I know that I can’t be the only one in this world who has let Target take all my money. I mean, I’m guilty of walking into Target with the intention of buying 3 items only to walk out an hour later with a Starbucks drink in hand and $200 less in my bank account. Oh, and did I mention that I forgot to buy those 3 items? There’s something about Target that triggers my urge to spend all the money. My rocky relationship with Target started 10+ years ago when I was a new college student. I’d head to Target, grab a frappuccino, and just walk the aisles. I’d look at all the beautiful home decor items, imagine my apartment with a new gallery wall, and then spend the next 25 minutes in the makeup aisles. I knew that if I was ever bored, Target would be there for me!
This horrible (and yet so beautiful) habit led me to overspend at Target time and time again. It wasn’t until I had to be an adult (don’t you hate it when that happens?) that I knew my relationship with Target needed to change. We were a growing family and knew we had to pay off our crazy amount of debt (you should totally read that story!). Thus began the slow and painful process of being in control of my spending and not letting Target win anymore. And because I love to overshare, I’ve documented the exact steps I took to break my unhealthy relationship with Target.
Limit how often you go.
It’s a known fact that if you don’t go into a store, you probably won’t buy something (well, that’s assuming you stay off their website as well). One of the first things I did when I knew I needed to stop sending all my money to Target was to just stop going. I seriously cut back on how often I’d walk into the store. If I needed to buy something then I’d hit up any other store because I’m much less likely to impulse shop in other places. So I’d simply go there instead. It’s not that I never went into a Target again. I’d just go once every two months rather than every week. This alone helped me cut back on my Target addiction!
Have a plan for when you go inside.
Just like it’s important to have a plan when it comes to dinners every week (read more about how I write my meal plan), I needed a plan when I walked into Target. This meant that if I needed face wash, I’d park on the grocery side of Super Target so that I wouldn’t be forced to walk past the Dollar Spot or the home decor section. My days of walking aimlessly through Target just for the fun of it were gone. You would no longer find me standing in the pillow aisle petting the throw pillows just to see which one was the softest! And I wouldn’t be caught smelling all the candles when I came in for a box of diapers. Every time I walked into Target I had a plan of attack. Thankfully, when you have little children, Target is an entire adventure and my goal was to get in and get out without a single tantrum.
Get yourself an accountability buddy.
I feel like I should start an accountability program for Target shoppers. You know, I could stand at the door and greet everyone, asking them exactly what they intend to buy. And then when they leave, they must check in with me to show that they didn’t grab a Hearth and Hand wreath on impulse. If they violated their agreement, then I’d send them straight to the returns counter. Obviously, this might be a little extreme (although I could have used this type of extreme measures 10 years ago), but seriously, it’s all about accountability!
Before you head into Target, text a friend and let them know what you plan on getting. Then, take a picture of the items when you get in the car. Better yet, call your spouse and promise them that you are only getting what you intend to buy! My husband was definitely my accountability buddy when I was breaking up with my bad Target habits. I couldn’t hide any purchases from him and this made me stay on track when I had to run in and grab something!
Only bring the money that you’ll need.
When I was trying to break my Target habit, we had young kids. We always preferred Target diapers because they were cheaper and good quality, so I would only bring enough cash to grab a box (or two) of diapers. That’s right. I wouldn’t bring my debit card with me. And if I did bring my debit card with me, I’d make sure that it never left my wallet. Having cash helped me learn to control my spending and beat impulse shopping. Want to learn more about using cash to help you stick to a budget? Read all about how to use cash envelopes today!
Don’t get a cart.
If you see me walking through Target, 9 times out of 10 I’m carrying my items in my arms. This is because I learned early on that if I grab a shopping cart while I’m in Target, I’m going to want to fill it. And I’m not sure if you know this or not, but they make you pay money for those things. When you have a shopping cart, it’s like an invitation to buy more things. See a cute picture frame? Well, there’s room in the cart! Might as well grab it! New seasonal decorations in the dollar spot? Fill up the cart! To combat my desire to buy all the stuff, I’d just force myself to be uncomfortable and hold my items. And this meant that sometimes I was holding two boxes of diapers and a baby. Which meant there was literally no room for me to buy anything else!
Unsubscribe from their emails.
This is an easy tip that you can do from your sofa! If you don’t want to be tempted to go shopping at your favorite store, then stop inviting them into your inbox every day! If you aren’t made aware of any sales going on, then you won’t be tempted to spend money on items you don’t actually need. Not to mention that unsubscribing from emails will keep your inbox lite and save you time in the long run! You’ll save time by no longer looking through or deleting emails that are clogging up your inbox.
Don’t wait to start your journey.
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