Shopping for the Sake of Shopping

When I was a boy, my family had a series of dogs: a Saint Bernard, a Shih Tzu, a Golden Retriever and a whole host of mutts. Because dogs will be dogs, and because we lived in the country far from anything, our dogs would sometimes begin barking…and continue barking for minutes. Or hours. When this happened, my dad would shake his head and say, “That dog is barking for the sake of barking.”

Barking for the sake of barking started as yet another silly father-ism (I'm sure your family has some too), but it morphed into something more. Whenever somebody did something irrational, we'd say they were “blanking for the sake of blanking”.

As most of you know, I used to be a compulsive shopper. I lived beyond my means. I used credit cards to fund a lifestyle I couldn't afford. Though my wife and my family tried to get me to change my ways, I wouldn't listen to reason. And, of course, one day my father told me, “J.D., you've got to stop. You're shopping for the sake of shopping.”

He was right.

Shopping for the Sake of Shopping
As a younger man, I spent to feel better about myself. I spent to keep up with my friends. I spent to have the things I felt that I deserved. And often, I would spend for the sake of spending. What do I mean?

Many times I'd leave the house with the sole purpose of shopping. I wouldn't have anything specific in mind to buy — I just wanted to spend money. I wanted the satisfaction of bringing home something new. I'd decide I wanted new comic books, for instance (even though I hadn't read everything I already owned), and so spend a Saturday afternoon dropping from shop to shop. I'd come home with $50 or $100 of new comics, most of which I'd never read.

Or other times, I'd be in a store, and I'd just buy things almost at random. They were things I wanted, sure, but wanted only in the mildest sense. For example, maybe I thought a voice recorder looked interesting, so I'd buy it — and never use it. Or I'd grab a couple of impulse items in the checkout line.

When I did these things, I was shopping for the sake of shopping. Somehow, in some way, this spending made me feel better. It was the act of shopping itself that made me feel good about myself.

Well.

Obviously, that's not sustainable. It's no wonder I found myself in debt, and that I stayed there for so long. It was only as I began to control my urge to shop for sport that I was able to start digging out of debt.

Now good habits are ingrained. I find it difficult to go shopping, even when I need to. It used to be a way for me to feel better about myself; now I derive satisfaction from other activities, like exercising or learning Spanish. That's not to say that I never make impulse purchases (because I do), but spending is no longer a way to boost my self-esteem.

High Fidelity
It has been a long time since I went shopping for the sake of shopping. I intentionally steer clear of recreational spending. But last week my friend Paul dropped a line to see if I wanted to go record shopping with him. Against my better judgment, I agreed.

Long-time readers know that I'm something of a Luddite. Though I love the bleeding edge of modern technology, I also cling to the past. I have a record player (actually three — two are still at the house with Kris) and hundreds of records that I've acquired over my lifetime. Despite the advances in technology, I've always had a record player — since I was five or six years old.

For a long time, it was tough to buy new records. Sure, I bought lots of old vinyl at garage sales and thrift stores, but new albums? They just didn't exist. That's changed over the last few years (yay!). As people like Paul re-discover the joys of vinyl, there's a growing market of old fogies like us who actually enjoy the nicks and pops. They impart a sense of nostalgia.

So, Paul and I headed out on Thursday to do some record shopping. We visited a handful of stores to leaf through the record bins, looking for black gold. He walked away with several treasures. In the olden days, I would have done the same. This time, though, I was proud of myself. Even though I was shopping for the sake of shopping, I was smart about it.

  • I shopped from a list. Before we left, I made a list of a few albums I wanted to buy. I stuck to that list.
  • I didn't let myself get caught up the emotion of the experience. I was having fun. In the past, that would have been a recipe for disaster. The fun would have made me want to spend more, and that would have led to shopping momentum, etc. This time, I kept my emotions in check.
  • I ate first. Some of you may think this is silly, but I'm one of those who tends to overspend when hungry. On Thursday, I was ravenous as we set out. I made sure we stopped for lunch before we entered a record store. I'm glad I did.

Ultimately, I bought only one album: Carole King's classic “Tapestry” (which I'm listening to even as I type). I spent only $3 and came home with a record that was on my list. Ten years ago? I would have come home with a dozen or more records, most of which would have gathered dust. Ten years ago, I would have spent for the sake of spending. I don't do that anymore, and it makes me happy.

