For some shopaholics, the financial crisis has put the brakes on their spending habits but for others, the crisis has resulted in increased spending in the form of retail therapy. This may give you a temporary high but the reality ‘cheque’ may come in the form of spiralling debt or a five page credit card bill. But don’t fear, help is at hand … here are ways to survive a shopping detox and rehabilitate your money habits.
Set financial goals
Research shows that setting goals and committing these goals to paper helps spendaholics to achieve their financial goals. The first thing you need to do is write a budget that is realistic and achievable. This is an important tool that will help you keep track of your monetary goals, help you pay off your outstanding debts and cut back on impulse spending. Write down your long term goals such as paying off your credit card debt or saving for a holiday away or house deposit. Goal setting should follow the SMART system of being specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
Consolidate your debts
Before you begin addressing your financial woes, you need to know exactly how much you are in debt. This means adding up your credit card bills, university debts and any outstanding loans. Consolidate your credit card debt into onto a low or no interest credit card, making substantial savings for the period of the lower interest rate or take out a personal loan to pay off your debt at a lower interest rate. If you’re falling behind in your bills, speak to the companies concerned who may be able to work out a payment plan for you. The sooner you face your debt and take control, the more empowered and happier you will be.
Exercise the two week rule
Try to stop impulse shopping, delay instant gratification and focus on your long-term goals and the bigger picture. If you have the urge to spend your savings on a new pair of designer shoes or a luxury handbag, employ the two week rule. If you still think they are a good investment after two weeks, then go ahead and purchase the shoes or bag but don’t make any impulse decisions and undo all your hard work on a gut reaction that you may regret a day later on a no-return purchase. It could be just a fleeting moment that passes.
Know your emotional trigger points
Take time to reflect on what triggers you to overspend. Keep a diary or a blog and write down patterns of behaviour over a period of a few months that will help you identify when you are most likely to falter or sabotage your savings goals. It could be due to depression, premenstrual tension or a toxic workplace or boyfriend. As the weeks go by, you will start to recognise these trigger points and instead of indulging in retail therapy, go for a work out at the gym, ring up a trusted friend to speak to or look elsewhere for comfort.
Surround yourself with people who will support your goals
While it’s fun to be with a party girl who is always shopping or a mate who is always out bar hopping and spending huge wads of cash on drinks, you need to pull back and find other forms of entertainment that is line with your savings goals or spend time with friends who will support you in saving money. Don’t let toxic friends or family who don’t have your best interests at heart stand in the way of your savings.
The devil may wear Prada and you may think better the devil you know but sometimes you have to live a Prada life on a Portman’s budget. This guide will lead you on the path to financial freedom and fund the lifestyle you currently pay for on credit.