by Rory Evans, REDBOOKWe've all got a shopping weak spot, one place we lose all budgetary control. Discover yours here and get a grip.
We used to dream of time spent alone on a beach somewhere. Alone in the tranquil oasis of a fancy spa. As time goes on (and reality sets in), the dream evolves: Alone, pushing a shopping cart through the local big-box store. Alone, luxuriating in mascara choices in the drugstore makeup aisle. For women with full houses and fuller schedules, shopping offers a precious opportunity for purposeful aimlessness, a place to be solitary for a delicious hour or more. The only drawback: You walk out lugging a ton of purchases you didn't intend to make while "browsing." Sound familiar? Here's how to get the retail therapy you need without the sticker shock.
The QVC MVP
Her Habitat: The comfort of her own home, possibly even the comfort of her memory-foam pillow-top mattress (bought in three easy payments).
You Know Her By: Her Rachel Zoe faux-fur vest, her ultrasonic electric toothbrush, her SteamMax steam cleaner.
Checkout Confessional: "When I first got married, I became a when-my-husband's-away insomniac because he traveled often for work," says Debbie, a 43-year-old mother of three in Buffalo, NY. "I'd keep the TV on all night, tuned to QVC." Eventually, the channel became her regular destination. "It doesn't matter what's on. I'll tune in for a car wax segment." She's not just listening - recent splurges include a tummy-tuck camisole and Mrs. Prindable's caramel apples.
Get a Grip: "The QVC channel is all about time-limited offers," explains Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. "Hosts constantly remind viewers that time is running out, creating enormous urgency to buy now." Lindstrom recommends logging on to qvc.com instead. "You can get the same stuff without the pressure - and extra time to hunt around online for a better deal."
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THE DRUGSTORE JUNKIE
Her Habitat: CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid
You Know Her By: Her insights on the newest no-slip-grip ponytail-holder technology, her encyclopedic knowledge of OTC cold remedies, the perpetually stocked jar of caramel creams on her desk.
Checkout Confessional: Ellen, 42, a mother of an 8- and a 6-year-old in Maplewood, NJ, describes going to CVS the way others might speak of a trip to an ashram: "I just wander the aisles to get a calm, de-stressing experience. Almost in a trance, I've found myself at the checkout counter, shelling out for four types of sippy cups, three cutesy toys, and a fancy new digital baby thermometer, never mind the fact that we barely use the one we already had."
Get a Grip: Shop for yourself first. "There's a reason the cosmetics aisle is your last stop before checking out," says retail anthropologist Paco Underhill, author of What Women Want. "Once a woman has shopped for everyone else in the family, she wants to reward herself." To curb overspending, don't reach for a cart or basket. "The average person can hold eight items in their two hands," Lindstrom says, "and do you need more than that from a drugstore?"
Find out the rest of the types of shopping addictions and how to cure them.: How To Stop Shopping - Control Spending - Redbook
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.