Do you shop for the sake of shopping? Have you in the past? What tricks do you use to cope with an urge to spend? Or are you one of those lucky folks who can wander through a mall without ever being tempted to by anything?

More about...Uncategorized

Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others

Subscribe to the GRS Insider (FREE) and we’ll give you a copy of the Money Boss Manifesto (also FREE)

Yes! Sign up and get your free gift
Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others
guest
85 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Miser Mom
Miser Mom
8 years ago

I wonder how much this is an age-related thing? I know there are many older compulsive shoppers, but there are also many people like you (and me?) who change habits as we age.

This is perhaps a wishful question on my part; my sons are at an age where the point of getting an allowance is to spend it as soon as possible. Hope that changes for them some day!

TB
TB
8 years ago
Reply to  Miser Mom

I can’t decide if it’s age-related alone, or age-related in that things come with age (like a wife who tells me my exact budget every week and if I go over… hell hath no fury like my wife’s!). For me, when I was younger I spent allowances immediatly becuase what was there to save for? I didnt understand concepts like college or retirement, etc. As an adult I don’t shop almost ever because my wife tells me what I can/cannot spend. I wonder what my spending would be like without my wife… probably not good.

A-L
A-L
8 years ago

I shop for shopping’s sake, but more because it’s a family activity rather than because I’m interested in shopping. I get together with my mom and grandmother every weekend, and inevitably, shopping is on the agenda. Thankfully we’re all “bargain” shoppers, but paying money for stuff you don’t really need isn’t a bargain either. When they’re both out of town, I don’t go shopping. (Ditto if I have time off.) So I know it’s more of a thing for me to do with family, than something I’m interested in. Unfortunately, I don’t see this pattern changing, at least possibly until… Read more »

Paul
Paul
8 years ago
Reply to  A-L

Why don’t you return all the stuff you bought during the following week but this time without your family?
I’ll bet most stores have nice return policies. Make sure to save all receipts

Marianne
Marianne
8 years ago

We used to shop for entertainment every weekend when we moved to a new city. We were bored and had no friends and it got us into a lot of trouble! Now that we’ve stopped doing that and developed some newer, safer spending habits I too find it hard to spend money. I’ve needed to go clothes shopping for a couple of months to update my work wardrobe and just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I finally went with a friend last weekend and got it all done in one quick mall trip thank goodness. I’m very wary about… Read more »

I Am 1 Percent
I Am 1 Percent
8 years ago

I used to shop for clothes a lot when I was single and would shop for new newest electronic toy. Now that I’m in my mid-thirties, married, and have bigger priorities, I don’t do that anymore. I don’t need the latest iPad, and I buy nice clothes that will last me a long time and look nice at work.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  I Am 1 Percent

Good for you 🙂 Oddly enough, not having kids or a spouse makes me even more inclined to save because right now, I’m doing it all on my own financially (no one is going to sweep in and help me buy a home or save for retirement, for example) and because hopefully things like a wedding and adoption will be in my future. I’m trying to save as much as I can while I can. 🙂 I have no doubt that a spouse and family are huge motivators to save, but they can also be big motivators to spend. (As… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

If one shops for the sake of shopping at the grocery store, the urge is satisfied and the damage is pretty limited. (Assuming one’s food budget is reasonable). It may also crowd out eating out.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I’m not sure I agree. Given that a lot of impulse food purchases tend not to be healthy ones, shopping for shopping sake at the grocery store can have other costs.

Unlike shoes and clothes, vegetables never let me down. But I have to watch myself that I don’t buy too much and end up throwing stuff out. It’s easy to go a little crazy at the farmers’ market. 🙁 Unnecessary spending is unnecessary spending, even if it is on a feel-good item like good food.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Hm, well, our impulse purchases tend to be healthy (especially when you realize dark chocolate is healthy). If you eat healthy food long enough most unhealthy food doesn’t taste good anymore and loses its luster. (Cheetos excepted, but we don’t go down that aisle.)

In terms of too much produce– that’s also not a problem if you’re good about processing food and storing it before it goes bad. There’s a lot of stuff you can do with the freezer.

