If you’re going to spend your hard earned money and go shopping, you should definitely do it right and consider all options. Looking back to when I first started earning my own money I can see that I was spending carelessly on whatever caught my eye. Fast forward five years now and I’m more careful about what I spend on and I know how to make a proper decision when shopping.
First of all, I budget my earnings accordingly a few months ahead of time so that I know how much I need to save and how much I’m allowed to spend per pay-check. This is key because it gives me an idea of how often I can splurge during the month and sets a strict boundary on how much damage I can do 😉
Once I know my spending amounts I decide whether or not there’s something bigger and more expensive that I want to save for instead of spending on smaller things during the month. For example, my Gucci belt, which was much more than what I had budgeted for spending within a month so I saved for it with my spending money.
The three things that I spend the most money on are clothing, shoes and food. All of these things fall under my spending amount for the month so I have to be careful about what I do with it! If I have a ton of brunch or dinner dates planned then I know my shopping amount will be significantly lower than normal.
To keep it simple, these are the rules that I follow when I’m out shopping…
- 3 Outfit Rule: If I’m obsessed with an item (clothing or accessory) I always make sure that I can think of 3 different outfits to pair it with in my existing wardrobe.
- Similarity Rule: If it’s a basic piece that I’m looking at and it’s similar to an item in my existing wardrobe then I pick out the similarities between the two to figure out if it’s worth purchasing. For example, checked or plaid blazers! Even though they may be different prints, they’re most likely going to be worn with the same outfits and it’s probably not worth spending more money on.
- Consider Trends: The most perfect example of this is the pair of white boots that I just purchased. They were a huge trend this past Fall and Winter season but I could never bring myself to purchase a pair because I felt like it wouldn’t be trendy for very long. My prediction turned out to be true because white boots aren’t very high up on the current trend list anymore! However I found a pair for $35 (50% off) and because I still wanted a pair to style outfits with (I had loads of ideas) I got them! If you’re looking at a currently trending item try to consider how long it’ll actually be in style.
- Get It For Less Rule: If I believe that I can get a similar item to the one I’m looking at in store for a smaller price then I definitely won’t buy it! Items online are often cheaper than the ones in store so take a picture and look for something similar online before splurging.
- Consider Upcoming Sales: The worst feeling is when you buy an item and a week later it goes on sale. Especially when you can’t even get the discount applied afterwards! If you know a store is about to have a sale then wait to purchase the item. The in-store availability may not be good but if the sale is applicable online then there’s a good chance you’ll find what you’re looking for!
How do you avoid a bad buy?