Many of us need a few simple reminders of how to shop smart. As many of you know, I became something of a shopping champion (by ‘shopping til I dropped’) until it became a problem for me (my shopping started to become compulsive). I knew that I had to develop a healthier relationship with shopping, and for a year, I did just that.
I don’t shop so much these days, but I know what makes for a successful shopping expedition. Let me share my top ten shopping tips with you. I hope they help you to shop smart.
These are the Top 10 Helpful Shopping Tips:
1.Shop with a list
Many people overspend or buy things they don’t want, don’t need, and never end up using because they haven’t prepared properly. It’s your hard-earned cash and precious time you are spending – it’s worth a few minutes of preparation, Sure it is.
So, before you set off on your shopping trip, prepare. Review what you already have – in your closet, cupboards, home, or garage, then write a list of the ‘gaps’ you have and the needs this item will fill. Ensure they are genuine needs, not frivolous wants (there’s a big difference between the two).
2.Set a budget
Yes, oh yes the “b” word. Budget. It’s important. Many people overspend on things they don’t want, need or use because they had no parameters around their spending they just went ‘hell for leather.’ Not a smart way to shop.
You need to set a ballpark figure (or a more precise one if you have the specific research on what you are shopping for to support it) on what you are going to spend on this trip, what is comfortable for you to spend, and what makes sense for you to spend on this shopping trip.
3.Pay with Cash
The research is clear: we pay 20 – 50% more when we shop with magic plastic, whether it’s using a credit or debit card. There’s something about that magic plastic that can make us feel like we’re using Monopoly money, play money.
4.Set a Time Frame
Don’t allow yourself to meander around a shopping centre in an aimless fashion. Many people use shopping in a lollabout fashion, whiling away an afternoon in their favourite mall. Not a strategy I would promote or advocate. If you want to shop smart, this isn’t the way to go – no meandering shopping! Set a specific timeframe that you will complete your shopping in, and once that time is over, it’s time to head home.
5.Pick The Best Time For You.
Shopping can be a fatiguing and stressful activity if you don’t shop at a time that works well. Shopping when the malls and stores are most busy (such as late night shopping and Saturday mornings) can lead to shopping fatigue where you end up fractious and irritable not a state in which smart shopping usually takes place.
Many people find that shopping partners are more akin to accomplices in crime! They can egg us on making purchases that we don’t want or need and can have their own (sometimes unconscious) motives for encouraging us to shop. Perhaps they feel some sense of competition, or they want to live vicariously through us and our purchases.
7.Don’t shop when you are tired, hungry, lonely, bored, or upset
It’s not an exhaustive list of the emotional states that lead some people to overshop and end up buying things they don’t want or need. But they are some of the most common emotional triggers that prompt people to shop unconsciously and therefore not smartly. If you feel any of those emotions you are tired, hungry, lonely, bored, and upset don’t go shopping. Do something else until you feel on more of an even emotional keel.
8.Ask, “where will I wear this?“
Too many of us buy impulsively with no thought to what we’ll do with the things we buy. Our hard-earned cash and even more precious time are wasted on things that have no place in our closets, our homes, or our lives. One way to short-circuit the impulse buying cycle is to imagine you already own the item you are considering buying.
9.Remember that the salesperson is there to sell to you!
No matter how friendly or pleasant a salesperson is, here is the fact you cannot avoid: they’re in it for sale. Yes, they may care that you walk out only with items that suit you and that you will use.
But they want you to walk out with something. That’s what they are there for – to sell you something or to maintain a relationship with you whereby you keep coming back. That’s their business. Salespeople, no matter how charming and helpful they are, aren’t there to be our friends.
10.Don’t buy just because it’s on sale
‘Sale’ really is a four-letter word! Accompanied by the word ‘shoe,’ it is possibly responsible for more impulse shopping than almost any other word! Remember that a bargain is not a bargain if it’s not you, doesn’t fit correctly, you don’t love it, or it doesn’t fill a legitimate gap you have and is, therefore, a real need.
If you want to go shopping as a social activity, that’s okay but make it a purely social activity with no purchasing allowed. Window shop, or have a bite to eat together but don’t buy until you can go shopping independently.