Save. Spend. Splurge.

Curbing my temptation to shop: How I’m dampening my enthusiasm

Aside from the fact that every time I think: I want……, my net worth graph flashes before my eyes and the temptation (for the most part) fades away.


Just the other day, I needed to mail a letter and pick up something small at a drugstore.

I was just about to spend $5.20 on a round trip to go downtown, even though there was a post office about 3 blocks away that I could easily walk to and back for free 😉

What my subconscious REALLY wanted, was to go downtown under the guise of mailing this letter so that I could also window shop and see what was new in the stores.

Tsk tsk.

(Also, my subconscious had seen this really nice white blazer as I was strolling through the mall the other day.)

Standing there in the snow, I had a flash of my goals for the month, and I decided I would not give in to temptation, and I walked to that post office, where I ONLY mailed that letter, squashed a few more temptations in the aisle, and only bought the ONE THING I needed.

Saved $3 buying it too 😉

What I would have spent had I not stopped myself:

  • $5.20 = Bus tickets for a round trip
  • 3 hours which includes travel & window shopping
  • $50 – $100 on whatever caught my eye, or WORSE! 😐
  • $35+ at Sephora…

Total Potential Damage: $140

You get the idea.

(Okay, let’s be honest.. $200 on whatever catches my eye. So I saved myself $ 240 then :P)

Instead, I spent a grand total of $12, which I would have had to spend anyway, sending a registered letter and buying some envelopes at the dollar store nearby.

*pats self on back*


I’m also doing things like thinking about how long I can let my haircut go for (coming up on its 5th month), and whether or not I should really spend money on a haircut or not.

I booked the appointment and budgeted $80 because it had been 5 months already, and I thought I needed a trim.

Then I cancelled the appointment and saved myself $80.

Why? Because I don’t really need a haircut.

I washed my hair the other day and realized it looks just as good as it is, in fact it looks like I just got a trim.

Who says you need to trim your hair every 3-6 months!?

I don’t blow dry, style, dye or do anything to my hair, so I can go longer, like every 9 – 12 months in between haircuts.

Update: And now? I cut my own hair and it looks awesome, thankyouverymuch.

Just look at my awesome bedhair I woke up with one morning below:


The very nice and just-nice-enough $300 size 6 suits I had, simply did not fit perfectly any more.

I am a size 2/4 now, and the jacket still looks all right because I have broad shoulders, but the pants are VERY loose around the waist, like triumphant-weight-loss commercial loose.

I was thinking of budgeting for a new suit, but I ended up just belting it tighter and trying to smooth out the excess, belted fabric evenly around my waist.

Voila. $300 saved.

Then I went to a tailor later, took in the skirt and pants, and for $100, I have a new suit.

Why NOT invest in a suit?

It’s because I rarely .. okay scratch that, I NEVER EVER wear suits to work.

I’ve never had to work in a formal business environment, and therefore, my suits only get dusted off for the once-every-3-years-or-longer interviews.

Therefore, why spend $300 on one day? They probably don’t care that much.. and if they did, they might feel sorry enough to give me more money to buy a better suit next time 😛

(It’s like when you watch those wedding shows and girls want to spend $10,000 on a custom-made designer wedding gown for one day. Why?!? :P)

I would rather spend that money on a practical pair of mid-calf boots to wear under my trouser suits in colder weather — it’d be warmer than wearing heels, and the pants won’t catch under as your foot slides out of your heels when you’re climbing stairs.


This has been happening more often than before.

I’m exercising my willpower.

For anything that is not a necessity for my life, all I have to do is think about my net worth goals for the year, and realize that the money is better spent being saved and/or invested rather than spent on yet ANOTHER dress I don’t really need.

I’d rather spend it on traveling and high quality pieces.


  1. Don’t buy anything for 72 hours. Wait on it. — I just want it more when I can’t have it…
  2. Give yourself a budget (har har) :), or at least like I do, stare at your budget constantly to remind yourself
  3. Let yourself buy ONE thing a month, not 10 things
  4. Don’t even go into any shops to be tempted in any way — this works best on me
  5. Don’t go online and unsubscribe from all mailing lists
  6. Buy a bunch of things, get the rush, and return it once you come back to reality — Terrible I know, but effective….
  7. Make your chosen items duel it out between in-store and your closet items at home — I LOVE THIS dueling concept 🙂

Each time I think: OOOO!, then my net worth chart comes to mind, and I struggle to not even put myself in the position of being near a store to see ANYTHING that would catch my eye.

If I don’t see it, I can’t want it… right?

RIGHT!? 🙂 Right.


  • Jeannie

    I kind of do the ‘dueling method’. I wear something nice from my own closet to go shopping, so if the item I want in store doesn’t look better than what I have on, then I’m not buying it. Also, it really helps to not go browsing in store or online. Out of sight, out of mind.

  • Sense

    Oh gosh. These are great!

    I have so many of these psychological tricks up my sleeve. I have had to develop them to suit my various income levels and budgets over the past few decades.

    When I was in college, my income and savings were so tiny that I simply couldn’t allow myself to put anything on credit cards that I couldn’t afford to pay back immediately. My will power was unparalleled!! In grad school, I had a small stipend but spent a lot of $$ on moving halfway across the world. Additionally, I started putting airfare to see my family twice a year on credit cards. To me, it was a necessary expense (and one I am grateful I made, because half of my family has now passed away). However, all of that put me in pretty major debt and I had to really watch my day-to-day spending. I wasn’t on the budget/PF bandwagon yet, but, other than airfare, I still had a pretty frugal mindset, resulting from my college days. This was before internet shopping was a thing, so, to scratch my shopping itch, I would go to stores, pull items I wanted–whatever I wanted; what a luxury to not have to think about money for once!!–try any clothes on or dream of life having said item, and then, when I got tired/my shopping itch was alleviated, abandon the cart in the middle of the store and walk out, having spent nothing.

    Also, once, I bought an SLR camera (again this was before digital), played with it for a half day, and then returned it to the store the next day after my buyer’s remorse kicked in.

    I am ashamed that I made so much extra work for store employees and businesses, but I felt like this was the only way I could control myself and my temptations. It is crazy what lengths we will go to, and how spoiled we are with shopping that we sometimes can’t even help ourselves!!

    Nowadays I pile up and choose everything I want in an Amazon shopping list over time and buy it once a year. This serves many purposes: a. it is cheaper for these items than in NZ, b. it gives me time to really think and review if I actually need each item I throw into my cart and c. it gives me time to save up for that spending. I do well with my shopping urges, though–probably just 1 out of every 10 items gets thrown out by the time I go to buy what is on my list.

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