Whew! I am 1/3 of the way through my home spending hiatus and feeling good. Honestly, it has not been as hard as I thought. I have been able to keep all home spending at bay for 10 days. I have definitely changed several habits to make this possible.
10 Tips to Avoid Unnecessary Home Spending
To stay true to my commitment of eliminating home spending this entire month, I developed several strategies to avoid temptation. Here are the 10 ways I am using to avoid unnecessary home spending:
1. Control the Wandering at Target
I used to take “mommy breaks” and run to Target. I usually went to pick up a necessity, but then took the opportunity to wander and pick up a few non-necessities. To avoid this unnecessary spending I have avoided “mommy breaks at Target. When I do need to go to Target for necessities, I have a list and I only go to certain areas of the store. For example, if I am buying groceries and diapers, I avoid walking through the home section to get to the diapers. Instead, I walk around the front of the store.
This habit has been hard for me to break, because I love Target for home accessories. Especially hard knowing they have The Shops going on again. I have managed 3 trips to Target in the past 10 days and have not purchased any home items, other than toilet bowl cleaner. As much as I would love to skip cleaning toilets for a month, it is kind of a necessity.
2. Skip HomeGoods
I have been avoiding HomeGoods altogether. There is no reason to set foot into a home store if you are trying to control home spending. HomeGoods was another place I used to take my “mommy breaks”. I have gotten some amazing things there I love, but I can count on one hand the number of times I left there with something I needed vs. wanted.
In the future, I will continue to limit my HomeGoods trips. I won’t even go to look, unless I have a purpose. My last trip to HomeGoods before the hiatus was a great example of a purposeful trip. I went to get kitchen drawer organizers and that was all I left the store with. I accomplished that feat by going straight to the kitchen section and then straight to the checkout.
3. Stick to a List
This tip works for controlling all kinds of spending. Stores are designed to make you buy more than you planned. The best way to control spending is to make a list in advance. When you are at the store, stick to the list. Do not deviate. Consult the list often while you are walking through the store to stay focused.
It might seem obvious, but this only works if you don’t write non-necessities on the list. I used to be a master of writing out a Target grocery list with extra items like lamp, towels, etc. Now I carefully plan out my shopping lists in advance and I do not allow myself to add anything to the list that violates my home spending rules.
4. Make a Wish List
A sweet reader shared this idea on my Home Spending Hiatus post. She recommended creating an Amazon wish list. You can add whatever you want to your wish list, but don’t check anything out. After a specified period of time you check back on your wish list and see if you still want the items. Simply remove the items you no longer want. For the items that stick on the list, you can plan to purchase them.
I love this tip for avoiding buyer’s remorse. Ever feel guilty about buying something afterward? That is buyer’s remorse. It usually occurs when you spent too much or bought something you did not need. Often times, the things you have buyer’s remorse about you usually no longer want shortly after purchase. The wish list method can help you avoid buyer’s remorse…no guilt for adding and later removing something from a wish list. Rare chance of guilt over buying something that sticks on your wish list review after review.
5. Remember, There are Always More Sales
Just because it is on sale does not mean it is a good deal. Sales should not dictate where you focus your spending. Anything that goes on sale once will go on sale again. Don’t give into the temptation to purchase an item just because it is on sale.
What I am trying to do is reverse the buy things on sale mentality. Instead of buying something just because it is on sale, I determine what I want to buy, then wait for a sale or coupon.
6. Avoid Sense of Urgency
This sort of goes with #5. Stores specialize in creating a sense of urgency so you buy now, not later. The tactics used to create a sense of urgency include sales, limited quantity (while supplies last), and available for a limited time only. Similar to what I said about sales above, rarely are these a one time event. The item may only be available for a limited time, but the store brings it back for a limited time each year.
Unless a sale, limited quantity, or limited time item fits the criteria of an item you planned in advance to purchase, then avoid the impulse to buy. Spend that money on something else you need or have been planning for.
