Why I Still Avoid the Mall 1 Year After Becoming Debt Fre

With online shopping, there is no fear of someone watching over my decision making process

In December of 2015, I officially made my last credit card payment and announced to the world that I was consumer debt free! I had paid off over $10,000 of debt in 10 months by avoiding shopping, sticking to a strict budget, and basically becoming a hermit. You live, you learn.

The week that it finally happened I promised myself that as reward for my discipline and hard work, I would buy a new wallet. A nice wallet. A wallet that could hold all of my new money that I no longer had to give to the creditors.

So, after a couple weeks of saving, I went out on boxing day (for the first time in a long time), and I bought myself a Michael Kors wallet for $80.

Now one short year later, I still use the wallet, still love the wallet, and still carry the wallet as a significant reminder of how far I came to get to this point financially.

That day was probably the last time I've been to the mall merely to buy a want and nothing else. It is now February 2017.

MY PAST

Shopping used to be an addiction for me. Every single week would call for a new outfit, regardless of the occasion. I worked at a clothing store to supplement my habits, but I realized that it only made matters worse due to the fact that I was spending my entire paycheck on items before it even made it to my bank account.

I had to quit cold turkey. Even going to the mall was too much temptation and too obvious that I have little to no self control in certain situations.

I couldn’t go into a store without buying something for fear of being judged by the staff.

I was embarrassed to shop on the sale racks because I was worried someone would judge me or *mysteriously* know that my credit card was maxed out.

The mall caused me a lot of anxiety, but also helped to relieve other forms of stress in my life. So I had to find a new way.

The day that I finally decided I needed to take control of my money was the day I decided that I could no longer afford to go shopping at the mall. I put a one-year ban on myself from buying new clothing or makeup (unless absolutely necessary), and I stopped window shopping online as well.

It was an awesome decision, and one I still stick to today.

MY PRESENT

Although I now allow myself to shop online for clothing, I do so to cause damage control before it actually happens. With online shopping, there is no fear of someone watching over my decision making process.

I can put items into my basket, sleep on it, and wake up realizing I don’t actually need anything – I simply wanted them for a brief moment in time – and even the desire and want would subside within 24 hours.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been to the mall in the past year (probably only three times), but I was able to control myself and use my new found financial knowledge to know how to differentiate between needs and wants.

I also now know how to allow myself to purchase an item I want if I can afford it, which I know from experience, telling yourself it’s okay to buy something can be another challenge all in itself.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

My rules?

  • Never go to the mall without first writing out a list of items I want. Take a few hours to review the list, and remove anything that isn’t necessary.

  • Set a dollar amount that I am willing to spend on an item and never allow myself to exceed the budget.

  • If you can wait until the item is on sale, practice patience.

  • Do research online to ensure price comparison isn’t going to make you regret it later!

Avoiding the mall isn’t the only way to save money or pay off your debt, but it certainly helps. The bad habits that were what got you into financial turmoil are usually the last ones you tend to kick, or the reason you finally hit a wall in your personal life.

I’m glad I’ve finally found a way to manage those struggles.

Do you have any bad habits that you’ve had to kick to ensure you can stay on budget and keep on top of your finances? Let me know in the comments!

[mailmunch-form id="443631"]