Suspend Your Spend Cycle

B.L.A.C’s financial expert shows you how to recover from retail therapy

elieve it or not, I am a woman who does not like to shop.

I only go in grocery stores when absolutely necessary. I hate taking armloads of clothes into fitting rooms to try on, and even shoe shopping doesn’t turn me on.

In fact, my husband has to pretty much make me spend money. I once had a gift card for Saks Fifth Avenue with a nice chunk of change on it that I carried in my wallet for about a year before making it out to Somerset Mall to use it.


Today’s economic environment is forcing many people to become conscientious spenders and stretch every dollar. A number of others, though, continue to be impulse spenders even in this tight economy.

Here are some examples of impulse shopping, and how you can reverse the unhealthy habit:

1.  You go to the grocery store to pick up some milk, but you walk out with an extra bag of cookies, tortilla chips and salsa.

How to reverse it:  Get in the habit of doing your grocery shopping on a cash basis. Make a shopping list before you walk through the door, and make sure you have only enough money to pay for the items you intend to buy.  That way, you’ll spare yourself the embarrassment of having to “put back” items when checking out at the register.

2.  You walk into a store and see a shirt you adore, but it’s way too small. You just have to have it, so you buy it anyway.

How to reverse it:  Leave the tag on it and keep the receipt nearby. In time, return it and get your money back or give it to someone it actually fits.

3. You just got into an argument with your mate, and you run straight to the mall for some retail therapy.

How to reverse it:  Understand that any purchase you make at the mall will only provide a temporary “fix” to your emotions. Learn to communicate with your mate without being angry or critical.  Get couples counseling, if necessary. Deal with the dynamics of your relationship, and remember there’s no better “deal” you can find at the mall.

4. You watch late-night infomercials and excitedly whip out your paid-off credit card to buy a fancy thigh buster you probably will never use.

How to reverse it:  Learn the distinction between a want and a need. Give yourself 48 hours before making the purchase.  In the meantime, inventory all the other exercise equipment collecting dust in your home.

If you recognize yourself in any of these examples, don’t fret. Know that change is possible. Set your intention to be conscious of every cent you spend. Then, when it comes to shopping, be prepared, prudent and patient.

Success will be yours when you realize you have enough, and you are enough.

Glinda Bridgforth is the author of “Girl, Get Your Credit Straight!” and founder of Bridgforth Financial and Associates, LLC.

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