After the fantastic sales this week, how are your finances looking? Did you get a little carried away as you happily clicked your way to a full shopping cart? I’m sure you “saved” so much money that it was totally worth it, at least that’s how I consoled myself as my over-used credit card singed my hand. 😉 Even so, buyer’s remorse is never fun. Trust me, I’ve been there, hiding shopping bags in the trunk of my car because I was ashamed to even bring them in the house or feeling a pit in my stomach as I looked at the receipts overflowing out of my wallet.
Sale shopping is great, but it’s very easy to get carried away. I recently read a post about keeping your summer spending in check on Living Well Spending Less, but really the principles can be applied year round. I love the idea of returning to simpler, most likely cheaper times. Some of my best childhood memories were made (for free) on summer evenings. Today, I love replicating those memories by taking the kids on mini-vacations to visit family. We have all day swim sessions in the lake, followed by s’more gorging contests around the bonfire at night. In the winter, we replace the swim sessions with ice skating, followed by delicious cups of hot chocolate! You don’t always have to spend money to have fun, and purchases made on Amazon don’t usually make the best memories, no matter how great of a deal they are.
If the damage is already done to your credit cards and you’ve already blown your budget, you may need to go on a spending diet. For the next month (or however long it takes to recover from your spending extravaganza), you will need to rework your budget and find ways to cut costs. If you dine out frequently, try staying in and cooking a few more meals a week. You can even bring the leftovers to work instead of scrambling at the last minute to plan your lunch for the next day (and then inevitably dining out at lunch, too). A great post was recently featured on Go Girl Finance with tips to prepare for a spending fast. Remember, a spending diet isn’t forever, but you just may find yourself keeping some of the good habits, even after your spending diet is over.
Sometimes your spending can get exponentially out of control. One summer in college, I had a part-time job working at a department store. My goal was to earn enough to pay for all of my spending the following year in college, but, unfortunately, the department store’s sales got the best of me. I ended up needing to get another part-time job that summer, and another job during the school year, just to pay for my summer shopping extravaganza. There may not be enough hours in the day to work the extra jobs needed to pay off your debt, but every little bit helps. Kristina at Cents and Order wrote a great post about five ways to reduce your debt, and she also compared the different debt payoff strategies (avalanche and snowball).
Sometimes your “savings” from a sale isn’t really a savings, especially if it puts you into debt. Whether you have buyer’s remorse because your savings account is a little smaller or you found yourself overwhelmed and unable to pay for your purchases, it’s possible to dig yourself out. By keeping your spending in check, going on a spending diet, or following steps to get out of debt, you can get back on track!