Thursday, July 12, 2007

ATTENTION Shopaholics: Alternatives to Spending While You Are Trying to Save

I decided to make this list as much for myself as for readers. Hopefully when I have the itch to spend I can come back to it and find some ideas of what to do instead. Honestly I was inspired by this article by Trent at The Simple Dollar. He talked about not spending a cent for an entire day. I actually did it the day I read the article. It was neat as I added up- I didn’t stop at the gas station for a bottle of water $2, ate something for lunch that I already had at home instead of fast food at least $5. It has also really helped me think about what I am buying before I just go spend. I decided to come up with some other alternatives to shopping because I know eventually it will get harder.

*Shop your closet. Go through all the stuff you have already bought and make up as many new outfits as you can. Still have something with the tags on? FIND something to pair it with and make it a point to wear it within the next week. This would also be a great time to get some things together for a yard sale!

*Shop your bathroom. Ok, I have to explain. If you are anything like me you probably have a ton of beauty products that you bought, used once and tossed under the cabinet. Go through all your beauty booty and pull out stuff to have a “spa night”. Bath salts, a face mask, bubbles, the works! Treat yourself with products you already have. (This one is geared more toward women I guess)

*Shop your own DVD collection. Again, if you are like most people you have a growing collection of DVD’s. Instead of adding to your collection or going and spending too much at Blockbuster, go through your own collection and pull out an old favorite. Pop some popcorn that you probably have way back in the back of your pantry and make it a movie night!

*Get to those long lost projects. Make yourself a list of little things you have been meaning to get to but never do because you are out SHOPPING for more stuff to do. Knit that sweater, put those pictures in the album or scrapbook, defrag your computer, the possibilities are endless. If you have a list to refer to when you have the urge to spend you will actually get things done. (Personally I use this for cleaning and it really works!)

*Take the kids out. But not to Chuck E Cheese’s! Take the kids out to the park or the beach. It is FREE and you get to have some quality time together. Quality time does NOT have to mean buying them things. Go to the museum or library… which takes me to the next item….

*Go to the library. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this one out. I AM a librarian (children’s library though). I have spent so much money on finance books. I could have checked them all out at my library and saved myself a ton of cash! In fact I just sold some of the books I bought here and only got $70 for them. I probably paid close to $200 when they were new. I could have had all of that information for FREE!!!

*Have a party. Hey being broke doesn’t have to suck. Get together with a few friends and have everyone make a dish with things they already have at home. They probably have a few bottles of alcohol to contribute too (if you are into that kind of thing). Enjoy each other’s company without paying ridiculous restaurant prices.

*Do a toy swap. Hey this can be for the kids OR the adults. Kids can borrow each other’s toys to have something new to play with and adults can borrow DVD’s or video games (yeah, not those kinds of toys…sheesh) Just be sure you trust the people you are swapping with and DON’T swap anything that would devastate you was it broken, etc.

*Use some of the junk you bought. I don’t know how many times I look at my Nintendo Wii and think, wow, I should really play that. So often we go and shop because we are bored. Meanwhile all of the things we bought while out shopping are sitting in our closet collecting dust. You bought it so USE it or SELL it!

Whew… that is all I can think of for now. Please feel free to add your own ideas. Others will definitely appreciate it. Well, I’m off to “shop my bathroom”. I think I am going to make it a spa night tonight!

1 comment:

Jen said...

Wanted to update everyone on my "Spa Night". Well, it was great except when I raided my cabinets I realized I had sold most of my beauty products at a garage sale (believe it or not that stuff sells like crazy). The best part was using all of my scented candles.

Also I thought of some more tips. You could also take some online surveys and earn some money to pay toward your debt!!!