I love the art of shopping: Discovering neat and different objects. Hunting for the best prices. Using coupons or big sales to get exactly what I want. I love bringing home new stuff.
And the internet is my frenemy in this shopping fad. If Leah needs new snow boots, I can be picky and visit all my favorite "boot" sites, to find the best quality at the lowest price -- all on my lunch break.
So -- for the past several years, as a reaction the major spending/shopping extravaganza that is Christmas and early January after-Christmas sales (love em), I've made a practice of cutting down personal spending in February (or sometimes March) to just the essentials.
Essentials = food, kids activities and needs. And the "big NO" to clothes shopping for me, hunting new house decor, or books, etc. I usually have a surplus of new stuff I haven't even worn/read/framed from the holidays, anyway.
The most important step to this shopping diet is to unsubscribe to all those crazy promotional emails I get hourly. I love them pre-Christmas for the good deals, but not these months when I'm tightening my pursestrings. So, I'll completely cut them off, or change my contact preferences to less-frequent delivery, such as monthly.
I also start a little list of things I want to buy later. If I still want/neeeed it in a month, I know it wasn't just a passing fancy.
Not only does my little spending siesta help me catch up with the financial hole I made over the holidays, it forces me to focus on other things. Like TRAVEL! Using/Donating the clutter I already have. Playing with the kids. You get the idea.