Both of the above are decisions separate from the grocery shopping decision.

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

mmmmm dark chocolate. Researchers have been trying to prove for years that coffee and chocolate are bad for you, and it turns out that they’re good for you. However, very importantly, it’s the cream, sugar, and other garbage that are added to coffee and chocolate that make them extremely unhealthy, but not the coffee or chocolate themselves. I like the 85% dark chocolate, with some red wine (obviously!). I don’t drink coffee because it makes my hands shake, and I had heart surgery as a baby. So, I avoid caffeine. Anyway, back to shopping: I agree with both Nicole and… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

My problem is I don’t have a freezer (other than the tiny one in my fridge). I’m pretty good at knowing what to do with food, but having the space is another story. When I’m no longer bound by the limits of a ridiculously out of date lease, a freezer is the first thing I’m buying!

I second the point about good chocolate 😉 My weakness is artisan breads.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

We have a post on what to do with stale bread… my favorite is bruschetta.

nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/wasting-food-is-a-sin/

(Bread also makes bread pudding or strata, thickens soups, etc.)

We only have a regular freezer on the regular fridge.

Sarah
Sarah
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I’ve substituted a trip to the farmers market as a shopping alternative. I walk with a friend, we buy produce and prepared foods, run into people we know, and have a good time. Because the walk back includes a hill, there’s little temptation to over buy.

Justin @ The Family Finances
Justin @ The Family Finances
8 years ago

As I was reading this I couldn’t help but think of those Kohls TV commercials from a while ago, where the ladies claimed that they “Saved more than they spent.” I spent 30 minutes or so trying to explain to my wife how this simply could not be true. It certainly is easy to use shopping as recreation. You get bored at home, and you just want to go out. Or you’ve been living on a budget trying to save money, and one day you just get tired of being “good”. So you go out and buy a bunch of… Read more »

cc
cc
8 years ago

i dislike kohl’s. i used to lump them in with all the other big box dept stores (i live in nyc and only get to visit the big boxes when i’m home with my parents). so i have a kohl’s gift card, but using it drives me bonkers- everything in the store is so overpriced. i’d priced a couple items out on amazon and crate and barrel, and was surprised to find kohl’s being regularly more expensive than crate and barrel (and the selection was always lacking- i left there empty handed more than once). finally i figured it out-… Read more »

slccom
slccom
8 years ago
Reply to  cc

We’ve gotten really great deals there. My husband needed some short sleeved shirts, and they were sending out $10 gift cards, and we got 4 $24 brand name shirts for $14.

Since the coupons are good for as little as $10.01, I also used them at the clearance jewelry. I’ve gotten some really nice costume jewelry for free or a few cents. Some I kept, some are for gifts.

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  slccom

if you go the coupons in the mail, i can see how it would work out. as an occasional visitor to the store who doesn’t get coupons in the mail, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Ru
Ru
8 years ago

Your last paragraph nailed what happens to me! It’s especially difficult if you live in a capital city with a lot of shops with inticing windows. I get stir crazy stuck in the house because I’m too broke to go out, but I know that if I go out to an area with shops I will go crazy and spend cash. I’ve mentally mapped out whole sections of London and sorted them into places I can go when I don’t have money and places I can’t. Off limits are Berwick Street in Soho (gorgeous designer fabric shops), Camden Town/Spitalfields/Brick Lane… Read more »

Ian
Ian
8 years ago

That is a great album that my mother used to listen to all the time. I have since gotten it for myself on CD.

Ash
Ash
8 years ago

The malls are full of people shopping for the sake of shopping, ‘retail therapy’, recreational shopping or whatever. I am so glad that i don’t indulge in that kind of activity anymore.

