One of the things I recognized when I was in the midst of paying off my debt is that I hate shopping. But I like getting new things. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

When my husband first found out about my debt, he questioned what I spent it on. If I’d had a Lexus in the garage, it would have made more sense – but it wasn’t just one big purchase, it was a million smalls ones.

I mean, there were times it was filling gaps in my budget – and I used a card to get groceries or put gas in my car. But mostly, it was just stuff. Crap for my kids that they didn’t need. A new whats-it for me that I just had to have.

Except that most of the time, I didn’t.

So I had to rethink the way I shopped. I’ve heard people recommend a one month spending fast on any frivolous purchases, and while that may work for them, it did not work for me. One month is a minuscule amount of time. You blink and it’s done and you are right back to spending.

This is what works for me. 

I force myself to wait two weeks on anything that I don’t need. Like – I need groceries. And gas. Those things are at the top of the budget.

But, you know, anything that is purchasing on a whim – that’s got to be run through the ringer.

For instance – there is this headband that I’m dying for right now. I am obsessed with it. You can read the story behind why I think I need it so much over here.

And just so you get how cute this thing is…you can see it here. Look at that button. How can I say no to that button?!

It’s been sitting in my etsy cart for three days. And I’m still in the stage of thinking how much I want it every day – but if I make it two weeks without buying it, and it kind of just slips out of my mind – I know I can live without it.

So that’s the strategy. I want something…I make myself wait a full fourteen days…and if I am still nuts about it, I’ll probably get it.

I’m flighty, so usually that’s enough time for me to have moved on to something else. It works.

I’m sure you’re thinking – but it’s less than $40. Just get it.

And old me would have thought that exact same thing. But five $40 purchases adds up to $200. Ten $40 purchases is $400. (I know you get how math works – but sometimes you have to see that written out to really process it.)

Small purchases add up to big numbers. It’s one of the laws of the universe.

If you want to stop debt – make sure you thoroughly ponder every purchase. Nothing frivolous without a serious waiting period.

(Oh, and if you do give in to temptation, don’t beat yourself up too much. Just do better next time. This is not an easy habit to break.)



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