Trying to Save Money? Avoid Shopping for “Entertainment”

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

There’s an interesting pattern I’ve noticed. The busier I am, the more money I’m able to save and the higher my bank account balance. Unless your busyness includes spending money, less idle time equals less time to spend your hard-earned dollars. Sometimes this is a problem, because I really need something but don’t have the time to shop for it (this is when I most appreciate the convenience of online shopping).  But most of the time, I don’t seem to be missing anything, and I find myself in a better financial position.  While I hope that I’m not always as busy as I seem to be now, there are definitely some advantages of not having enough time to shop idly.

By ‘shop idly’, I mean shopping for leisure or entertainment. In our culture, it seems like shopping has become yet another hobby, pastime, way to relax, or thing to do when you’re bored. Technically, there’s nothing wrong with shopping just for fun, except for the following facts:

  1. Shopping for entertainment is virtually impossible to do without buying something…unless you have really good self control.
  2. It follows that shopping as a pastime usually results in unnecessary spending.
  3. To fund that unnecessary spending, you may be persuaded to use store credit cards (for the convenience, of course) and accumulate credit card debt.

I didn’t realize what a huge impact not shopping idly had on my finances until months when I virtually shopped only for necessities such as groceries and toiletries. I’m not a shopaholic, by any means, but simply cutting out (by the necessity of time, in this case) extra spending even on little items I didn’t need but somehow ended up buying anyway, had an impact on my ability to do other things with my money.

For instance, since I hadn’t spent extra money on un-budgeted or just unnecessary items, my husband and I had more money for a bigger household item we’d been needing, were able to make a bigger car payment that month, or transferred more funds to our savings. We would have been just fine if I’d spent more, but because I’d spent less, we were able to do more.

Cutting down the amount of time you spend shopping, even if it’s difficult at first, will make an impact on your finances. You may think you have great self-control and will be fine “just looking.” But inevitably, an item you really want will be a too-good-to-be-true price, and you won’t be able to pass up the opportunity. If you hadn’t shopped, you wouldn’t have known about it, and you wouldn’t be missing anything! If you find yourself shopping just because you’re bored, find other things to do that won’t put you at risk for unnecessary spending.

Vacation is a particularly hard time not to shop for entertainment. I’ve ended up spending more than I intended on more than one vacation, only to get home and realize I didn’t really need what I bought or could have purchased it much cheaper. Focus your vacation around sight-seeing, experiences, and activities that won’t allow for too much idle shopping. If you want to buy souvenirs, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth — remember that many items in a tourist shop are cheaply made and overpriced.

Shopping is not a bad thing, and neither is enjoying yourself while you’re shopping. There is simply a danger to spend unnecessarily on items you don’t need, will never miss, and may never even use. So shop wisely and carefully, but mostly, shop by utility and not for entertainment.

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: