Between keeping up with the Joneses and stores open 24/7, we’ve never had more reason, or opportunity to buy something (or anything) on a whim.
I don’t have any firm numbers, but I’d be willing to bet that we have more shopaholics spending more money than ever before.
Not only that, but so many people are doing it that it is most likely not considered a problem, but has shifted to a relatively new norm. When the focal point of our politics is how to get consumers spending again (because this will fix our economy) there is a huge problem.
What are some examples of our unfettered access to spending money:
- 24 hour stores.
- Internet shopping.
- Home shopping via the TV.
- Shopping by cell phones.
- Shopping by mail.
Some of these have been around longer than others, but they all amount to the ability to separate you from your money.
Now, I’m not necessarily writing this article for shopaholics as I can’t imagine that what I have to say will be of any interest to someone with that problem, but I can certainly offer up ideas for anyone who thinks they’re spending too much.
Don’t Forsake Reality
There is a big world out side of your door, so don’t limit your shopping to the internet. There are thrift stores, pawn shops, second-hand stores (I still call these thrift stores), garage sales, and numerous other methods to purchasing goods at a far lower price. There’s also freecycle if you don’t mind getting things for free.
Think of Alternatives
Before you buy, think of things that you already have that might fulfill your need. We purchase goods or services to do things for us. Whether it be to enhance our image, or get a job done, we need to fulfill a need or want.
There’s been a number of times that I’ve wanted to get something and my wife points out a suitable alternative that we already own. You must be objective and ask yourself a few questions:
- What is the need that I’m trying to fulfill?
- Can this need be fulfilled in any other ways?
- Do I have anything that can meet this need (even if it isn’t as convenient!)?
Borrow or Rent
If you know someone who has the good, and you only need it for a “one-off” then ask to borrow it! This is a huge point of waste on our parts. We never want to borrow, we just want to own ours. Even if you have one tree in your yard, you’ll buy a chainsaw before you borrow one. You know, just in case a forest springs up over night.
As an alternative, you could try to use an axe. Exercise won’t exactly hurt many of us. If you can’t bring yourself to borrow, then renting might be a more cost-effective way to meet your need. Many tool stores allow you to rent various tools. Of course, I would always suggest weighing the cost of renting vs the cost of purchasing.
I love buying used. I needed a toaster oven, because using our actual oven is a huge waste of energy based on the quantities of food we cook. Instead of spending $40.00 on a brand new one, I purchased one at a thrift store for $8.06! It looks as though I just got it off the shelf and looks brand new. I’m quite proud of that purchase as you can tell!