Rachel
Rachel
8 years ago

My husband & I recently bought bicycles. After the initial investment, we wanted to buy more accessories but decided that we would ride for awhile to get a better feel of what we really needed. We limit bike related purchases to one a month and head to eBay first to get the best price. I consider this to be one of my greatest personal smart spends. We really look forward to our evening bike rides and it’s a great way to spend more quality time together, exercise and be entertained. Once we work our way up to grocery trips we’ll… Read more »

Analytical Planner
Analytical Planner
8 years ago

I try not to shop for the sake of shopping. From an early age I forced myself not to want anything because my parents couldn’t afford it. So now I can walk the malls without being tempted to buy at any store except food. I like to buy a pretzel or ice cream when I go to the mall. I figure that’s a small price compared to leaving having spent $100s of dollars.

cc
cc
8 years ago

i used to be all about recreational spending- i bought so much stuff! but after spending hours after hours trying to de-hoard, throwing away and selling and donating all that junk, i find it difficult to spend money when i want to. it’s frustrating! i’m like heyyy let’s go shopping! i have $100 to spend on clothes, let’s go nuts! and then i spend an hour hemming and hawing over a $20 shirt because really, it’s a whole $20, that’s dinner! and is it really super cute? will i wear it forever, can i wash it in the machine? too… Read more »

Jenna
Jenna
8 years ago
Reply to  cc

I agree completely! I used to be an overspender and shop constantly. With the help of GRS 4 years ago, I focused on paying off debt, decluttering, etc. I really dug into the the “why” of my spending, reading about the psychology of consumerism and other fun topics. Now, I over analyze nearly ever purchase and my insight has removed the fun of shopping. I put it off as long as possible then stew on purchases made and money spent. I need to find balance…

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  Jenna

such a bummer!! the only silver lining is when you actually find an item you like and want and it’s for sale. i freaked out when a pitcher i wanted from crate and barrel went back on the sales floor- i missed it last year, they sold out, i had the glasses set and everything and regretted and complained about it the whole winter. it came back out this spring and BAM it’s in my cabinet. oh the joy that pitcher brings for some weird reason. i haven’t even used it. maybe i just needed to shop for something, lol.… Read more »

Susan
Susan
8 years ago

I’ve never been much of a shopper except in the grocery store. We have a good co-op that has so many interesting foods that I can easily overspend, but as noted above, the real damage is minimal. Now and then we have an “eat what we have” week and clear out some of those purchases.

I think being comfortable and good company for yourself is one of the keys to not shopping for shopping’s sake. There’s just so many other ways to spend your time without spending money.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

Great post 🙂 This may sound funny, but I love that it was written by a man. It seems it’s women who usually get a bad rap for shopping as recreation. It’s something fun and girlie that we’re supposed to enjoy. Maybe we buy different kinds of impulse purchases — I don’t know too many men who cheer themselves up with new shoes or a new outfit — but I think the “shop for the sake of shopping” applies to both sexes.

Nancy
Nancy
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

My husband is a guy who likes to cheer himself up with a new pair of shoes. He has a closet full of Jordans and only wears two pairs regularly.

Ms Life
Ms Life
8 years ago

I used to buy clothes unnecessarily when I feelt low back in the day. It would make me feel better briefly but not so great after I had reviewed my budget. Fortunately, I stopped doing this and now only buy what I have planned for. I love shoes and usually I overcome the desire to buy new ones by going to shops to admire and try on shoes. Actually, over lunch today I went to look at shoes though I do not plan to buy any this month. This works for me and I am not tempted to buy anything.

Tracey+H
Tracey+H
8 years ago

Decades ago, when the kids were small, we did go to the mall for recreation (though we were frugal then and seldom spent much money). We moved to a small town when the kids were 6 and 8 and there just weren’t any shopping options there (you’d have to drive 35 minutes to go to a bigger city to shop). That actually broke the habit of shopping for recreation. We learned to play basketball with the kids, bike, stand outside and watch them play while visiting with neighbours, etc.

Sharla
Sharla
8 years ago

I definitely spend less money when I stay away from stores. I briefly got into the habit of shopping for the sake of shopping after Christmas–I shopped a couple clearance sales for actual needs, then I keep going back to see if the prices had been reduced even more.
What are some keys to help recognize when we’re going down this path?

