Admit it, it’s so fun to shop that you often forget yourself when you’re out there in the mall. It’s like a big playground for kids where you can get everything you wantâ¦ if you have the money or credit card for it. But this is primarily the reason why many people find themselves in debt. They don’t have control over the way they spend. They let things get out of hand to the point that they purchase thousands’ worth of dollars of items they can neither afford nor truly need.
Shopping isn’t like calling an electrical repair man. It’s not an emergency. It wouldn’t cause a fire or damage to your home. There is now a law that requires you to shop. In any case, financial experts will tell you never to go overboard. When you shop, keep in mind how much you earn and the bills that keep piling up on top of your kitchen counter.
A smart shopper knows when to shop and when not to shop. You should know when you can afford to buy nice things for yourself and when, no matter how much you like a pair of shoes, you should stop yourself from reaching your credit card. Being an informed consumer will stop you from making unnecessary purchases that will get you stuck with a huge credit card debt.
Set a Budget
Set money every month for your shopping budget. You don’t necessarily have to spend that money in that month. You can pool the money and buy what you truly want. Remember not to spend more than what you set aside. If you still cannot afford that handbag you want, wait for a while until you have the money for it. As for using the credit card, do that only when it’s an emergency purchase. An expensive handbag is not a reason to use your credit card.
Spend time price matching the items you want. Before clicking that “add to cart” button, don’t forget to do a price match comparison. Sometimes, you can only save a fraction of the cost. But there are times that you can actually save a lot of money. It doesn’t hurt to visit the brick-and-mortar shop also because online stores don’t always offer the best prices.
Know the Return Policy and Warranty
No matter what you buy, whether clothes or gadgets or accessories, always check the store’s return policy. Despite doing your best research to make sure that the products are made of quality materials, you can never be too sure until it arrives at your doorstep. Or, in the case of buying from physical stores, until you take it home and use it for the first time. It’s always great to know that you can return these products if there’s something wrong with it.
Another thing that you should consider is the warranty of the products you’re buying. There are two kinds of warranties: the one from the manufacturer and the one from the distributor. You never know what could go wrong in the future, and that’s why warranties are important.
Buy During End-of-season Sales
When the season for warm clothing is over, these pieces will have reduced price tags on them. Many of them will get a 75% cut from their original prices. For example, swimsuits will be cheaper in September while sweaters and coats will be discounted by April. If you don’t necessarily to be fashionable and trendy, you can get last season’s shoes and clothes for half their original prices.
Look out also for big sale events. You know about Thanksgiving and Memorial Day sales, but there are lesser-known holidays and celebrations, too. Do you know that there’s an Espresso Day in November? How about the National Employee Appreciation Day? Some businesses actually make use of these days to market their products and services.
It takes a lot of self-control to stop yourself from buying something you truly want. But every time you’re about to hand over your credit card to the cashier, ask yourself this question: do I need this item? Do you want it? Or, were you merely influenced by what you saw on social media? This is especially true for big-ticket items. Don’t buy the moment you see it. Wait a few days or a week before giving into it. That will prevent impulse buying.
Being a sensible and informed shopper is not just about finding the best items on sale. It’s about making sure you can afford these items and making sure that you are not being hoodwinked out of your hard-earned money. Make every purchase count.