Fall Fever

Fall is my absolute, favorite season. I love the color, the smell, the weather, the holidays and the food. I’ve heard that people who are pessimistic like fall and people who are optimistic like spring. I don’t feel like a pessimist… but I’m not sure how you can diagnose yourself when it comes to things like that. Anyhow, I’m telling you all this because there is only one aspect of fall that I dislike…

The stores! Every fall I feel the need to empty my wallet (and bank account) buying meaningless decor, gifts, smell-goods, clothes, food, you name it… I want to buy it. And the stores take advantage of helpless shoppers like myself. They make in-store displays extravagant and beautiful. They put out fragrances that are pleasing, festive and cause shoppers to feel good when entering a store. Sure, they do similar things year-round, but for some reason I am hit harder September through November.  I have an endless supply of pumpkins, candles, leaves, and Halloween decor. Do I have a single Easter decoration? No sir! I can’t say that I’d display such items – even if receiving them as gifts.

Do you suffer from a similar illness? Do you want to stop obsessive, autumn buying habits? Well… here’s a couple tips that may be helpful this season – or even during other seasons if you’re a boisterous Easter bunny, passionate Patriot or even Santa Claus’ head elf:

  • Make a list before a trip to the store – and stick to it.
  • Each time you buy new decorations get rid of the old ones. Lots of people can’t afford decor at big-box stores, so help them out by donating your old decor to thrift stores.
  • If you’re grocery shopping go to the grocery store instead of a catch-all store like Walmart or Target. You’ll be less inclined to buy things other than bread, milk and cheese.
  • Take along a friend or relative that is less likely to buy compulsively. I have a good friend who will follow me around the store and ask me “Do you really need that?”. Usually I don’t have a good explanation and end up putting items back. Now, when I go shopping without her I hear her voice in my head…
  • Put yourself on a budget. Go to the store with a specific amount of money in mind and don’t spend a penny over. In the end you’ll thank yourself.
  • Set seasonal items aside. If a week goes by and you haven’t opened the packaging then you probably don’t need to keep it. I’m a big return-er. (Conversely, if you’ve used the item all season, and left the tags or stickers on it… don’t return it! Nothing annoys me more than people who work the system and figure out ways to buy an item for one event, so they can return it later and get their money back.)

Any other ideas let me know! I’m always looking for ways to cut down on excessive spending.

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