Adam P
Adam P
8 years ago

I hate shopping when I’m hungry. If I am feeling hunger pangs the last thing I want to do is try on clothes or browse books. I should only go shopping when I *am* hungry, because then I’d never buy anything except what is absolutely necessary. As a Canadian with American parents and siblings that I visit often, I tend to do all my shopping on trips there when I visit them. The retail prices in Canada (with a dollar anywhere near par over over 90 cents) are simply too high in contrast. Plus, parlous choice. This curbs my spending… Read more »

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  Adam P

vacation shopping is the best!!! my poor husband has learned to schedule time for me to go shopping into our trips (bless his heart!). i leave with my bags half empty and come home like a pack mule. many many great clothes and shoes were bought abroad, in less-shopping-friendly places (resorts instead of a big city), i usually end up perusing the gift shop and chatting with the cashier… at one point my husband came to find me, we’d been chatting for like an hour. they’re so friendly/bored! and all the stuff is so cute. you don’t get a shopping… Read more »

Vanessa
Vanessa
8 years ago

I tend not to shop until I need something, and I think that’s caused me to spend more in some ways. It seems I’m always walking into a store right after a sale has gone off. Or the item that I was waiting to be marked down has sold out before I could buy it. So I have to buy it at full price because I need it right then. I probably don’t get the best price because I don’t feel like going to every single store to compare prices. There’s a part of frugality that actually requires one to… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

It would be interesting to see if you save more money this way just from not buying unnecessary stuff.

When we stopped having to make regular diaper purchases at Target, our cc bills went way down, despite no longer being able to time Target sales. (And not just from the cost of diapers!) We just bought less stuff, even if some of the stuff we did buy regularly was more expensive at the grocery store than at Target.

Bella
Bella
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

This makes me optimistic, before I was buying diapers I think I would step inside a Target maybe once every six months. Now – it’s more like twice a month and the amount I spend is much more than I do on diapers. Hopefully when the diapers get phased out – so will this leak.

Nancy
Nancy
8 years ago
Reply to  Bella

I had the same problem. I would stop at Target to get diapers & wipes and come out with $50-$100 worth of stuff I hadn’t planned on buying. Now I get get diapers(Luvs) and wipes delivered through amazon. If you subscribe to get them delivered automatically you get a discount. You can choose the delivery schedule ( every month, every two months, etc.)After the discount, the price is comparable to Targets store brand diapers.

margot
margot
8 years ago

A good little anecdote that shows good lessons learned. I did, however, cringe a little at the mention of 3 record players. 3? I’m glad that your smaller apartment will limit your minor hoarding tendencies. You’ll feel so liberated when you finish purging all the stuff from your life that you don’t use on a regular basis.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

I’m definitely guilty of this. On the weekends when I don’t have anything better to do, I’d load up my daughter and just go wander from store to store. Only in the last few months have I begun to realize how detrimental this is to my savings goals and debt payoff. I know try to only go to the store when I have five or more items on my grocery list or when it’s absolutely essential like milk or my daughter’s required snack for school. I’ve noticed a dramatic difference in my monthly savings since then.

Sheryl
Sheryl
8 years ago

Shopping for shopping’s sake is definitely a financial vice of mine. It used to be really bad, in high school I could easily drop all my week’s earnings over the weekend “just because”.

Now I’m much better about it, but I’m still aware that I do it. I try to keep to a list, or a specific item and limit myself to window shopping otherwise. The lists are key.

Audrey @ Mom Drop Box
Audrey @ Mom Drop Box
8 years ago

I watched Undercover Boss this past weekend and the CEO of Yankee Candle commented how he wanted to make shopping at their stores ‘retailtainment’. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going out & shopping because you need / would like something you can afford, and enjoying it. The problem comes when shopping becomes a hobby. I try to differentiate between the two before I shop.

Lynn Johnston
Lynn Johnston
8 years ago

It’s always a good idea to eat before you go shopping. In Willpower, by Baumeister and Tierney, the authors discuss studies that when your blood sugar is low, impulse control deteriorates because the parts of the brain related to self-control aren’t getting enough fuel, and what blood sugar is available goes to the parts of the brain that keep you breathing, your heart beating, etc.

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  Lynn Johnston

That’s so interesting, and makes so much sense. I also think that when blood sugar is low, you’re generally more desperate. It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. Low blood sugar means you’re running out of food, so you may be more willing to exchange your unusable resources (money) for usable resources (stuff).

PS I’ve come to the conclusion that most health/disease issues boil down to blood sugar and/or the immune system, which are not mutually exclusive.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Lynn Johnston

With the exception of the grocery store, shopping when I’m hungry has the opposite effect on me. I get indecisive and anxious and tend to leave without buying anything even though I’m usually shopping for something I need.

William
William
8 years ago

I, too, have a recreational shopping streak. Had. Had. These days, when the urge strikes I channel it to grocery shopping. Shopping is shopping, doesn’t matter what you buy 🙂 The wife benefits, and the price of any over shopping is way lower. She found the ultimate way to lower the cost even further: we don’t go shopping till we eat what “we” bought last time! 🙂

But… Great post!

Quest
Quest
8 years ago

I no longer shop for the sake of shopping. Like you, I find it difficult enough these days just to go and buy food and household supplies, the things that we need to have. I used to shop for the sake of it every single day and I had a huge hoard to show for it and thousands of dollars that I just may as well have set a match to. If I feel like wasting money on stuff I do not need, I remind myself of what it felt like to never have any money despite being a high… Read more »

Poor Student
Poor Student
8 years ago

I used to be big on shopping for the sake of shopping. I would go out just because I was bored and thought I could use something new. Now it happens more that I will find myself out and I don’t want to come back empty handed. I am a lot better now (not having any money helps), but I could be better. My biggest problem right now, I like trying new drinks when I go to the liquor store. I will buy a bottle of brandy even though I have never tried brandy and realize that I am not… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

Brother, if you’re buying records, why just buy old records? Here, some fresh vinyl joy for your ears: http://ultraeczema.com/releases/ (scroll down the page & listen to BIRDS OF DELAY. i’m saving up for that one!) — NOW: demented shopping that gets you in debt and ruins your life i agree is stupid, but if you’re a) covering the needs of your family, and b) meeting or exceeding your savings targets– what’s really stopping you from spending money in the things you want, unless you don’t really want them? all that this boils down to is a maximization of pleasure. if… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Doesn’t this violate the guiding principle of so many members of the Frugality League: “First, have no fun?”

Also, personally, I think “Dreaming of Being a Tampon” is better than “Birds of Delay,” but maybe that’s just me.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

“First, have no fun!” — haa haa haaa haaa!

Yeah. Spring is here, who wants to stay cooped up and suffer? It’s the season for outdoor beer-drinking!

Anyway, I like Birds of Delay, they sound to me like the lost children of Maryanne Amacher, but I’ll say that listening to Reijo Pami was interesting– he reminds me of a chainsaw-smoking Siberian throat singer or an old steamship.

KSR
KSR
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Funny, I was thinking exactly as what you wrote as I was reading all these comments and then I come to your comment–tada! Our minds are like ones. The thing that I take away from JD’s thing here is that shopping can be a pretty powerful addiction—everyone has a hole to fill and everyone finds a way to fill it. I can’t imagine being addicted to shopping, since I must be allergic— but I’m on day 4 of no smoking and I made strange associations and direct linkages with JD’s “shopping emotions”.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

@KSR- damn, just 4 days? As a “recovering” smoker all I can say is — breathe! Yeah, when the craving kicks in, take a few deep breaths. That’s how I’ve managed to quit… over & over again (hA!).

But seriously, breathing deeply helps a ton to fight cravings. In about 3 weeks it will all be a memory, but whenever you have some monster stress you might be tempted again– I know I can be.

Anyway, watchu gonna do with the liberated cigarette money? That should be an extra encouragement.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Hey, Nerdo. I don’t just buy old records. My Adele vinyl is my most-played record (but “19”, not “21”). Also, I just received “Drama y Luz” in the mail today from Amazon. “No te rindas” on vinyl? Yes please!

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Oh ha ha, we have diametrically opposed tastes in music, so I had to google what you were talking about, but I’m glad you support new analog media. Even though it’s a pain because it takes out too much space, and it’s heavy to carry, and it doesn’t play in the car, and it scratches, and needs cleaning, and it makes little sense, vinyl is delicious.

kriserts
kriserts
8 years ago

Wait a minute. You’ve never heard of Spotify? All the music you want, completely free if you’re willing to listen to an ad every once in awhile.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  kriserts

I have a Spotify subscription that spares me the ultra-annoying commercials and it’s totally worth it, but *Spotify doesn’t have all the music I want*. Not in a million years, no, I’m afraid. 🙁

bethh
bethh
8 years ago

The grocery store is my last bastion of shopping for the heck of it. Meal planning is my friend, but we’ve fallen out of touch.
😉

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago

I most definitely used to shop for the sake of shopping. It was entertainment. And it was therapy. I was in a terribly stressful but highly-paid job, which benefited me very little because I spent ALL the money. 🙁 Ended up with a houseful of Stuff which I am still weeding out. I started curing the addiction with two major changes. One of convenience: DH’s car died and I told him to just use mine, instead of buying another one, because we lived about a mile from my terrible job and there was no good reason NOT to walk to… Read more »

bg
bg
8 years ago

I used to spend a lot on books in the past, until I started tracking my spending. Then I was good for a while but lately – obviously as a side effect of my very successful weight loss – I feel more inclined to go shopping _something_. Sigh. Grocery shopping is also one of my resorts, and I try to work on my resistance. Went to a super-large shopping center on Saturday and only bought the one package of special nut mix I had been looking for all over town \o/ (But also ordered stuff for 20$ at Amazon later… Read more »

StLouisKaren
StLouisKaren
8 years ago

In my twenties I spent hours shopping and spending like there was no tomorrow. In my thirties I realized that tomorrow is today. Now, here I am nearing the end of my forties, and I haven’t been “shopping” in close to a decade. I’d run into a store to grab an item to replace something completely worn out – but that was the extent of my spending. This weekend I spent a large part of Saturday and Sunday “at the mall”. My husband has been begging me for months to go shopping and I have been putting it off with… Read more »

slccom
slccom
8 years ago
Reply to  StLouisKaren

Why start with the mall? Thrift or consignment stores can have what you need, and then go to the outlet stores, then to the mall.

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  slccom

In my experience, thrift/consignment, and even outlet stores, are not the place to go when there is *specific* clothing you need.

KarenJ
KarenJ
8 years ago

I wouldn’t describe myself as a compulsive shopper, but someone who enjoys shopping. I shop the clearance racks only and consignment stores, but even buying items at reduced prices is still BUYING. My husband and I live on commission so we have to be very, very careful about how much we spend as our money has to last. My trick to avoid spending money is to just not go AT ALL. I very rarely NEED anything. I find that I really want to go, so I bury myself in some other activity to take my mind off, and it seems… Read more »

Susan
Susan
8 years ago
Reply to  KarenJ

We use a “tickler” question: “Is this trip necessary?” It makes us think twice before heading out in the car. Since it’s over 10 miles to any shopping area, the gas alone is part of the shopping expense.

Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
8 years ago

I’m so lucky not to struggle with this issue. However, I do see some friends who suffer from it. I think I ski for the sake of skiing, but I love it. And I’m definitely guilty of worrying for the sake of worrying. Something I’m working on.

Lucille
Lucille
8 years ago

I rarely do anything just for the sake of it..watching TV or reading a book. I live on purpose therefore I shop with purpose….usually to eat. That said, if more people acted like me there’d be high unemployment. Shopping keeps people in jobs!

Kate
Kate
8 years ago

I go to cafes for the sake of going to a cafe. I buy overpriced coffee and a snack. This is bad for both my wallet and my waistline – I perhaps spend £5 2 or 3 times per week. That number does add up (£700/year sounds a bit more exciting). The problem I have is I genuinely enjoy it, I love being by myself with the quiet hum of people, I love reading the paper. I love that I can read a book in a room at the right angle to the sun (my living room always faces east… Read more »

Jenn Yarborough
Jenn Yarborough
8 years ago

my biggest problem is Craft/Art supplies stores. two things I do to keep from getting too much? I take my hubby with me, he is the end all to weather I need something or not. and if I’m going alone I am not aloud to “look around” since I know the stores well, especially Hobby Lobby – my personal favorite, I go in directly to the section where I find what I need without looking at anything else on the way, and then I get out – fast. I occasionally reward myself for saving by having a price limit and… Read more »

Bridget
Bridget
8 years ago

I think MOST consumers shop for the sake of shopping =\ I think that’s every advertising and marketing campaign goal when they work for a brand.

