Most people love shopping, but hate spending money. Especially when you go to the store for a bag of pretzels and come home with a new stereo system. Not planning ahead can really damage your bank account, not to mention your self esteem. This is something you want to avoid.
While shopping is fun, it can certainly put a dent in your pocketbook. That's why it's important to keep this from happening too much, or else you'll go broke. And since nobody really wants to go broke, we've got to keep this from happening.
What's the best way to do this? I thought you'd never ask. The truth is that some people have no problem staying within a budget, while other people tend to always be reaching for their credit cards, as they are always running out of cash.
The first thing to do is keep a list of things you need. And always stick to that list. For most people, this will go a long ways in keeping you from overspending. Naturally, making a list isn't exciting. It's more fun to just jump in the car and head to the store. But as we've already discussed, this could leave you pretty broke in a hurry. So take the time to make a list.
In order to do this, you have to avoid those spur of the moment shopping excursions. Window shopping can be fun, but it can also be deadly. If you do plan on going window shopping, leave your credit cards at home. This will keep you from spending too much.
If you don't have time to make a list, then at least make a mental list of the things you are intending on buying. Sure, you might forget to buy a couple items, but forgetting to buy something is not nearly as bad as buying something that you'll never use anyway.
If you're married and in a relationship, you can use that to your advantage. One partner is usually more financially conscious than the other partner. Figure out who that is, and then agree that they'll do the buying. This requires a lot of trust and open communication, but it can keep you out of the poor house.
So long as you've got some kind of strategy in place to keep you from spending all your money as soon as you get it, you'll do fine. Take your time, plan your purchases, and you won't have anything to worry about. You'll be able to rediscover the joy of shopping.