Frugal Living Tips: Avoiding Shopping Temptation

I’m a sucker for a lot of things, including, well, SUCKERS. But especially shopping temptation. I’m the person who’s sitting next to the vending machine, trying to win that 25 cent toy before she realizes she’s dumped three bucks into the thing and gotten a couple temporary tattoos. And because I already have REAL tattoos, there’s no point in the fake thing, although my mother would disagree with me. But hey, that’s mom’s for you.

Going to the store to me has historically been challenging. Not because I’m afraid of it or anything, but because I’ll see that adorable set of Hello Kitty cups for my daughter and they’ll sing my name until I buy them for her. Those checkout aisles with the trinkets and candy? Those were MADE for fools like me.

This is a habit that – like it or not (and let’s be honest, I do NOT like it even ONE bit) – that I’ve needed to break for years. YEARS! And through the magical powers invested in Google, I will learn how.

avoiding shopping temptation

I wonder where she got her hat…KIDDING (mostly).

Here’s what I’m learning about avoiding shopping temptation: that extra 30 bucks I spend without blinking my eyes until I see the amount ring up on the cash register:

  • Shopping lists are your friends. Okay, lists are not MY friends because I loathe lists. For some reason, they stress me out (so do fish, but that’s another story.) So I’m going to using my old friend Google Docs (or Google Drive, whatever) so that I can keep a running tally of things I ACTUALLY need and not VEER from the list. Hopefully.
  • Going ’round the outside (of the store, not the trailer park). If I can keep my eyes on the list and go AROUND the sides of the grocery store, which is where the staples like milk, eggs, and butter (mmmm butter) are located, I’ll be better able to avoid temptation.
  • Goes for Show: those red “sale” or “advertised price” signs are there for show. Rather than seeing them and going, “SWEET! A DEAL!” I’ll check the cost of the item underneath to see if that’s an actual sale rather than a clever marketing scheme to catch my eye.
  • Store Endcaps are NOT my BFF: because I tend to believe that the stuff on the endcaps is there because it’s a super sweet Oh Em Gee deal, even though I know better, I will ignore them and see if their price is, indeed, right enough for me.
  • OMG a SALE! Sales are NOT a reason to stock up on stuff I don’t need or stuff that’s off my BLESSED list (I already hate shopping from a list).
  • Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should. If I don’t need 27 new throw pillows? I’m not going to be buying them.
  • It’s okay to pass up a bargain: sale racks make me sweat, and not in a good way. I need to learn to be frugal, not learn how NOT to be frugal! And even if it’s 90% off, if I don’t absolutely need it or it’s not on the list? I don’t want it. Or, rather, I do, but I will avoid the temptation.
  • Don’t go to an all-in-one store. I do my shopping at SuperTarget because it’s cheaper and closer to my home. However, I am entirely aware that they run their grocery store at a loss because hey, I’m in Target and YES! I DID need that pizza cutter, that pullover and those bags of candy!
  • Next up, I’m trying THOSE people out. (insert arrow down) Wish me luck! Budgeting scares the bejesus outta me.

avoiding shopping temptation


What are some ways YOU avoid shopping temptation?

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14 thoughts on “Frugal Living Tips: Avoiding Shopping Temptation

  1. Pingback: Ryan Gosling - Mommy Wants Vodka

  2. lists, lists, and more lists. whether it’s groceries, household items, clothes, or school supplies; lists. don’t deviate from the list. so what if those orange sandals are to-di-for-beautiful. if i already have 5 pairs of orange sandals, then a sixth pair is not a good deal no matter how discounted. if it doean’t fit, fuck it (unless it is a small alteration, like a hem or a tiny nip in the waist.) meal planning, and only straying from it if an alternative is on sale. don’t shop for ANYTHING if I am hungry or sad, because i will buy shit to fill that need. don’t go shopping just because i’m bored, even if i DO need a new suit. i will buy shit when i am nored, just to fill that need. and lists. (i too hate lists, but damn they saved me some money at kroger yesterday.) so, lists, no hungry-shopping, no bored-shopping. that’s my thoughts.

  3. Oh, man, listen to Cindy. In fact, I’m gonna print it out and make about a jillion copies to put everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Because I am *such* a sucker for anything marked clearance. And I have a horrible habit of justifying some purchases with the comforting thought, “Well, it’s not like it’s gonna spoil, so even though I don’t need it now, I can just set it aside for when I *do*, and then I will have gotten it at a bargain price.” Except by the time I need it, I’ve forgotten where I put the bargain version, and still go back to the store for the full-priced version.

    Or I end up with 4 – yes, 4 – cartons of salt because (a) I forgot I had bought it, and (b) it was on salt. Who the hell needs 4 cartons of salt?

  4. You know what the good thing about lists is? If you are busy trying to figure out if you’ve gotten everything on your list, you don’t have much time to look at other stuff. When you actually have to look for stuff in the aisles instead of wandering through and tossing whatever catches your fancy in your cart, it becomes much more of a mental challenge. Then you don’t have the time or energy to look at other stuff.

    Don’t forget to stay away from the stuff around the registers!

  5. Here’s the number one thing that helps me: go through your cart when you’ve gotten everything in there and really ask yourself if you need it. I don’t care if you put it back in the right place or not, but put it BACK if you can live without it!!

    I’ve also, when money was REALLY tight, stopped and added up the amounts of everything in my cart to make sure I was shopping according to budget.

  6. That crap at the registers is also put there for ME! I say that all the time. I buy crap just because it is on sale….I totally could have written this. Except? I heart lists!! I always have a list for something, often two or three. Heck, I make lists OF my lists. They do distract me, but I still am a sucker for a red tag or a clearance rack! This is going to help me….I am going to use these tips. Thanks Aunt Becky….you got this giiiirrrllll….

  7. Decision fatigue.
    The real reason why it’s hard to make sensible decisions. When you have made a million choices before breakfast, how the heck do you expect to make sensible choices in the grocery store?

    It even explains why it’s even harder for the poor to make the obviously “right” decisions.

    Tricky bit is to reduce the number of decisions, so you have the willpower left when you really need it…

  8. Amen to the lists. ‘Cause I am such a sucker for the emails that promise me 25% off at this store or 30% off at that store AND free shipping. Because I MUST USE THESE COUPON CODES. Or the coupon codes will expire a horrible death and it will be ALL MY FAULT. Or something? Gah.

    But having lists of what I/my family really and truly need (not want) helps. Mostly. And not just grocery lists, but lists of things to purchase (short-term and long-term). Like snow pants for the kids. Or a vacuum filter (sexy, huh?). And now Christmas presents. And I prioritize and see what I can actually manage each month (and sometimes trying to plan out purchases ahead of time so that I don’t have to buy all the things in one month).

    I also track every purchase I make (in a list, of course). So I see where I’m spending my money. It helps keep me honest.

  9. Well, I shop year round. I start the day after Christmas and buy from the sales racks. So far I have gotten a fnidres children all matching Christmas pj’s for dirt cheap and most of my children’s Christmas. Just today I bought my youngest two a snorkel and mask set for 1.50 each. My oldest has two new pairs of baseball pants for less than 1 pair during baseball season. It doesn’t affect the budget as much and gives me an excuse to shop. =)

  10. Pingback: Confessions of a Stress Shopper | Life On The Frugal SideLife On The Frugal Side

  11. Pingback: Frugal Living Tips: Holidays On A Budget - Life On The Frugal SideLife On The Frugal Side

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