Is shopping second nature to you? Here’s how you can protect yourself against the biggest overspending danger zones

10 Reasons that drive women to overspend

Full disclosure: The writer is a woman and self-confessed shopaholic. She writes from experience.

Women (and some men) love to shop! There are no two ways about it. There is nothing wrong with shopping if you plan for it and spend wisely. It’s the impulsive (and reckless) shopping that can be your downfall. If not kept in check, it can severely hamper your finances.

Do not worry. Help is on the way. Here are some tips on how to be the boss of your spending:

1) It’s sale time: Women tend to go into overdrive during seasonal sales. Buying decisions range from what they need to what they want to what they may need in future to it just being a steal. This can quickly add up to the loss of large sums of money.

Tip: Don’t buy things just because they are on sale. In fact, approach it the other way around – if you need something, look for it during a sale to save money. 

2) Birthday round the corner: Yes, it is that time of the year. You may want to pamper yourself. You reason with yourself, “I worked hard throughout the year, so I deserve it.” All valid points. You should indulge – but smartly.

Tip: Eyeing a cool phone or a pair of gold earrings? A birthday is a great time to make the purchase. However, put a cap how much you will spend and work towards saving money for it in the months leading to your birthday.

3) Best friend’s wedding: This is dangerous territory. All those visits with your friend to that famous designer and upmarket jewellery stores can definitely take a toll on your Coach wallet. Surrounded by so many pretty things, how can you not be tempted?

Tip: If you have enough sarees, shoes, and jewellery to see you through a reasonably big fat Indian wedding, leave your purse at home. There’s really no need to go shopping. If you crave something exotic, rummage through your mom’s cupboard for that vintage silk saree.

4) Accompanying a friend to the mall: “I’ll just go to mall. I’ll just window shop. I’ll just go inside and take a look. Let me just try it on.” The next thing you know; you are at the billing counter swiping your credit card.

Tip: Avoid going to the mall for no reason. If you absolutely have to go, just look. Do not go beyond that. In fact, make a pact with your friend that under no circumstances should she encourage you or allow you to shop.

5) When nothing seems to be going your way: When depressed, women tend to turn to shopping. Yes, it’s called retail therapy for a reason. It may give you momentary happiness. But if you cannot afford it, having to pay your credit card bill at the end of the month will only give you another reason to be depressed. 

Tip: Find other ways to deal with your stress or depression. Talk to a friend. Build a support network of friends and family that you can turn to. There are healthier ways of dealing with your emotions; shopping is definitely not a solution.

6) Vacation indulgence: Women on vacation tend to shop in the spirit of the holiday. They shop before they leave because they have ‘nothing to wear’; then they shop at their destination because everything looks so exotic and they might not return anytime soon.

Tip: Take a deep breath and ask yourself if you really would wear that necklace made of shells once you are back in the ‘real’ world. If the answer is no, skip it. Don’t spend money on things that will just lie in your closet after the vacation.

7) Ready shopping apps: Shopping apps have made life easy. But they have also created a new generation of shopping addicts. Because buying something online takes only a couple of swipes on the phone, women tend to randomly shop.

Tip: Delete the apps from your phone if you are trying to curb the shopping habit. If you can’t bring yourself to delete them, at least lock them away so they are not constantly in your face. Out of sight, out of mind – or so we hope.

8) Nothing else to do: We have all been there. Sitting idle at home on a Sunday morning means going to the mall or just aimlessly swiping through your phone. These innocent pastimes can eventually harm your credit standing.

Tip: Pick a hobby. Not only will it take up your free time, you will also learn a skill. Spending money to learn new life skills and grow as a person is much better than wasting money to add material things to your closet.

It is easy to get swayed by consumerism after seeing the lives of the rich and famous on social media. That said, being sensible about one’s spending is not too hard. All you need to do is slowly change your mindset. Take small but definitive steps to curb your spending. Follow these tips to help you along. 

Women are both smart and resourceful. There is no reason why they cannot master the art of spending within their limits.