasing themselves tangible treats. If you’re an emotional spender, best for you – and your budget – to fess up now.

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In this case, denial can lead you straight to the poorhouse. Owning up to it, however, and taking steps to control these spending tendencies can help you not only regain financial control, but will alleviate substantial stress as well. (No more looking around the house wondering, “What in the world have I done?!) Even if you don’t fall into the category of an emotional spender, everyone can learn from these tips and strategies for when to shop and when not to shop to maximize savings and improve their bottom line.

Down? Don’t go down the aisles. Depression isn’t good for anything, your money included. For many people, money slips more easily from their fingers when they’re not feeling at their best. Whether your defenses are down and you’re more easily swayed to purchase an impulse buy you ordinarily wouldn’t or you just don’t have the energy to adequately comparison shop (even right there at the store), skip spending money entirely. If you have to go out, do yourself and your bank account a favor, leave the cash and credit card at home.

Take a walk down memory lane and revisit the results of emotional spending past. If you have a relic from a past emotional spending spree, keep it. It can be a great reminder to not allow it to happen again. Just as unflattering photographs can spur one to diet, so can visual reminder of shopping mistakes from the past.

Search and replace the habit. Find yourself window shopping – or worse – reaching for your wallet whenever you’re feeling down? Look for activities to specifically substitute for the emotional spending instead. Start journaling to relax. Treat yourself to a bubble bath. Grab the phone and start to gab. Find something else that works for you and keep it at the ready for the next time you feel your financial defenses down.

Ask a friend for company. If you must venture out into the stores, seek strength in the company of a friend. Not only will his or her company likely help you feel better in general, but he or she can also help guard you from making purchases you might later regret both financially and otherwise. If you’re down, purchasing that yummy chocolate cake or super comfy flannel nightgown might seem like a very good idea, but your wallet wingman (or gal) can help you hold fast to your cash and make sure you leave the store unscathed.

Remind yourself that this won’t last forever. When life knocks us down, it’s easy to fall into a pity party. It’s key, however, to minimize the cost of these very pity parties. A strategy for doing this is to simply remind yourself that no matter how bad things or how down you feel now, it won’t last forever. And rebounding, after all, will be much easier if you don’t have financial regrets to deal on the other side.

Photo credit: bowbrick

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

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