I’m trying to tame my shopping habits, and for the most part I don’t shop for the sake of shopping. I shop when I want/need something, but I feel like that’s a blurry line sometimes. Maybe I am just buying something for the sake of buying something…

Cheryl
Cheryl
8 years ago

My Favorite album of all time!!!!

Brendan
Brendan
8 years ago

Shopping without a plan, the impulse buy, the endcap, things that keep us in debt! People need to be disciplined and mature! Delay gratification and save the money! Exercise the 30 day rule! Odds are that in 30 days you won’t want what you were about to impulse buy.

Brendan
themoneybeast.blogspot.com

Jessica, The Debt Princess
Jessica, The Debt Princess
8 years ago

Shopping for the sake of shopping is exactly what got me into trouble in my 20s. I was not equipped to handle the abundance of credit cards that was thrown at me while in college. I was not prepared for how to deal with my finances (or lack thereof as the case were). Shopping was a sport, a hobby, a form of entertainment and therapy all wrapped up into one. It did a number on me, one that I continue working to recover.

You hit the nail on the head with this one J.D.

Ana
Ana
8 years ago

I struggle with shopping for shoppings sake. I find that it helps to avoid arguing with myself when I see an item, if I give myself permission to pick it up now and decide later(this works especially well at Ikea where they give you a basket!) often by the time I get to the checkout the thrill has worn off (much as it does when I actually purchase things and take them home) and I leave them behind without buying.

amber
amber
8 years ago
Reply to  Ana

I do the very same with online shopping. I will put everything in the cart and close it up never getting out my credit card. If I find I am still thinking about that thing a while later (maybe days or weeks or months – it really depends) then I give myself permission to find it at the cheapest price, including looking for coupons and gift cards for it. After I’ve gone to all that work and if I still want it, OK. Usually, I exhaust myself in the process of comparison shopping.

Frankie
Frankie
8 years ago

You basically just described my tendencies and history with this article, so I won’t elaborate on my defeciencies. What I would like to share is what motivated me to change. I met the woman I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I had to take a good hard look at my financial situation and change my habits. It wasn’t easy (still isn’t) but once I came clean with my girlfriend (now my wife), I’ve progressively made small changes to invest in our future with her help. Now we have a child and a plan (with… Read more »

amber
amber
8 years ago

It was mentioned before but I just want to commend JD for writing this and all the men who have commented as reformed sport shoppers. Both women and men are equally likely to have this bad habit!

j
j
8 years ago

I will just mention the addiction specialist’s mantra…

use “HALT”–don’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.

You are much more likely to lose control (of any addiction) under these circumstances.

Suca
Suca
8 years ago

It would be interesting to have a column here about the psychology of shopping. I know there’s a huge psychological component, and knowing what’s pushing your buttons is helpful in making changes to established behavior patterns.

Between advertisers’ and merchandisers’ knowledge of human behavior, unaware shoppers barely stand a chance. Knowledge is power.

How about it JD? Can we get a column like that here?

Christa
Christa
8 years ago

My mother shops for the sake of finding deals. She cannot pass up a $3 salad spinner (even if she has five of them at home) simply because it’s on sale. Someday, I hope she can also discover the joys of shopping without purchasing!

Tara
Tara
8 years ago

I was a sport shopper for many years… however in the past few years I have finally seen the light and just stopped. I have no more credit cards, no more debt, and my savings are growing by leaps and bounds. It has made me feel a lot more relaxed. I don’t ever want to go down that road again so I avoid the mall unless I need something specific, then I try to get in and out without being sucked in to other stuff.

bobj
bobj
8 years ago

..and I miss the days where all you had to worry about on the color tv is the tint and color!

Carl Lassegue
Carl Lassegue
8 years ago

I learned the hard way not to grocery shop the other day. I went into Publix for a sub and walked out with over $75 worth of groceries and no sub. I’m definitely not doing that again.

Alyssa
Alyssa
8 years ago

I’m really, really bad about this. I go through phases. I’ve done shopping bans before and they work. It used to be that I shopped for the sake of shopping. Now I’m much more selective about how clothes fit and look. However, it seems I’m slowly replacing the ill-fitting clothes I used to buy with good-fitting clothes. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s still shopping. It’s an internal battle I wage. I was genuinely surprised that last month I only went over my shopping budget by $0.64.

shares