Shopping… the very sound of the word can send shivers up my shopaholic spine and put a smile on my face. It is in my blood.  There was once a time when I entered a shopping mall, all bets were off I was shopping – whether I need something or not!  But while exhilarating, shopping can be very costly.  I needed to balance my desire to shop with my budget so the challenge became finding new ways to capture that same shopping thrill but within spending limits.  Here are some tips and tricks I employ when I feel the need to shop `til I drop … without dropping a bundle! 1.  Not every shopping deal is a “good deal” - even for the big bargain hunter.  It is only a good deal if you have a need so stop and ask yourself: would I consider buying it if it were full price? Is this item a need?  Asking a few simple questions will quickly decrease the amount of unnecessary “good deals” making it to your house. 2.  Be aware of everywhere you shop! Shopping malls are not the only place for shopaholics like me.  Online shopping sites bring the mall right to you.  To stay on track when online shopping, do two things: sleep on it and compare prices. A good night’s rest can bring new clarity to just how much we really need that purchase.  If you still have the need in the morning, be sure to compare prices.  A few clicks of the mouse can save you from overpaying. 3.  Make a list and check it twice! Before heading to the store, create a shopping list. This forces you to think about what you need ahead of time. Many shoppers think this only applies to grocery shopping, but making a list for any type of shopping prevents you from overbuying or forgetting items. 4.  Show me the money! Use cash instead of credit.  We tend to be more aware of how much we spend if we have to count out the cash.  Don’t link carrying that much cash? Try a Visa gift card. What to save more? Try this money saving tip: host a swap shop party! Shopping swap shop style is fun and completely free. To organize a swap shop party send invites to friends asking them each to bring 5 items they no longer wear but are still fashionable and in good condition. Start the party by having guests draw numbers to see who gets first pick. Guests select clothing in the turn. Any clothing leftover can be donated to charity. At the end of the evening, everyone has had fun, gone shopping, and did not spend a dime. Now you too can embrace your inner shopaholic … without breaking the bank!