Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Now this should be a no-brainer. You should already be thinking the answer in your head.
The easiest way to not spend your money is to not go shopping in the first place!
I have to do a little admission here, I love to shop. A few years ago when I was at home with the kids, when we were bored, we headed to the mall. And you know kids, they don't want to leave any store without something. It doesn't matter what store it is either, they must have something in a bag. I think Limited Too knows this. Mom's shopping for little girls, might have little boys with them at the time. So why not stock tons of expensive candy by the register. Both boys and girls like candy! I wish I could calculate how much junk I have bought from that display for my two boys. Actually, I wish I had that money back.
Dollar stores in the mall are another kid hot spot. What Mom hasn't shut their kids up with, "Go ahead and pick just one thing." It is only a dollar right? Those dollars add up, the more you shop at the mall, the faster it adds up. How much have you spent at the dollar store in the last year...on junk. We all know it will fall apart before it even makes it into the house. So just stop buying it in the first place!
There are some free things to do at the mall. Our small local mall has a pet store in it. This pet store has been at this mall since I was a little kid in the 70's. Recently they finally upgraded their spot and upgraded their look. Now it is wonderful to sit outside their windows and look at the doggies. (Insert How much is that doggie in the window song here) All the children love to look at the puppies. And I can easily walk away not buying anything at that store.
Our mall also has a kids climbing play area. Please, please, please if you take your child to one of these, make them wear their socks. It is absolutely disgusting to watch kids playing in there with bare feet. I would rather them wear their shoes than go barefoot. These areas do provide lots of free run around burn off your energy time. And the benches so we can sit and watch are great too. If you tend to think they are as disgusting as I do, just remember to bring along hand sanitizer for when they are done playing.
My daughter and I also enjoy trying free samples at the bath stores. Just be sure they are samples that you don't just stick your finger into. They need to have sample sticks that are thrown away after each use. I found this out the hard way in high school, when I came down with pink eye the next day. Free squirts of perfume and lotions are always a nice treat too. Make sure not to go overboard with the scents, you will get a headache pretty fast.
Check for other stores that routinely have samples of their goods. The Mall of America has a cheese store that gives out cheese samples. You don't even have to go into the store, just walk by and grab a sample. I really don't like a plain chunk of cheese, but they have the yummiest varieties, their bacon apple cheese is the best. Always be on the lookout for samples.
Check the bigger anchor stores for their cosmetics make-overs. You can often get mini make-overs for free, and don't be afraid to ask for samples of the products they are using on you. Once again be sure they are using sample sticks!
But wasn't this post supposed to be about NOT going shopping? I got a little side tracked there.
I have found the easiest way for me personally to not go shopping is to be at work all the time :) I can't go shopping when I am now working during the day. It kills my daughter not to be able to hang at the mall. But her time will come when she can drive there herself in a few years.
Seriously, the last time I went shopping (except for Christmas presents) was to buy boots and snow pants at Fleet Farm. Not very glamorous, but that is all we ended up buying. I go grocery shopping once every week, to once every other week, depending on if we need anything or not. I figure I am saving money by not shopping, and I am making extra money by working so much over time right now. Thank goodness for wonderful husbands who help take care of the children so much!
Now go think about your shopping habits. Do you go shopping when you are bored? Do you make a list and stick to it? Are you shopping on an empty stomach? Are you easily loured into impulse buys? Think about it, and you could save you hard earned money.
A blog about living within your means in todays world, while being married, raising three kids, working full-time, and trying not to go crazy in the process.