Contributed by Stephanie J.

Many years ago, when I entered a store I felt obligated to buy something.  I had a huge wardrobe and people often commented on how I never wore the same thing twice. But all that shopping added up leaving me with little in savings or retirement plans and I was racking up debt. While I was aware of this, I still had trouble controlling myself when I went shopping.  I had a few excuses that were difficult to overcome until I changed my perspective.

It’s such a great deal/But it’s on sale.   Yes, getting a $200 top for $45 is a great deal. Look at how much you save.  The thing is, if you don’t buy it at all, you will save even more money.  The big deal is a big draw and stores know this, just look at Groupon, SocialLiving and all of their competitors.  I broke this habit by asking myself a few questions before buying: Do I really need it? Is $45 in my budget this week?  Invariably my answer is “No” and each time I leave a store without buying, I feel pretty good about myself.

I deserve it.   We all deserve great things.  I do work hard for my money and I do deserve a reward.  But, do I deserve to waste my money? Calculate how many hours of hard work it costs to pay for the item. So if this $45 top means you had to work really hard for three hours, is it worth your time?  Is there some other way to reward yourself that doesn’t require spending money?  I found that when I was unhappy at my job, I spent more.  It was passive aggressive and only hurt me. Doing this helped me

But it’s the holidays/my birthday/a wedding.  Yes the occasion is special and you should celebrate it but, is a new $200 dress with $100 shoes a good way to celebrate?  Do you need to buy lavish gifts for everyone during the holidays?  How else can you appreciate the moment?  Think back to the last wedding you attended or your last birthday party.  What do you remember, your clothes or the people you were with?

But I might need this for …  I was a big spender on clothes for my imaginary life.  I dreamed of a lifestyle of going out and partying because it seemed so glamorous, even though it wasn’t necessarily something I was actually doing.  What I really wanted was to spend more time with friends and to go out more.  So I started making trips and excursions around the city and invited lots of people.  I got to go out and spend time with friends which is what I really wanted not the illusionary life I was imagining. Appreciate who you are and where you are in life now.

I’ve been so good lately.  When I did stick to my budget I thought I needed a reward. Then I would go shopping and all of my savings would disappear.  I also would restrict myself so much that I would rebel and go on a big splurge.  Set a savings goal and a spending goal. If you get to save up $300 allow yourself to spend $30.

I’ve already spent so much.  Well after I had that splurge I said it is too late now, I might as well keep going.  I treated myself like a lost cause.  Forgive yourself.  So I had a set-back, that is okay as I am trying to change.  Change is not immediate.  Forgive yourself and try to figure out what triggered it (feeling sad, being yelled at by boss, etc).  Then set up a plan for the next time it happens so you can be prepared.  If you feel sad, call a friend instead of using retail therapy.

Which of these shopping excuses do you use?  What shopping excuses have we missed? We invite you to comment in the box below.