Are you that person who sees a post of an outfit on instagram, checks the tags and impulsively orders it?
Are you that person that goes shopping without a list cause you never stick to it anyway?
Are you that person whose bad day automatically turns around when you hit the stores and give yourself some retail therapy?
Are you that person that gets excited about new the items you recently acquired?
Are you that person whose days can largely be divided between online shopping and waiting for your delivery?
Finally, are you that person that has been struggling with finding a balance between shopping and saving?
If you’re not that person, you can stop reading right here and exit this page. However, if you’re that person, then this post is for you. Only a true shopaholic will be able to relate with this post.
As a fellow shopaholic, I totally understand the struggle of finding that balance between saving and shopping. To be honest, mine is on a slightly higher level, because I’m an extra glamorous little diva at heart, with an inexplicable love for aesthetically pleasing things and a taste for the finer things of life. So you can imagine how real the struggle is for me. It took an act of God for me to figure out how to balance both (despite the fact that I still struggle). I’m going to be sharing a few tips and tricks I have picked up over time that made finding a balance between saving and spending easier.
Have A Monthly Budget
Using your monthly income, create a money map that works for you. To be able to do this, you need to consult an expert or do your research. You also need to track your expenditure and categorize them into priority(eg rent, utility bills, feeding, etc) and luxury (eg gym, shopping, beauty, etc). Have a budget for each of your categories, giving a little wiggle room, to make the transition of spending less a little easier. Thus, when your income comes in, and you have safely moved your long term and short term savings away(and your emergency funds if you have any), you then allocate the percentage of said income that you have fixed for your priority and luxury expenditures to each of them respectively, by putting them in separate accounts. Thisis easier said than actually done, but with a lot of effort and most importantly, finding what works for you, it can be done.
And remember, no one says you should fix a tinee-tiny percentage for your luxury expenditure. It is pointless if you have to keep dipping back into your savings to satisfy some luxury. If it doesn’t work for you, be practical and adjust it as needed. However, you should try to not compromise on the percentage that goes into your savings. That is key (and frankly, the essence of this tip).
Make Some Mental Adjustments
This is the second most important tip of all. You need to sit yourself down and have “the Talk” with yourself. Adjust your mind to understand that you really will not die (even though it feels like it at the moment) if you do not give in to an urge to purchase an item impulsively. You need to educate yourself on marketing strategies aimed at tricking you into spend more (things like buy two get one free) and avoid falling for them. That a “sales” sign on the window of a store isn’t an invitation to you if you have exhausted your budget for the month. And finally, that it pays more in the end to save than it does to spend (I still don’t quite believe this myself yet, but we’re getting there slowly!)
Don’t Order/Buy Immediately.
I know this sounds a bit hard but it is doable and pays in the long run. Not buying an item you’re drawn to immediately, gives you time to think it over and figure out if you really need it, or if you’re buying it at a whim. If the former, you can possibly plan better by putting it in your budget for the next month or buy it if you have some wiggle room in the current month’s budget.
Make A List
This is your worst enemy I know. But trust me, you need this. I’m not even talking the regular type of list, I’m talking about a more long term list. So basically, you can have a list stored in your phone which you can edit from time to time. For this to be effective, you have to ensure that the only items that make it to your list are things you actually need and would use long term. Whenever you feel that urge to by something impulsively, you take a deep breathe, and (applying the tip above) add it to your “list”. You can have more than one list. You can also decide to categorize items too, in order of importance or by the nature of the items, etc. Each month, you can decide which items from your list to get. Its best to not have a fixed number of items, instead, to get as many as your fixed budget will permit. Don’t delete items you have bought off your list, check them off instead, that way you have a record to match your receipts when balancing out your financial books.
Use Your Social Media Features
Odd? Not so much. You see, my life changed for the better when I discovered Pinterest. It became like online shopping for me. Instead of putting items into my carts, I pin them to my boards. Some of these items, sometimes after months of being on my boards, eventually make it to my “list”, but most don’t make it past being on the board. And they eventually either get unpinned, or become completely forgotten.
The good thing about this tip is, you can apply it to other social media apps that somehow increase your urge to spend impulsively. E.g, on instagram, you can use the “Save to Collections” feature, while on twitter, you can use the “Bookmark” feature. Works like a charm.
Find Cheaper Deals or Alternatives
I’m still a novice at applying this, but I have found that it works when applied in a way to suit you and your needs. Note that this is not an encouragement to buy knock offs or do anything illegal in a bid to save cash. I would never support either.
Finding a cheaper deal when one is ready to make a purchase could mean scanning other stores/retailers to see if they have the same item on sale or for less. It could also involve, in the case of outfits, finding a way to recreate a particular look by using pieces in your closet. (or in the case of food, things you already have in your pantry) or opting fr a longer layover while traveling. You don’t necessarily have to compromise on quality, except if it doesn’t affect the essence or utility of the item.
I hope you find these tips helpful. I know I personally do. Let me know in the comments which of these you already apply. Also contribute by giving other tips you find helpful.