Have you ever gone to the store to get a new pair of walking shoes and you came home with a new pair of pumps, strappy sandals and a great pair of winter boots just because they were on sale? Was there a 50-percent-off sign in the mall that you just couldn't resist so you bought those $60 jeans marked down to $30—only to find they don't really fit well? Last time you and your best friend went shopping, did you buy something frivolous just to keep her company in the checkout line?

Admit it. You've probably done all of these things. Two-thirds of all women's purchases are unplanned, according to Paco Underhill, a shopping sociologist, whether they're made in the grocery store or at a chic boutique. Often we buy because we're looking for a pick-me-up or we want to reward ourselves. Or, it's because a sale looks too hot to pass up, or because we're shopping just for something to do—not because we need an item. Whatever the motivation, when you put all these shopping trips together, you've got a serious dent in your savings. You may even be putting yourself and your future in financial jeopardy. That's why saying no to impulsive, recreational and even compulsive purchases is so important.

By learning when not to shop, you'll also save a huge chunk of time. If you total up all the minutes the average woman spends in the stores, surfing the net, reading catalogs and watching shopping channels each year, it adds up to an average of 146 hours, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's more time than we spend reading or cleaning the house, and as much time as we spend cooking. If you rechanneled even half that time, say, into a workout at the gym can you imagine what the results would look like?

Understanding why you shop can help you get a grip on all this excess buying and help you focus on getting the best deals on what you really need, when you need it—like when your hard drive crashes and you've got to unexpectedly replace the family PC.

For savvy shoppers who know what they want and why they want it, it's never been a better time to bargain hunt. Thanks to manufacturers' ability to get new goods into the stores several times a year, retailers (both bricks and mortar stores and Internet sites) are motivated to move inventory as fast as possible. That means discounts, coupons, rebates and mark-downs galore. Sometimes you can even negotiate a better price right on the spot. Nothing is more satisfying than knowing you were smart enough to get a good deal on something you really need. Buying sale items on impulse, however, simply means you spent money needlessly, even if it's less money than you would have spent if you paid full price.

This month, you and your Money Group are going to learn how to stop impulse shopping and turn your quest for a great deal into a great deal of savings!
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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