3 Times When You Should Not Be Shopping

Shopping

Happy? Go shopping!

There’s a good time to go shopping and then there are times when it’s probably a bad idea.

Good times…

You should buy a car at the end of the month, late in the day. You should buy your winter coat in the Spring. You should shop for airline tickets on Tuesdays.

But there are also times when it might not be best to break out the credit card, regardless of the season, day, or time.

Avoid Shopping When You’re Sad

It’s called retail “therapy” for a reason. People buy more when they are sad. The studies show it. A broken heart needs a new pair of shoes. An unfilled void needs a new flat screen TV. When you’re sad, your defenses are down and you’re only thinking about your immediate self and meeting those short-term needs. Don’t spend when you’re sad.

Avoid Shopping When You’re Hungry

Apparently the hunger rule doesn’t just apply to grocery shopping or dining out. A growling stomach can lead to overspending of all types. The next time you head out to do some shopping make sure you’re working with a full stomach. Don’t be a hungry shopper.

Avoid Shopping When You’re Angry

When you are angry, you are apparently more prone to throw caution to the wind and make purchases or financial decisions that you normally wouldn’t. Being angry gives you an overly-optimistic attitude (think “what the hell!”) towards purchases. This attitude can lead to making risky financial moves. It can also lead to you hitting me with your cart. So stay away from the mall (and your online broker) when you are mad.

Don’t forget! In most cases you can make returns and right the wrongs that you’ve committed against your finances during your moment of weakness.

More Money Rules

money rulesThese three tips came from the new book from Today show’s Jean Chatzky, called Money Rules. Money Rules is a collection of 94 rules that Jean has compiled, which, if followed, will lead to a “lifetime of financial security and eliminate most, if not all money stress”.

The rules are divided up into seven parts: Make Money, Save Money, Avoid (Most) Debt, Spend Wisely, Invest for Tomorrow, Cover Your Assets, Do’s and Don’ts (some of those categories sound familiar, don’t they?). Each rule is no longer than two or three paragraphs. You could literally read the book in twenty minutes.

You could also consume the book over several months, one rule at a time, while you’re enjoying your morning coffee or waiting in line at the store. Or you could simply use the book as a reference to occasionally check your financial life against best practices. The rules are spot on and not at all the fluff or typical advice you would expect from a high-level compilation book like this.

The only thing I find that I don’t like about this book is the price tag. It’s list price is $12.99. You can find it on Amazon.com for slightly less in paperback and ebook, but this really should be available in ebook for for $2 or $3.

So, have you ever found yourself shopping when you were angry, sad, or hungry? Did you end up buying something you regretted?

Image by Andy Hay

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Last Edited: April 24, 2012 @ 10:11 am
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

8 comments
Teresa Deckert Taylor
Teresa Deckert Taylor

only every time I buy something...it's a sickness, I'm sure.I think my love of returning things is why you married me.

JeffreyCrews
JeffreyCrews

Definitely fell victim to the "hunger rule" today. Went to the grocery store and suddenly everything looked good. One thing I have come to find out is that just because it says, "Buy One, Get One" doesn't mean it is always a good deal!

Joci
Joci

A rule I follow is I refuse to pay fees for something I can get free! Example, I pay my electric bill through checking account vs. paying with debit/credit and getting charged a fee. And i refuse to use ATMs out of my credit unions network to avoid those fees.

Grigory
Grigory

Oh come on, everybody shopped while hungry at least once. :) In my case, it usually results in a few cheap impulse groceries like pastries.

Annie
Annie

Hi PT,  I think it is also bad to shop when you are bored!  Our situation has been difficult, and I've had to cut way back on everything, and at first I didn't think I could do it, but now, I meal-plan, shop with a list, don't use coupons for things I wouldn't buy in the first place, and read books from the library.  I also stay away from the mall, and I find I don't even miss it!

Philip Taylor
Philip Taylor moderator

I agree, Annie. Boredom can lead to purchasing something just to fill the time. Good for you for taking control of your spending and being intentional about your finances.

Quizzle
Quizzle

@ptmoney I can't imagine life without shopping :)

ptmoney
ptmoney

@Quizzle Mrs. PT says "ditto".