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August 11, 2016

FINANCE: The Importance of Breaking the Shopping Habit

spending with debit card

To fully embrace minimalism and put an end to the accumulation of clutter and the amassing debt, you need only make one change to your life:

Break the habit of shopping for leisure.

Why Should You Quit Shopping?

First, and probably the most obvious reason of all, is that in order to save more money, you need to spend less. Unless you are planning for a sudden windfall or are able to triple your current income, spending less is the only surefire way to see your savings increase right away.

Second, if you spend less, you will have more money to use towards paying off debt. The faster you can pay down your debt, the less you'll be spending each month on interest and finance charges. If you roll that interest savings into paying down the debt even further, you'll see your efforts snowball and you'll find yourself debt-free in far less time than you'd imagined.

Third, less debt can mean faster accumulation of savings (and interest earned on that savings account) to build an emergency fund, to create a travel fund, to contribute to charitable organizations, or whatever else your financial dreams might include.

Finally, less spending translates to less junk. You know, the inevitable stuff that fills up closets, attics, cabinets, and garages? That's the same stuff that's holding you back from your goals. Stopping the flow of goods into your home also saves you hours (okay, days and weeks if we're being really honest here) of time dedicated to its care and keeping.

How to Break Up With Shopping

Your breakup with leisure shopping might be short and sweet or it might be long and dramatic--it all depends on how deep into the relationship you are. Regardless, the best way to separate yourself from the habit is to take a step towards your financial freedom right away.

Here are nine steps to get your journey started:
  • Avoid the mall. 
  • Unsubscribe from retailer email lists.
  • Block websites that trigger your spending. 
  • Limit your exposure to TV/radio/web advertisements. 
  • Close credit cards accounts. (Be firm! They will pull out all the stops to try and talk you out of this!)
  • Make a shopping list for necessities and stick to it
  • Pay with cash to avoid impulse buys and straying from your shopping list.
  • Set a savings goal or target. Think of it when the urge to shop strikes.
  • Find a free (or at least inexpensive) hobby to fill your time. Boredom can lead to reversion. 

Have you already written your Dear John letter to your shopping habit? What kinds of steps are you taking to break up with spending for sport?

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