Especially when the seasons change, I get the urge to shop. The clothes I took out of storage for the season are no more exciting than when I put them into storage and it seems like everywhere I look I see cute shoes! cute bags! cute clothes! If your pocketbook is empty or you're trying to fill your piggy bank instead, here are some tips for scratching your shopping itch without losing your shirt.
1. Set a shopping budget, even a tiny one, for a shopping excursion. If you really have the hankering to shop even though you know you really shouldn't - set a budget and stick to it. Tell yourself you can spend $100, $50, $10, whatever you can afford. If you don't trust yourself - just bring cash, no cards.
2. Shop somewhere where everything is cheap. Instead of the mall or a department story, head to a thrift store or a low-budget store like a Dollar Store. Be careful not to buy, excuse me, crap just because you feel like buying something, but you can still go through the motions of shopping (looking, choosing) in a place where everything is just a few bucks.
3. Shop your closet. Instead of buying a new outfit, challenge yourself to create a new outfit from what you already have. Revive old favorite pieces by combining them with pieces you haven't tried before. Think you're not a scarf person? - who knows, give it another try. Even if you don't work up the courage to wear a new outfit outside of the house, you use some of the same skills as when you're actually shopping and, who knows, you might find a new favorite ensemble.
4. Buy a gift. If you know you have a gift to buy in the nearish future - strike while the shopping iron is hot! Don't spend any more money than you would have, but take care of this shopping errand when you're in a shopping mood and then rest on your gift-buying laurels.
5. Get your shopping fix virtually. Get your shopping fix without buying a thing by joining Polyvore and putting together fun virtual outfits. Pin things you fantasize you could buy. Or join The Hunt, a community of people who help others find and identify items in online shops that they've seen in the real world, on Tumblr and Pinterest.
6. Do shopping "research" by people watching. On the face of it, people watching may seem like a poor substitute for shopping, but you can actually learn a lot by seeing what others are wearing. This is especially helpful if you have a wardrobe problem you're trying to address (I'm often flummoxed about weather-appropriate shoes in those in-between weeks between seasons, for example.).
7. Go to a museum, see a movie or take your camera out for a walk. Sometimes the most pleasurable thing about shopping is the visual eye candy. Go somewhere visually stimulating that's not a store and treat your eyes without raiding your pocketbook.
Do you have any strategies to keep yourself from spending money on shopping when you shouldn't?