Confessions of a Thriftaholic

Tonight Chris and I watched Confessions of a Shopaholic.  In spite of all the humor and the typical romantic comedy happy ending, I find myself obsessing over the money spent by the character in the movie.  She had credit card debt, and continued to spend, all the while being trailed by a debt collector.  It is nearly midnight and I find myself wide awake with something near anxiety.

Sure, some of you are thinking this is crazy.  But those of you may not have a problem like me.  My name is Jackie.  I am a thriftaholic.

I make every laptop last until the dying day (just add more memory and keep it plugged in).  I search the Internet for sales on shoes I have researched so extensively you’d think I was purchasing a car instead.  I am so thrilled about my thrifty purchase of my sports compact I tell my students about it at orientation (fyi, I’m a financial aid counselor) as a lesson about buying everything used.

Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping, but I have kept myself to some serious rules to keep my credit card clean.  So, in the spirit of my blog, here are my rules for shopping practically.  Hopefully, they’ll help someone, too!

Start with a list.
Don’t just go out to go shopping.  Research ahead of time.  Find out what pieces are “trends” and see what pieces will be timeless.  Make a list and stick to it.  Also, like the rule with grocery shopping (don’t go shopping hungry), don’t go shopping when you are just dying to shop – stick to the plan!  Do you need jeans?  Tennis shoes?  Boots?  If not, move on.

Back to front.  Left to right.
I know this because I used to merchandise stores.  I used to make people want to spend.  Start in the back of the store where most of the sales and clearance items will be.  If you find what you need there, you will be less tempted to buy the very similar full price item in the front of the store.  The flow of the traffic in a store is also generally right to left.  Make a point to go left to right.  Impulse buys that get you in the store are on the right.

Google it.
My buddies at Google (I LOVE google.  Don’t get me started.) came up with something fantastic a few years back.  Why not add a shopping feature where one can compare products and prices?  And from a simple Internet connection?  Whoa!  By doing a little bit of research, one could save quite a bit.  Example:  I am eyeing these boots, which I should never buy.  I searched to find them for less on Google.  They ranged in price from $161 with free shipping to $225.  The cheapest store even has a five star rating, and is a subsidiary of

Malls are the plague.
If you are trying to save money and find quality items, malls are not the place to buy.  Sure, some high end stores carry nice merchandise, but I am personally a fan of buying quality items once every few years than buying a mall item every year after it fades, frays or other.  I typically shop online.  This is made easier if you are familiar with how the brand fits.  It doesn’t give the same instant gratification some desire; however, it saves hunting around a crowded mall and lugging the heavy finds back to the car.  Seems like more work to me than the gratification’s worth!  Malls carry trends and not timeless wardrobe pieces.

Keep the tags on for twenty-four hours.  Minimum.
Come home with your purchases and immediately throw the bags in the closet.  Forget about them for a minimum of twenty-four hours.  Try the clothes/shoes on again after the wait period.  Do you still love them?  Were they worth it?  Will this item work with the shoes you thought?  If not, you know what to do.  This will keep impulse buying down and allow your head to cool after the shopping high.  When you get home, you are high – full of carefully selected music, vivid colors, rich smells.  It’s all carefully planned to make you want to spend money.

I hope this helps someone out there.  It kind of helped get my obscene thriftiness of my chest.  Kind of.

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