Get Your Shopping Fix without Buying More Clothes (Or Hats, Or Shoes, Or Bags)

Dollars & Sense on 07.20.11
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Photo Credit: Britt Reints

I love to shop. I love the thrill of the hunt, the sense of accomplishment that comes from scoring a great buy, and the good old fashion adrenaline high that comes from acquiring a new possession. Shopping feels good. Unfortunately, there comes a time in a shopping maven's life when she realizes that she has enough clothes, shoes, hats, and handbags - more than enough, even.

Whether it's a family decision to reduce spending or a simple desire to declutter your closet, you may find yourself needing to curtail your shopping habit. But what about those good feelings? Here's a few tips for getting your shopping fix without buying another pair of pumps.

Finish decorating your home.

This is not the best tactic if you need to quickly curb your overall spending, but it is a good way to divert your spending into something more practical. Note, however, that I said finish decorating and not "remodel that bedroom you just painted last year." The key here is to channel your bargain hunting energy into a project that you've put off in the past. Finish getting that guestroom organized or finally tackle the bathroom remodel you've been thinking about since you moved in. Can't quite afford the big remodel? Stop your shopping all together and put that money into a savings account designated for your new pet project.

Start a garden.

What does digging in the dirt have in common with bargain hunting? More than you'd think. Planting a garden is a great way to replace the sense of empowerment and accomplishment that many of us get from shopping. You'll also get to enjoy the thrill of having something new when your labors produce fruit (or vegetables and herbs.) If your shopping trips have been straining the household budget, a home garden can put money back into your wallet by saving you money at the grocery store.

Make a year long gift list.

Who says you have to wait until December to start your holiday shopping? Make a list of gifts you plan to purchase throughout the year and keep an eye out for the perfect gift whenever you hit the stores. The success of this strategy depends on making the same buying decisions you would normally make, just spreading the thrill of acquisition over the course of an entire year.

Clean out your closet.

If painting the kitchen, growing tomatoes, and finding the perfect birthday gift for Mom still hasn't satisfied your thirst for a new skirt, it's time to find yourself something pretty. But wait! Don't rush off to the nearest department store just yet. Head to your own closet and do a thorough cleaning. Reach way in the back for that skirt you got on sale last season and then promptly forgot about. What was old is new again, and it didn't cost you a dime this time! Consider it the deal of a lifetime.

If your shopping has brought you to a point where you have more clothes than money, it may be time for a shopping crackdown. Look for new places to get the same emotional highs and you won't miss it. Much.

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