How I Quit My Spending Habit Postbaby

Photo: Veer / The Bump
Photo: Veer / The Bump

Oh, retail therapy.

Since the beginning of my first pregnancy, I’ve done a complete turn-around in the type of shopper (and, really, person) I am. In my former days, I would go shopping for enjoyment, not because I actually needed anything.

Walking around the stores with bright prints, fun music, pretty beaded baubles and shoes with sweet little bows on them just made me happy. Being able to try on a multitude of different outfits and see what I’d like to purchase was half the fun — spinning in circles in the dressing room, observing and scanning every inch of the outfit to be sure it looked up to my standard.

I’d spend hours at local shops or at a few trendy malls in our area. A belt here, a sweater there, a necklace there, as well! I watched the prices and the money I was spending… sure… as it left my wallet!

I wasn’t concerned in the least about putting that extra $50 away. I had a savings account. I didn’t have any major bills except my rent. I had a good job. So, I shopped to feel good.

But once I had my first child, everything changed. My extremely hard-working self — the same person who had gone to college for six years, and who had tutored students throughout my master’s degree to pay for tuition — just wanted to cuddle up all day long to my new baby son. I wanted to sit and stare into his beautiful little eyes for hours, and ignore any call to working anywhere!

I realized that if I wanted more time at home with my son, I was going to have to save every penny I could. And, in the past few years, I have progressively been able to drop my hours from full-time to part time. But, it hasn’t been easy, and changing my shopping habits has been one of the number one ways that I’ve succeeded. So, what did I do?

#1.  Don’t even go to the store. Seriously. Stay the heck away from the mall! When you’re there, you’re going to be so much more tempted to buy something than if you went somewhere else to occupy your time, like the park. I promise you, you don’t need to ‘browse’ the stores for enjoyment or fun. It only leads to spending.

#2.  Pay for clothes in cash. I have found that the only way I keep my shopping in line is if I only bring cash to the store. I give myself a budget, and just bring that amount. (Don’t even dare to pull out that credit card!) That way, I know what I need, and I really do only  have a limited amount of money to spend.

#3.  Broaden your horizons. There are plenty of resale shops and gently used clothing shops that still have very stylish options for lower prices than retail. And H&M and Target aren’t so bad either.

#4.  Buy classic pieces. Scarves and belts are pretty popular right now. Switch them up to completely change the look of a simple pair of jeans, white t-shirt and gray sweater. Something fairly simple can go from plain to fabulous with just a few affordable accessories.

What are some tips and tricks you’ve learned to cut back on spending?