Overspending is no laughing matter. It affects a person in all sorts of ways, not the least of which are gradually going broke and lack of closet space. If your girlfriend is a victim to this, then it is very likely that you may be affected in some way or the other. And if you care for her, then you would endeavour to do everything in your power to help her overcome this habit. But breaking this habit is no mean feat. It requires a great deal of self control, perseverance and fixity of purpose. Your girlfriend may try to rationalise her overspending like any regular shopaholic, which makes it not only harder, but also more critical, that you help her break this compulsive pattern. So here are 8 ways to deal with a shopaholic girlfriend who may slowly be easing into your closet space.
1. Draw attention away from shopping
Whenever your girl begins talking about shopping, subtly change the subject. You could try the age old trick of politely excusing yourself mid conversation saying you need to visit the bathroom. When you come back, it is likely she may forgotten about it, or if not, you could more casually and less awkwardly change the topic. Another thing that works with most people are compliments. If she raises the subject of shopping again, try complimenting her hair, or even her shoes; “Baby, have you done something to your hair?” Ask her about what she has done that has her looking just so. She may launch into a story expounding the finer details of her new hair/shoes/nails/dress and may drop the topic of shopping for the entire length of the conversation.
2. Friendly subterfuge
If your girl asks you to come out shopping with her, endeavour to change her mind. If she still manages to persuade you with those big browns about something she saw earlier in a shop window, then try this manoeuvre in order to evade the experience.
If you are meeting her at seven, then set reservations for eight at a nice cozy place. Or get movie tickets for an 8pm show. As for the shopping expedition, arrive late, say about 7:30 or so. That way you shall have little or no time to indulge in shopping with your girl, and she would be pleased that you made the effort to make reservations/book tickets so that you two could spend quality time together. That, my friends, is how you light two candles with one flame.
3. Well-meaning mind games
Play mind tricks on her. Nothing serious and damaging, just effective tricks in order to convince her to not buy something she barely needs. If she finally does manage to take you shopping, and insists you be present for the entire experience, then let her try on whichever outfit catches her fancy. But when she does wear it and ask for your opinion, tactfully tell her that it may not be the best outfit she has ever tried. Steer her away from items that would be heavy on the pocketbook. And if it’s your pocketbook we’re speaking of, then all the more reason to do it! This does not make you diabolical. It only shows that you care about her enough to make an effort.
4. Make new and interesting plans
Avoid going on dates that primarily involve shopping. Instead, try doing something alternative to it. It needn’t be something extravagant. Something simple yet heartfelt would do just as well. If you are an outdoor type, try water sports. They can be uniquely invigorating. If you are more reserved and mild by nature, try setting out towards the countryside. A long walk with just the two of you for company, away from city life, would not only be a boost to your relationship, but also keep your girl away from mindless consumerism. Or else, bring out your inner romantic and invite her over, cook her favorite dishes, set the table and lighting, and make her feel special. Keep her occupied with things to do in the time she would normally go shopping.
5. Make her do her accounts
Your girl should be aware of how much she ought to be spending. But more than that, she needs to be cognizant of how much she is currently spending, and the ramifications of it. Make her do her accounts regularly, including and not limited to how much she has been spending on superfluous items, whether the funds are coming out of the money reserved for bill payments, and what parts of her lives are suffering due to her compulsive habit. Question her each time she wants to buy something. Does she truly need it? Can she afford it? If she searches within herself for the answers, she may learn to make better decisions.
6. Wear before discard
Persuade her to look through her wardrobe, and bring out everything that she has not yet worn. If your girlfriend is a true shopaholic, she may, in all likelihood, have an overabundance of never before worn outfits. Do a Luke Brandon, and ask her to wear everything at least thrice before discarding. If you move in relatively high end circles, then your girl may very well have cocktail dresses in plenitude. Such dresses do not come cheap. And in the case of them, discarding after wearing each to a single event is a waste, and virtually equivalent to spending without thought. And if she still feels she needs to buy something, encourage her to visit thrift stores rather than spending lavishly. You still get great brands at half the cost.
7. Convince her to go minimalist
Minimalism is a great style of living for those who are accustomed to it. Adopting minimalism would bring your girlfriend peace like she never knew. It may be a drastic change for a shopaholic, but if adopted right, it may prove to be one of the best decisions she would have undertaken. The purpose, though, is not merely to relinquish control and dispose of items, but to increase practicality with minimal provisions. Not just that, but minimalism lends an understated elegance to an individual.
8. Cut cards
This is an extreme measure. A last resort when all else fails. Make her cut her cards. All of them. Debit cards are also not acceptable. Neither is a chequebook. Encourage her to pay only in cash, whether it is for a birthday gift for her mom, or a hotdog from the nearest vendor. Paying in cash will make her more conscious of how much she is spending, and will lead her to a better understanding of her own finances. And most of all, make sure she doesn’t pull a Becky and conceal a secret stash of credit card(s) underneath her vanity kit.