Sunday, July 18, 2010

How to Shop without Spending Money

It's a commonly accepted idea that by shopping you are going out for an entire day and coming hope with a significantly lighter wallet, however, this doesn't always have to be the case.

Shopping can be used for many other things than to simply "get stuff". You can use this activity to see what is available, unique, and trendy. You can shop for social reasons. 

But shopping doesn't have to cost you a dime.

1. To help prevent impulse buys (oh, God, how I know the impulse buy), avoid getting bored. So you're thinking "How the hell do you do that?" well, it's easier than it seems. Say you're in the city or an iconic place for shopping, there are most likely going to be PLACES that are worth visiting too, whether it be a memorial statue or a funny coloured tree, most public places will have areas of attraction, especially if you are somewhere tourists love.

2. If there is no way of avoiding "the act", take time choosing which brand, style, design and make you like the best. You can also use this to compare prices, which will help save you money, but some things you will be looking for will be something you love, something that will last, and most importantly, something you'll use
So many people, including myself, buy things for the first two reasons and hope that by having this object it will get some use. By comparing different brands, styles and designs you will be spending a lot of time around the product and get to know what makes a good one. You will also see if you will get sick of it, if, by halfway through the day, you find yourself wanting to look at other products or distracted by other shelves, chances are you don't need it all too bad.

3. Enjoy the browsing experience. The general series of events that bring about spending is as such: 

  1. You find yourself without something or in need of something, lets say shoes. Your shoes have all either broken or are so close to being done for it's time for some new ones.  
  2. You think of what you want. So you've used all your shoes to an oblivion and need new ones, what are you looking for? Sneakers, heels, flats, this is the brainstorming process.
  3. The browse.
  4. The buy.
Quite often, browsing can be the best part of shopping, but people get ahead of themselves and get excited about the last step, the buy. This basically means they don't savour the browsing experience and just settle for whatever, and, as I mentioned in the tip before, it's best to go slowly and keep your options open.

4. Look for a cheaper version through friends and on the internet. A lot of the time you will find what you're looking for much cheaper from people around you, they no longer need it anymore and simply want to get rid of it, or on the web, where you get people you don't know doing the same thing. Or you have shops and retailers selling their products cheaper through wholesalers and the likes.

5. Set a budget and schedule. So you've heard of a budget, but what the hell has a schedule got to do with anything? Say you're going to completely overhaul your wardrobe, you've be looking for shirts, skirts, pants, shorts, shoes, hats and sunglasses (or a shorter list similar). If you head to your shopping destination only knowing that you need new clothes, you'll end up wasting time and money on the first item on your list, in this case shirts, and this means you will end up with more shirts than you need and less money than you want. Set a budget and a time limit to spend on each of the items you want and also the stores you will be shopping in.
To help with your budget, take out the cash you are wanting to spend and leave all your cards at home. This means that once you've spent your money, you can't keep going. One of the problems with credit cards and debit cards is that you take it into account of how much you have to spend. Lets say you've taken out $50 in cash, but still have all your cards. When trying to organise your spending LIMIT, you will occasionally add the money you have in your account/s.  Leaving your cards at home means that you have a limited spending amount. 

Also be sure to have your amount segregated into the different categories you want to spend on, ie. out of the $50 you have, $5 on food, $10 on shirts, $15 on skirts etc etc. (This is an unreasonable limit and won't actually get you much, use for example purposes only.)

As you can see, these are 5 very simple tips on how to shop without blowing all your money or to spend a lovely day browsing and "window-shopping" for free.

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