Hoarding involves not only the irrational desire to keep objects, but also an irrational desire to acquire them. I buy a LOT of stuff I don't need. Shopping is soothing. It calms frayed nerves that can no longer be kept calm by an eating disorder that I am slowly beating. It's a trait I inherited from my hoarder parents. I've never tried to fight it before. I never even knew it was a problem until I got married.
But now I have to make a choice. Our finances showed us that we have to cut our current expenses by $1000 each month if we're going to be able to do the things we want to do (fix the kitchen and take one last big trip alone) in the next year. If we can't do that, we will need to wait another year before we have kids.
Here's what I do to cut down my spending.
1. Block online shopping website.
If you use the Firefox or Chrome web browsers you can download something called a "site blocker" to add to your browser. These are features you add to your browser. You specify which sites you want to block on your machine. You can always go back and give yourself permission to view the sites again. Okay, so you won't be cured, but at least it makes you stop for a minute and thing about what you're doing ;o) Here's how:
1. in Chrome, google "siteblocker add-on."
2. Download it.
3. Restart your browser.
4. Set the sites you want to keep yourself from using by going to the "window" menu and clicking "extensions." You'll see SiteBlock listed. Click "options" and add the sites.
5. Now go do this on all your web browsers.
You can also do this in FireFox and the procedure is much the same. It's harder in IE, but possible.
I've added eBay, half.com, Amazon, Macy's, and several other online stores that I patronize far too frequently. Now when I type in "www.amazon.com" all I get is this:
2. Close out my online shopping accounts. I had my husband change the passwords on accounts that we share. That way only he knows the passwords. Sure, I could go open a new ebay account, but then I would be obviously trying to deceive him. And I don't want to do that.
3. Distraction!! Find things to do other than shopping. I know that in the evenings I like to relax by browsing any and every online store I can find. Or I'll walk around town and stop in the shops. No more. I picked out activities that I can do when I want to shop. When I get the urge to shop, I deliberately and immediately go read a random blog, from start to finish, or I play my guitar.
4. Reward myself for not shopping. In the notebook where I write everything I spend, I note the "no spend" days that I have. At the end of every "no spend" day, I move $5 from my checking account into my brokerage account. That way I have incentive to invest *and* to spend less at the same time.