Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How I Averted an Emotional Spending Binge: My Six-Step Program

It was a blue Monday and I was headed for a blue-light special driven by emotional spending. Fortunately, I detoured from the frivolous spending path with this six-point strategy.
  • Face check: As I was toting a pair of brown Nine West shoes -- reduced to $10 -- I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I was not a happy shopper. My eyes were glazed with dollar signs and my energy was as sluggish as the economy. The sight of my tired face was a wake-up call. That reality check had me bouncing out of the shoe aisle.

  • Thrift-store counter-attack: As I pushed through rows and rows of marked-down items, I realized that none of the shirts or skirts impressed me. In fact, if those same items were on sale at a thrift store, I would have turned up my nose. My new anti-shopping query: Would I buy this same item at a thrift store?

  • Need-based questions: Of course, I evaluated each item with the classic question: Do I need this item or do I just want it? But I also started to think of what I really needed in my life, and that wish list does not include new clothes.

  • Billable hours: Utility, medical, food and education bills flashed through my eyes as I eyed the flashy merchandise. How many hours would I have to work to pay for a shopping spree? The numbers did not work for me.

  • The Children's Network: After all my talk about tough economic times and sacrifice, how would I have justified bringing a shopping bag of impulse purchases into my home? What would my children have learned from that example?

  • Re-directed energy: From the emotional-spending department, I pushed the cart into the emotional debt aisle. I owed baby gifts to two friends and I found cute outfits for $4.88 each. And I located a discounted copy of a Twilight book (number #3 in the series) to replace the copy that my kids had borrowed from a friend, but lost. I'll collect the replacement tab from the kids, and I'll wrap the baby gifts.

Here's how to buy my book:

@ Barnes & Noble
@ Borders

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