If you’re anything like me, shopping is a favorite pastime. Getting ready with a cute outfit on, makeup and hair all done; with the anticipation of adding some fantastic new pieces to the ever-increasing wardrobe. Walking into your favorite stores, combing through numerous racks, shelves and tables of the latest and greatest in fashion. Let us also not forget the joys of online shopping. Scrolling and browsing the internet in the comfort of your own home and the excitement of seeing the post man walking towards your house, package in hand.
There is so much to enjoy in the process of shopping, the problem of course is, the money spent. Unfortunately, the process of shopping which we love so much combined with the valent efforts of advertising, culture and media, sales and credit cards can be both alluring and addicting, thus creating the shopaholic.
Now I wouldn’t go as far to say I’m a shopaholic, but I will admit that I spend more money than I should when it comes to shopping. In the new year, one of my goals was to spend less money and have implemented a few things to help me reach this goal that I would love to pass on to you!
1. First and foremost, in my opinion, is decide what is a want and what is a need. I would argue that more than half of what we buy is something that we want, rather than something we actually need. Many times I catch myself justifying the purchase of yet another vintage band tee; do I want this, of course. But do I need this? Absolutely not. My advice, always ask yourself, “Do I need this?” More often than not, the answer will be, no. There will be times you actually need something, a new shirt or pants due to excessive wear, a snag, a hole or wrong fit; and that’s ok. But it can sometimes be a slippery slope; be careful!
2. Another strategy I would urge you to try is create a “shopping wish list”. This is your want list where you can write the name of the item or a brief description of it after you have practiced severe self-control from purchasing it in the store or online. Along with the item, list the price as well; this will allow you to look at the different items you want and how much it will cost you. Let me tell you, those numbers really start to add up. I have found that this is a good way to pace yourself with spending and even encourage saving, setting aside a little extra money every now and then to purchase something off your wish list.
3. Play the waiting game. This principle is mostly geared towards online shopping; however, but this can still be applied to in-store shopping. If there is something that you like, but it’s not a need, most store websites offer a “Saved for Later” option where you can put in your favorite items “on hold” for another time. What do I mean by playing the waiting game? Once your items are saved for later, all you have to do is wait for the sale to come around. Eventually everything in a store goes on sale, take it from someone who worked years of retail, your job is to patiently wait for that sale to hit! Some sites will even email you when an item in your cart is on sale, how convenient!
4. Unsubscribe! Advertisers know how to real you in. They so cunningly market products, setting up the bait. Being the desperately hungry fish, we take a bite only to find later regretfully wishing we hadn’t. In a world of technology, it is so easy to distribute emails and subscribe to the store’s emails. I have fallen prey to such schemes. It seems like every day there is some kind of sale or promotion going on. I would visit the site “just to look” which eventually would lead to me buying multiple items that I otherwise wouldn’t have bought had a not received the email telling me there was a sale. That is why I would encourage you to unsubscribe from receiving emails from retail stores, what you don’t know won’t hurt you!
There you go, these are but a few practical ways you can still shop without breaking the bank! They may not seem like much at first glance (and they’re really not), but putting these into practice has helped me learn discipline, self-control and the value of saving money. Take it from Benjamin Franklin, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Even if you’re saving a couple bucks, it’s worth it. Celebrate those successes; they are the building blocks that will help you save even more in the long run!
And that’s the dirt!