7. It Will Come Around Again
It can be tempting to think, “I’ll never find anything as amazing again”. But, you will. This mentality usually occurs for limited items, like described in #6 or one-of-a-kind items.
The fact is if you weren’t planning to buy something or don’t need it, it is not that amazing anyway. When the time is right you will find something even more amazing. Save your money for something more amazing.
8. Throw Out the Coupons
You know the ones…the fabric store, the craft store, the bedding store. They all send “great” coupons in the mail. Did you ever notice they send the same coupons all the time or on a schedule? Did you also know you don’t have to use every coupon they send you?
During my home spending hiatus, I have been throwing out all flyers from JoAnns, Michaels, Hancock Fabrics, Buy Buy Baby, and Bed, Bath and Beyond. I don’t need anything for those stores. I do not need to buy anything just because I have a coupon. I am not allowing a coupon for some unbelievable deal to bring me in to the store.
The stores are smarter than the shoppers. They know if they send a coupon good on one item only, chances are you will come in and buy other items at full price. These coupons also coincide with sales (see #5) and creating a sense of urgency (see #6). The best strategy is to ignore these coupons, unless you have been waiting on a coupon to make a planned purchase.
9. Just Don’t Look
I love the online flash sale sites, like Joss & Main and One King’s Lane. They are some of the best at creating sales (see #5) and sense of urgency (see #6). They also add exclusivity to the mix. During my home spending hiatus, I am not even looking at these sites. It would be just as silly as allowing myself to walk into a HomeGoods.
There is nothing wrong with trolling these sites for a great deal on a planned purchase. To avoid unnecessary spending, have very specific criteria of the item you plan to purchase. Do not purchase an item from these sites unless it meets your criteria. Most of these sites do not accept returns. If you make a planned purchase, avoid adding any extras to your cart. When you are not looking for a planned purchase, avoid “window shopping” altogether, which might lead to unnecessary impulse buys.
10. Walk Out Empty Handed
It is okay to go into a store and leave without buying anything. Actually, this is pretty common in shoe stores and clothing stores. You do it all the time when you can’t find the perfect pumps or jeans. Why then does it feel so weird to do it at Target or a home store?
Again, stores are smarter than shoppers. At any stand-alone store, you will notice the check out counters lining the front of the store. This is for more than just security. By putting check out lanes between you and the exit, it makes you feel like you should buy something before you leave. In some stores it is actually hard to get out of the store without going through the check out line.
But, guess what, it is okay to walk out of any store without making a purchase. If you have to, walk out the check out lane empty handed. The first time you do it, it might feel strange. But I promise once you start doing it because you realize don’t have anything you need, it will feel liberating. You don’t owe the store anything. It is okay to look and not spend.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Settle
This is actually my #1 tip, which helps me avoid all kinds of unnecessary spending. If you are simply unwilling to settle, you will ultimately save money. I wrote an entire post on my Don’t Settle philosophy. The home spending hiatus forces me to take a step back, evaluate my spending habits, and think about what I really want. Armed with that information in mind, I won’t settle until I get exactly what I want.
The home spending hiatus is helping me break bad habits. I used to make impulse purchases. I used to shop and buy, because I was bored. I used to regret some purchases later. I did not track my spending closely, but I always felt nervous I was over-spending (and I was). On occasion, I felt I should hide a purchase or sneak it in the house, as to not draw attention to what I was spending money on. These habits and ill feelings led me to start the home spending hiatus.
Only 10 days in and I am feeling so much better! Instead of spending money and buying things I don’t need, I am saving money and getting the value out of things I already own. I am knocking out projects on my to-do list that I already purchased all the supplies for. I deposited an entire paycheck to my savings account. Previously I would have spent most that money on non-necessities. Instead of running out to buy supplies, I am looking through my existing stash and using up the supplies I already have. I am spending more time cleaning and taking care of my home. Since the home spending hiatus started, I am watching my savings grow and loving my home more.