Common compulsive-shopping traps and tips on how to avoid them.

We’ve all done it!  Go to the store for milk and leave $100 lighter.  We all know that a trip to Target is never less than $100 no matter what you venture in for.

Some traps we all fall into include:

Compulsive shopping as a hobby or sport

There’s nothing to do, or you’re on vacation or planning an afternoon with some good friends. You opt for shopping. Why is spending money such a rush?  I don’t normally even like shopping.  My favorite real method of shopping when I want or need something involves a computer and amazon. – But if a friend suggests a shopping trip, I’m out the door and somehow I always find several things I ‘can’t live without’.

Cruising for deals online

True shopaholics don’t quit simply because they can’t get to the store. I’m really bad about this one.  I have $10  in swagbuck amazon gift cards… What should I buy?  Next thing I know there goes another $100.   For me I have to wait until I really need something to shop.
Having to own the latest technology

If you’re the type of person who thinks nothing of standing in line half the night to be the first to buy a new gadget or software, then you’re stuck in one of the most expensive spending traps: having to own the latest technology.  I’m horrible about this one too.  I REALLY NEED, must have, want desperately cool technology.   I’m working through my issue, by adding the item to my when I have enough swagbucks list.  Right now I’m working on earning the UltraBook.  (I want the new pink one that I just got in an email ad.)  I don’t make myself get enough for the whole amount but it needs to make a significant dent.   I know that the price will come down and do I really need it now or just want it.  As soon as it becomes a need I break down.

Mistaking shortcuts for savings

Preprocessed food is actually way more expensive in most cases.  In the case of bulk too, check the per unit price.  It should be on the store shelf.  Somethings I break down and buy the preprocessed – actually quite often.  But I’m working on not buying things like chopped onions and sliced up watermelon. How long really does it take to slice it yourself?

Buying the brand

Sometimes it pays to buy brand names, and sometimes it doesn’t.  Personally I love Mountain Dew – Citrus Drop is a lot cheaper.  I’ve been trying to cut back on soda and my kids and husband don’t seem to notice – so we’ve switched to that route.  It’s cutting my calories while saving.

Give the non-name brands a try and see if you can live with them.  For me it’s a deal breaker on the Mt. Dew, but I found that for my kids it doesn’t matter….- and they are the ones drinking it.

Confusing ‘clearance’ with ‘necessity’

It’s on clearance, I must buy it now and stock up!  I finally got a hold of my impulse two years ago with the Christmas sales and found that I am still living off my card and wrapping paper stockpile.  I also have enough toothpaste and deodorant to make it to the next century.

Really how often have you bought something because it’s a GREAT deal?  I found myself almost buying a skylander the other day because it was hard to get and was available.  My mother still has a stockpile of Cabbage Patch kids (The were hard to get) and boy do we have the beanie babies!

Taking couponing to the extreme

Don’t buy something simply because it’s a good deal!  If it’s free have a plan for where to donate it before buying.  Just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean it’s a good deal.  I keep track of the best price for items and know my top limit of what I will spend – For Mt. Dew I won’t pay more than $1 for a two litre.  I’ve gotten them for as little as $.79. K-cups I try to stick to $.50 per cup.  Know the best price for you, especially if you are brand specific.

Mountain Dew

Mountain Dew (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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