10 Tips to Stop Shopping

After reviewing our budget for the last year, one thing is clear - I need to spend less. So that will be my resolution in 2018 to cut out all spending on non-essentials. It will be a challenge to change my addiction to reading emails, feeds and facebook - but it will be worth it when I can add up our spending at the end of next year. That is the carrot on the stick.


But to achieve this goal will require changes, which have begun already. Here  are ten easy painless tips to stop shopping next year:
  1. Unsubscribe from all emails from retailers. Lucky for us, almost all emails contain a tiny little link on the bottom to unsubscribe from their email list. If they don't have a link, I just tag them as JUNK and hopefully it won't clutter my mailbox. Some companies state it may take a week to remove you from the list but it shouldn't happen. I happen to have a lot of emails all dump into one email box so I get multiples of some emails. You need to unsubscribe from each separate email. Its best to do this when you are feeling motivated to quit shopping online, just unsubscribe even if you are afraid of missing a deal, if its good enough you'll find out about it some other way.
  2. If unsubscribing isn't getting all your emails, you can use a free service call https://unroll.me/ and it will review your emails and you can unsubscribe with one link.
  3. Remove feeds from bloggers that promote shopping, spending and deals. I log in to Feedly every day and get hundreds of website update feeds. By unfollowing deal bloggers you will find you don't spend nearly as much time reading about deals and being tempted to spend money.
  4. Discard all mail from retailers - catalogs, postcards, flyers, circulars and deals. Don't even read them, straight into the garbage they go.
  5. Do not go to stores. Part of the no spending effort, also involves no shopping. Don't go just to watch someone else shop, or even to get your steps for the day in the mall. Walk outside to get your exercise. Stay out of stores.
  6. In addition to the money you save by not shopping, you will find it is a big time saver. Take that time and do something useful with it. Instead of reading emails, facebook and feeds, I will go for a 15 minute walk. Or read a book. Or write a blog entry. Try to make your new found time a new better habit.
  7. Delete retail apps on your phone. Retailers have found out we spend more when we are members of reward clubs. To spend less its really simple to just delete apps on your phone that make it easy to spend money. If you can order ahead to get your starbucks and jump the line and pick it up, and you've already paid on your app - you are probably spending too much. I know I did. I've deleted all reward club apps for restaurants, stores, and receipt logging apps.
  8. Delete payment apps on your phone. The easier it is to pay, the more you spend. You need to make it harder to pay and involve your conscience to realize you're spending. Your awareness of shopping and spending will increase if you have to carry cash, or a wallet instead of mearly swiping your phone over the register.
  9. If you think you need to shop and buy something, check around your house in your stockpile for the item. If you already have the item, you probably don't need another one. If its broken, fix it. Or try to find a suitable substitute. Can you borrow the item you think you need?
  10. Make your self wait if you feel you must buy something. At least a day or preferably a week. Justify your purchase, but don't research it trying to find the best price, maybe ask someone else to, or just get it from Amazon which is usually the best price anyway.
Good Luck!

How Much Did You Spend at Amazon This Year?

As the year winds down, I'm putting together a summary of our expenses for 2017. One of the most shocking discoveries is the amount of money we (mostly me) spent shopping. I'm ashamed to admit that we spent almost 20% of our money on "shopping". Most of it on stuff that would be considered non-essential. I bought two new laptops this year, bringing my total computers to nine. Does anyone really need that many computers? I used to justify it by printing coupons a lot, but I don't really need that many computers.


Amazon $ spent #items
2006 $913.92 29
2007 $1,480.41 46
2008 $2,920.07 53
2009 $658.17 44
2010 $1,506.67 40
2011 $1,166.29 42
2012 $2,512.45 49
2013 $1,336.77 55
2014 $2,178.44 67
2015 $1,750.34 65
2016 $923.15 42
2017 $3,201.32 87






Anyway, the largest culprit is Amazon. I started shopping at Amazon in 1998, and started using Prime in 2006. Over the years, it was  about 40 items a year and our average spent there was about $1750. Which I think it a lot. Well, this year the number of items doubled and the amount spent almost doubled. That doesn't even include the shopping I did at Columbia.com and Underarmour.com, or all the other websites we bought sporting goods, clothing, electronics and household supplies. But that's a story for later.


Here is how you can check how much you spent at Amazon this year:
  • Log in to your Amazon account.


  • Select YOUR ACCOUNT to view details
  • Select Order History Downloads

  • Enter the dates you want to download, then click Request Report.


  • Click download, wait for report to generate
  • Click Open on the download into Excel or other spreadsheet software.
  • When you have your report, scroll over to column AD and click the top header to highlight the total item column, and it will show you key information at the bottom of your screen.
  • At the bottom you can see your average per item, the count of items and the sum of the dollars spent on items.
The first step to make improvements in the future, is to measure the past. It's interesting to view the items and notice how many are non-essential. If you're like me, it's most of them. I already have that type of item or a good substitute. The problem is the retailers have great marketing strategies and have infiltrated our lives with the desire to shop. Creating awareness of your shopping habits is a first step in tackling your shopping addiction. I'll share my strategy to quit shopping next year in another blog post shortly.


Happy New Year!