My Two Cents: 8 Tips That’ll Save Any Shopaholic

I, Simcha Whitehill, am a recovering shopaholic. It all started back in the day, when I was a suburban mall rat. My BFF in middle school lived a block from the indoor bonanza. (Coincidence? I think not!) By high school, I had to get an after-school job at a real estate office just to support my Contempo Casuals habit. And although I no longer crave pleated minis, knee socks, and Mary Janes, my taste for choice fashion has just grown up with me. However, despite what I thought back when I was a kid, I didn’t turn out to be a millionaire. But that doesn’t mean I don’t always try to look like a million bucks. I’ve just developed tactics to trick my inner shopaholic from charging me into Chapter 11. Here’s how I’ve managed to stay outta debt, but still kept my belly and my closet full.

  1. Own Only One Credit Card: Especially when you have a spending problem, those special store credit cards that give you 10 percent off your first purchase are really tempting. But it’s just one more card to easily forget to pay the bill on, then you’re stuck with the interest and the APR is totally whack. The tough love truth is, if you need or even really just want that little discount, you can’t afford to be buying the stuff in the first place.
  2. Color Me Bad: My biggest cash and time saving tip is: limit the number of colors you wear. If you wear the whole dang rainbow, you’re stuck constantly searching for an outfit full of matches for each item you buy. If you wear a few colors — like my faves, red, black and white — you can mix, match and maximize your wardrobe easily. Hey, it’s what all the designers do too!
  3. Don’t Bring Your Credit Card While Shopping: Only cash and your debit card should be in your purse. That way, if you see something and you want to buy it, you’ll have to put it on hold, sleep on it, then go back the next day to pick it up. This whole process will help you realize if it’s really worth it to you.
  4. Bag It Up: Keep all your new purchases with receipts in the bag. Store all those bags in one place. If you don’t go to wear or use that item in 25 days, you don’t need that piece. Return it! Hey, it’s better than winding up with a closet full of stuff with tags still on it.
  5. Consign: At the beginning of each new season, when you’re getting ready to buy a bunch of new crap, get rid of the stuff you didn’t really wear last year. It’ll also help you clean out your closet and get some cash for new stuff you’ll use. Just make sure you try to sell the right clothes with the right season; otherwise, you’re just wasting your time. No one is buying winter garb in June.
  6. Learn To Sew: Crafting your own wardrobe really doesn’t save money, but it will make you truly value each piece and get you going crazy creative. Instead of spending all this time looking for the perfect item, you can just make whatever you’ve been dreaming of.
  7. Get A Piggy Bank: Put all the change you get back from a purchase aside. Every day, empty your purse of change, put it in your little bank and soon, as you fill and refill that pig, you’ll have some serious cash put away. Cha-ching! But it’s not there for next season’s must-have Marc Jacobs bag; it’s savings.
  8. Go Pro! Get a retail job, even if it’s just a couple nights a week or just Saturdays. Once you make it your job, the allure of shopping around all the time will wane. Work for your favorite store and you’ll really enjoy the discount! No to mention, you’ll make friends with a bunch of fellow shopaholic coworkers and have first dibs on the cool stuff when it comes in. Now that’s a triple bonus!

Photo: iStockphoto

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