by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA
A friend called me up last night. “We are getting the old gang together,” she said, “for some shopping.” Would I care to join them?
This last shopping trigger (for now, anyway) is also one of the most common, and one of the most encouraged by all sorts of media, from mainstream movies and TV shows to books – not to mention magazines. The explanations for why so many women list shopping as one of their favorite hobbies vary. Some say it is in our DNA – that women have always been gatherers and shopping is the modern version. Others say we are trying to attract men by looking good, and yet others say c’mon – shopping is fun!
Whatever the reason, this hobby can have a devastating effect on your finances, both in the long and the short term. Because not only do we hit up shopping malls even when we may not need anything – when we shop together, we encourage each other to spend more. Because how could you possibly resist buying a pair of designer jeans when four of your best friends are staring admiringly at you, telling you your derriere has never looked better? It is even worse if you go shopping with friends who have more money than you do, or ones that tend to overspend.
I am not trying to be the party pooper (ok I will be honest that I am probably the only woman on the face of the planet that does not like shopping), or tell you that you shouldn’t meet your peeps at the mall. But take a look at your finances first, use cash only, create a budget for yourself, and stick to it.
If your friends truly care about you, they will respect this and you will have a lovely day without getting in over your head.
Check out the other articles in our series on Shopping Triggers.