Did you know that over 40 per cent of female shoppers in the UAE admit to keeping their shopping habits private, not revealing it to friends and family, as revealed in a 2016 survey by Shedd, a UAE-based online fashion marketplace. Not surprised?
If you are someone who shops till you drop too often, you have a problem. And if the drop in your account balance is way steeper, you have a more serious problem. Not only have you taken your shopping obsession too far, you have also let it take a toll on your finances. But just like everything else, it’s never too late to hit the stop button and make a fresh start to fix your bank balance. Here are some ways you can kick the shopping addiction and take charge of your personal finances.
Watch your wallet
Yes, you’ve probably heard this one before. To introduce some financial discipline in your life, you need to create a budget and more importantly, stick to it. It’s important to keep track of where your money’s going. If you find pen and paper budgeting too old school, you can always opt for other ways such as excel sheets, notes in your mobile phone or budgeting apps. Noting down all your spends, big and small, will help you evaluate the unnecessary expenses and make cutbacks wherever needed.
Set aside a portion of your monthly income in a separate savings account or fixed deposit, at the beginning of each month. This will leave you with a smaller disposable income, and hence less cash to splurge.
[Related: 5 money management tips for single women]
Break up with your credit card
It’s easy to lose track of your spending when shopping with a credit card. There is a greater tendency to spend using credit cards, 12 to 18 per cent higher than cash purchases, as revealed in a study by Dunn & Bradstreet. So, if you can’t keep a tab on the number of swipes you make, consider leaving your credit card home and pay for your purchases in cash. Falling in the trap of credit card debt means paying hefty amounts in interest of almost 40 per cent average annual APR (annual percentage rate) in the UAE.
Hit the unsubscribe button
Whether it’s the shopping malls, fashion apps, online marketplaces or magazines, give all of them a pass. Fashion websites’ e-newsletters, blogs, offer alerts, etc. can be major distractions, so click the unsubscribe button and curb the temptation. Carry a shopping list along to avoid making impulsive purchases. And if you do fall in love with an item at first sight, walk away and give it a day or two. Let the initial excitement die down and see if you still want it after a couple of days. You might be surprised to see that you don’t fancy the item so much after all.
You can also go on a shopping detox, which means taking a conscious break from shopping to test yourself for a couple of weeks. If you successfully complete the challenge, you can treat yourself with a small purchase, without going overboard and ruining your efforts.
[Related: 4 ways men and women treat money differently]
Inculcate a new hobby
If you think malls are the best place to spend your free time, think again. Loitering in the malls simply out of boredom is not really the best idea. To fix this, look for a hobby or something constructive to do and make a serious effort towards it. Nurture your creative side and ask yourself what really makes you happy. You could join the gym or take the yoga class that’s been on your mind for a while now. Pick a course that can help you advance in your career such as learning a new language, skill, etc. or simply catch up with old friends – there’s a lot you can do that won’t just end up in wasteful expenditure.
Declutter your closet
Do you feel like your wardrobe is bursting at the hinges? If yes, it’s about time you decluttered your closet. Start with one rack at a time and toss aside clothes you don’t need anymore or haven’t worn in a year. You could either give these away in charity or sell them online and recover some money.