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MONEY | Cures for the shopaholic

Whwen common sense goes buy-buy

Such a deal? Hardly. Dont let impulse purchases destroy your budget.


The Kansas City Star

You walk into the store to buy a couple of things but wind up purchasing a cart full. Sometimes you score some true bargains things you need at a good price. But often you just sigh and wonder, What possessed me to buy all this stuff?

The occasional unplanned purchase probably wont wreck your budget. But consumers who regularly buy on impulse, especially if they pay with credit cards, can dig themselves deeper into debt.

How to avoid impulse shopping? The only thing you can do is walk away, says Philip Kay, a Kansas City-based counselor with Credit Counseling Centers of America.

Make sure you need what you want to buy and can afford what you want to buy, Kay says. Be able to pay it off within a month and not get into a credit card problem.




Maintain a shopping list and take it with you every time you shop.

Stick with cash or debit cards so you dont spend money you dont have.

Read weekly sales circulars so you can stock up on items you regularly use at a good price.

Delay purchases, especially of big-ticket items. If you miss the big sale, there will be another. Or you might decide you dont really want the item.

Ask yourself whether you truly want the latest (fill in the blank) or just feel entitled to it because everyone else has it.

Keep in mind that the hot new electronic item will keep getting cheaper. And better.

Make sure you have space in the refrigerator, freezer, cupboard or closet for your purchases. Bargains should never create clutter.



Shop when youre hungry, especially for groceries. Hunger and fatigue cloud your judgment.

Shop as a hobby.

Buy things you dont need just because theyre on sale or you have a coupon.

Buy more of something than you can use before it goes bad, even at a bargain-basement price.

Overstock your inventory. Dirt cheap though they may be, how many white shirts or black turtlenecks do you really need?

Wander into store departments where you dont need anything.

Be lured by a sale price if you must pay for the item with a credit card. Once you factor in interest, the savings may not be so great.