Most of us have a limited amount of money to spend, so we can’t really afford to splurge on shopping too often. We also have to put something away for our retirement or emergencies, so budgeting is quite an important part of being an adult. However, with so many attractive options available online and in real stores, it can be difficult to stop spending when you get the chance. Social media platforms are trying to sell us more and more products every single day, with targeted advertising and influencers being just two means of temptation for the average internet user.
Many people will even become addicted to shopping if they’re not too careful, so we have to get used to spending in a budget. Whether that means shopping in less money or reducing our sprees overall, the result will probably be beneficial. It might be difficult to start spending less, though, so here are some pointers to keep in mind:
1. Plan Every Purchase
Whenever you plan to go shopping, plan the purchases in advance. A shopping list might be an obvious suggestion, but it’s still important enough to mention here. When people make the mistake of going grocery shopping without a list, they end up buying things they don’t need and often miss the necessities.
The same goes for clothes shopping or any time you venture out to buy things. The next time you visit any kind of store, have a detailed list on your phone or better yet, on paper in your hand.
2. No Aimless Wandering
Wandering around in an actual store or just browsing shopping pages online is a surefire way to purchase extra items. The list will come in handy here again; get the things you’ve written down and then head directly to the checkout till.
You might find yourself wandering more when in an unfamiliar space. To avoid this, stick to the stores and sites you’re familiar with. If you’re shopping in a supermarket, for instance, see if you can make your list according to the aisle. Avoid any aisle that doesn’t have anything you need. The same goes for online shopping; if you don’t need more pantry organizers, just don’t click on the tab or page that has them.
If you have to shop in a new store, group the list items according to categories. For instance, write down ‘boys’ shirts’ instead of just ‘shirts’. This way, you’ll be asking for those sections specifically. Heading over to unrelated departments should be avoidable.
3. Avoid Sales
When a sale comes up, the marketing techniques try their best to convince people that they simply must make some purchase. Rationalize your thinking and stick with the logic; if you didn’t need it at full price, you don’t need it at 50 percent off.
Resist this temptation by staying true to your list. Plus, keep telling yourself that the companies are simply increasing their prices and reducing the new ones for the sale. Whether this is true or not, it will certainly discourage you from wanting to spend just because there’s a sale going on.
4. Do Your Research
All kinds of information is now at our fingertips, so why not make use of this convenience to spend less money on shopping? Take out some time while you’re planning your lists and see what each item is going for online.
Don’t just wait until you have to buy a major item like a TV or dishwasher. Smaller everyday items can really stack up the expenses and might be going for dirt cheap online. Bulk deals, rebates, flash sales, and several discounts mean that you might be able to get your necessities for a lot less than when you go to a physical store.
Another way to do your research is to look up the best ways to buy a major item. For example, there are some tips on buying new dinnerware that ensure you get just what you need. With this precaution, you’re unlikely to return for such items for a long time.
5. Shop When Fulfilled
If you go shopping on an empty stomach or when in a bad mood, you might be easily tempted to buy more. Retail therapy works sometimes, but it’s hardly a healthy long-term solution.
Shopping while hungry will also result in the purchase of high-calorie food that will increase the final bill and harm your health at the same time. There are studies that show how hungry folks even purchase more non-edible items. This might be because they’re not feeling their best self and crave the high of owning a new item.
To avoid this issue, improve your mood before going shopping with things that don’t cost anything. You can do this by reading a book that you already have or one that you borrowed; taking a nice walk; playing outdoors, or even taking a nap. If you haven’t eaten yet, take a meal before heading into the store or opening up those shopping sites.
6. Go Shopping Alone
When you go shopping for groceries, don’t take the kids along. The distraction and frustration will make it difficult to check prices, let alone compare them. Go easy on yourself and your wallet, leave the kids with your spouse or a trusted friend, and just take some coupons along if you have them. There are also online coupons that you can download onto your phone and show to the cashier. Again, this final step might be forgotten when you’re in a rush with your offspring. This is just another reason to shop solo.
The same thing goes for shopping with friends. People tend to get drawn in and make purchases more often when they’re out shopping with their peers. If you feel like your friends won’t stick to just window-shopping or that you won’t be able to resist temptation, leave the debit and credit cards at home.
You might also suggest some alternative activity in order to avoid shopping of all kinds. Plan a picnic, walk in the park together, or just have them over for a nice lunch and some meaningful conversation. Do the same with family members who want to go shopping together; offer an alternative activity that might be better for everyone concerned, especially your budget.
With controlled spending, we could live within our means and not fall into debt. When a person spends less money on shopping, they will also find it easy to save up for more important goals, such as putting a down payment on their own apartment or house. At any rate, it’s better to control your spending now rather than be broke and have stuff taking up space in your garage. Follow the tips above the next time you’re tempted to buy something that isn’t really necessary, and your life just might become more manageable.