Confessions of a Shopaholic

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“Do you find yourself constantly drawn to stores? Does your heart quicken when you see new merchandise in neatly stacked piles? Did you answer no to these questions and are consequently in denial? Did you just say “no” again?” Are you one of those who savor shopping? Are you up to your eyeballs in debt? Are you being stalked by people of the credit card office? For you, it is not just an experience but something that makes the world be better. And once the world is better place, things go wrong again and you have to shop to restore the world to its former glory. Are you a Rebecca Bloomwood, an impulsive shopper and a shopaholic? If yes, then you are in a dire need for a frugal makeover.

You can always find something you want but ask yourself whether you really need it. Want and Need and two different things.”Need” is something you have to have while “Want” is something that you would like to have. Once you learn to distinguish between your wants and your needs, the world will definitely be a better place! Cut back on the extras. Treat yourself but do so when you can afford it and also when you deserve it.

Here are some simple ways in which you can plan your budget and enjoy shopping, without compromising on anything and still have a decent wardrobe:

  • Start with a budget and stick to at least 90 per cent of it. Budgets are not ,made to constrain you, but to simply keep you in line in terms of over-spending in particular categories, especially during special occasions. Before you step out to make your purchases, make it a pint to make a list of the essential items that need to be bought. This will help you to avoid straying from your goal and your budget. Once the item is bought, tick it off the list to avoid deviating from it and at the same time to maintain your budget.
  • Understand and prioritize between wants and needs. Cost and worth are two different things. It is easy to succumb to buying luxury items. But it is important to remember that you can do without an ‘extra’ dress or shoe or a bag. It is crucial to understand the ‘essential’ priorities over the frivolous ones. Ignore the siren call form the store window.
  • De-clutter your life. Simplicity and order are your new watchwords. Throw out things you haven’t worn in 6 months; you don’t need them. Think twice before making a purchase; prioritize. Your new mantra is “Do I need this?”. Don’t let the sheen of the dress draped across a mannequin or the smell of new leather shoes distract you from your goal.”It’s a fresh start calling and it’s for you.”
  • Maintain an expense record. It is absolutely essential for everyone to get into the habit of recording and maintaining your expenses which helps to keep a check on the spending/income limits. Once you are able to estimate your fixed monthly expense you will be able to set aside enough funds for other miscellaneous expenses
  • Party smart and small. If you are playing the role of a host, party small and within a stipulated budget. Keep in mind that throwing lavish parties only ends up draining your pockets and resources.
  • Focus on credit control. Most people don’t think twice before whipping out their credit cards. The rush you feel when you swipe your card, the joy you feel when you’ve bought something. If you think that credit cards come free of cost, think again! It is necessary to understand the charges associated with these credit cards, such as late payment fees and the interest rate for using these cards, etc. Switch to debit card and save your credit card for emergencies only. And no, I do not mean a fashion emergency!
  • Follow a saving plan. It is always good to inculcate the habit of saving. Start with small goals and build your way to bigger ones. Believe me, you’ll thank me later.
  • Get prepared for emergencies. As a smart individual you should always prepare a contingency plan as a backup option. What better way to handle emergencies than being prepared for one! It is always better to save up money for the rainy day rather than assuming that it simply will not rain. Ensure that you save some amount of money so that you don’t end up drenched as a cat in the rain.
  • Live life debt free. Once you are able to control the urge of overspending it’s time to focus on clearing your existing debts. It is essential to keep a tab on all expenses and to make sure that you don’t end up broke by paying all your debts. Avoid crossing the credit limit, pay your loans on time and you’re good to go!
  • Manage your expenses skillfully. Take a pledge today to think practically and to use your money wisely. Once you keep in mind the steps that need to be followed and the importance of keeping up financial resolutions, the road to recovery is pretty much easy.

 

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