In Budgeting, Money, Shop Quality Series, Shopping, Style

Shop Quality Series: How to trick yourself into shopping less – Effective, real-life, tried and true ways from a former shopaholic

This is part of the Shop Quality Series.

I am a former shopaholic, and I like various styles, personas, and with various pieces, I always get inspired by what I see on Instagram or Pinterest, and want to recreate it EXACTLY AS IS.

So trust me, I know how you feel. My shopping and style budget has been bananas over the years – you can see my budget roundups here.

One-In One-Out Rule

One item comes in? One goes out. Sell it, donate it, give it away.. whatever it is, if you buy something new, something old has to go.

So what goes? Make things do battle in your head when you think about what you want to bring home.

Is that new dress coming into the closet? What is leaving then?

Watch your hanger usage

When I run out of hangers, I stop buying and have to start culling. Simple as that.

Unsubscribe from all the shopping emails

All of the store emails you get? Telling you BOGO this, or discount that?

UNSUBSCRIBE. Don’t even blink twice.


Don’t even get tempted

Avoid going into stores, avoid browsing online, just avoid shopping malls.

This one has been quite effective because every time I go into a store or browse online, I AM SURE to find something I like. It is very easy.

The best strategy is just not to go in, especially without a plan or a budget.

Buy secondhand

It is much harder to find your items secondhand in your size, your colour, a fabric you want, etc. Secondhand adds a layer of complexity, and a challenge to your shopping.

I find lots of wonderful things secondhand, but I also have a budget for that shopping as well. I go into thrift stores, and I am very picky between quality, the fit, the feel, just as if I was paying full price.

Shop your closet

Instead of buying something new or looking for it, look inside your closet – what can you use instead? Can you wear something similar?

Can you re-create the outfit with the same style and look with what you have in your closet? It is a wonderful challenge and makes you think of new combinations if you are really into styling and fashion the way I am.

The style maven in me loves this, and I also get to see orphan items in my closet that I can’t seem to make work, or gaps that are missing that I need to fill in with other items.

Set a fixed budget and stick to it – it’s a challenge

I set a budget of $200, found it tight, and moved it up to $225 for all fun/miscellaneous spending. I am so incredibly happy I did it because I see it now as a challenge.

I try very hard to stay under my budget, I am careful when I spend even $5 from my budget to buy a piece of cake to eat because I know I will have less money for the rest of the month.

You become extremely creative after a while, and are more willing to do without if you know you have work dinners coming up and you want to get a nice meal to enjoy yourself, so you scrimp a little.

I also go to restaurants, and I don’t take drinks, just water, but I’ll splurge on a much nicer/bigger meal rather than trying to take the cheapest item on the menu. I make tradeoffs and sacrifice between having an appetizer and a main meal, or just a really great main meal.

I do the same when I shop – do I want a cute top, or do I want to just save that money and buy something else that is more expensive that I’ll get more use out of?

Think quality over quantity

One amazing $500 coat is better than five $100 crap coats from fast fashion retailers.

Quality is worth it, and resale is better. Imagine selling a Burberry versus 5 coats from Zara. Which one do you think you’ll get more money out of?

Hope it helps!

I have gone from spending almost $14,000 a year JUST on clothing at the peak of my wild shopping days down to under $3000.

I have been tracking my spending over the years, and it hasn’t been pretty. You can see the years when I have been working – I clearly spent like crazy.

2009 $3,128.93
2010 $4,099.72
2011 $6,257.49
2012 $10,133.47
2013 $11,485.87
2014 $4,060.72
2015 $9,652.10
2016 $6,623.11
2017 $13,454.30
2018 $13,853.04
2019 $2,984.24

Now, with these above strategies, I’m bringing myself back down to reality.


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Want more? This is part of the Shop Quality Series.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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