Do you love shopping but always find yourself spending a little too much? I totally relate.
Beauty products, home décor, bags, shoes – you name it, I love shopping! Not only do I enjoy the process but I love bringing home a beautiful piece. It’s a hobby that brings me a lot of joy.
Here’s the thing, you don’t have to sacrifice your shopaholic status in order to reach your financial goals. Being frugal is not about stopping everything you enjoy just to save money. Rather, the answer is to spend more mindfully.
Here are my tips to enjoy shopping while still remaining within your budget.
1. Have a general budget
Whenever I go shopping, I keep in mind what my maximum spend is. $50? $100? $200? Even if it is an estimate, I have a figure. It’s impressive how much you’ll try to stick to the number just by having it in your mind. I personally will step aside and tally the cost of all my items on my phone calculator – I especially do this at second hand shops where I tend to get carried away because the items are so inexpensive.
Also, if you get to the checkout and you’re over the budget – don’t be afraid to put things back. I used to feel a bit awkward to tell the cashier I didn’t want something anymore after they had already scanned it.
Storytime: My mum loves custard apples. They’re not widely available here in Australia so she often doesn’t buy them for herself. One day, I came across them so I grabbed one for her, without looking at the price. The cashier scanned it as $12. Yes. $12 for one piece of fruit. At that point, I had to overcome my embarrassment and just let the cashier know that I didn’t want it anymore. Sorry, mum.
2. No Money? No Shopping.
This is a simple tip that is very powerful in practice.
If you’re tight on money this month, then simply avoid going shopping. I’ve tried so many times to just “go to look but not buy anything” but seriously, it never works for me. I always end up leaving with something that although might be very pretty, I could easily live without. It also sucks to have to put something you love back. Instead, if someone asks to go shopping when I’m over my budget, I’ll ask if it’s alright with them if we go in a few weeks or so when I have my new monthly budget ready to go.
And, if you’re someone who shops as a treat to themselves, try a different “treat” method. I have a blog post on this if you’re stuck for ideas.
3. Wait 24 hours
Don’t instantly buy something just because you want it, especially if it is something you don’t need. Why? Instant gratification.
Other than spending money you don’t need, over-reliance on instant gratification causes more issues than you think and distracts you from what you actually want to achieve. In short, it affects your long-term happiness and success. It’s not only about saving money but rather not developing poor behaviours.
You can learn more about instant gratification by clicking here.
You can avoid this by simply waiting, especially with online shopping. If you see something you like, give it some time before you make that purchase – at least sleep on it but a week is even better. If you still want it, then go ahead and buy it. I find a lot of the times that after waiting, I am a lot less likely to buy the item.
One such example is one of those snack subscription boxes. I kept getting targeted ads for one which had artisanal Japanese snacks that I just couldn’t resist. I added it to my cart and just before I was going to pay, I exited the browser. After a few days, I realised I didn’t really want it that much and could just go buy snacks at my local Japanese grocery store anyway!
4. Don’t buy it just because it’s a great deal
When you no longer buy things just because they are heavily discounted, you are officially winning in life.
I can resist normal sales. I cannot resist big sales – Black Friday, Boxing Day, anything that is over 70% off. And while, it is great to purchase items at a fraction of their RRP, if you didn’t need it – you are still wasting money.
At the time, it can feel like you’re making a big mistake if you let a deal pass by you. However, there will always be another sale. I have never felt regret from missing out on a sale but I have felt regret from buying something I did not need.
5. Re-vamp what you have
One reason we like shopping is because we are bored of what we have and are looking for something new. However, there are ways to add that excitement back in without purchasing something new.
Recently, I was getting bored of my coats and was thinking about buying new ones. Rather than doing this though, I instead changed the buttons. This may seem like a small change but it completely transformed the garments – I was excited to wear them out again. You can check out my article on this below.
If you’re getting bored of your handbag, why not change the strap?
If it is currently a leather strap, you can change it to a gold or silver chain or even one with pearls to give it a new look. Instead of buying a whole new handbag, you can do this for under $15.
Similarly, if you’re bored of your current lipstick colours, why not do some mixing? Applying two different colours on top of each other can create a whole new shade.
By doing this, you also do your part for mother nature by not creating extra waste.
With these five tips in mind, you will get closer to becoming a more mindful shopper who buys all the cute things while still maintaining an investment portfolio. It can also help us feel less guilty when we splurge.
A great example of this in practice is one of my most recent purchases – an expensive pair of designer sunglasses. Here’s how I followed these tips:
- Figured out that I needed a new pair as my current ones are three years old, bent out of shape and missing the nose pads
- Realising the cost-per-wear would be low as I wear sunglasses daily
- Making sure that this will be my only pair of sunglasses
- Came up with a dollar amount that I would not go over
- Not making any other significant purchases this month on my “shopping” budget
- Didn’t buy them instantly – gave myself two days to have a think if I really wanted them
- Purchased them from an outlet site where they were 50% off RRP
- Googled to find promo codes, found one for an extra 15% off
- Used a Cashback plugin to get 4% cashback on the purchase
Now, is a pair of designer sunglasses necessary? No. But, going through this process helped me become more mindful about the purchase. Shopping in this way means you only buy what you really love rather than spending money on something that is just okay.
I hope you found this article helpful, go out there and be a frugal shopper! If you have any other tips that I haven’t covered, I’d love to hear them. You can send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on insta @themoneymarketerblog