Shop on Budget

Shopping Smart and Looking Fabulous.

Buying clothes the budget-friendly way!

By Stephanie Cláudia Gonçalves

When was the last time you bought something because it made you feel better? How often do you indulge in retail therapy when you are feeling down? While studies have shown that shopping in moderation can lift a person’s mood, it can quickly turn into a coping mechanism.

If you choose to shop every time that you are in a bad mood, watch out.

An addiction could be settling in.

One basic way to become more financially intelligent, is to shop for clothes on a budget. Here are a few quick tips on how to look fabulous while on a budget without compromising your financial (or mental) health:

THINK. Before a purchase, ask yourself these questions:

“Do I actually need this item? Or am I only buying it because it is on sale?

“Can I afford this item?” – Have a good think about this question.

“Do I already own something similar?”

“How often would I wear this item?”

By questioning your motive for spending, you will identify whether the item will be an impulse purchase or whether it is worth your money.

Consumers tend to buy on impulse because of emotions, image, adhering to status quo or because they are less likely to think of the consequences of a purchase.

Pro Tip: Outlet malls, factory shops and clearance stores are your best friends. Those promo-codes, discounts and offers are always a blessing!

If you want to get your financial act together, it is important to consider cost-efficient alternatives. On your next shopping spree, why don’t you visit an outlet mall, a factory shop or a clearance store? You can find designer labels for more than half of the original price in these stores. Always make sure to double check the items because these stores may sometimes carry damaged goods.

Be extra careful during the Holiday Season!

The hype around holiday sales makes it very difficult to not overspend. Experian, a credit monitoring service, conducted a survey and found that 60% of consumers had difficulty with their finances after spending during the holiday season. A quick fix to this problem is to plan ahead with your gift purchases. As for clothes, spend your money on good quality clothes. Avoid seasonal or Fast Fashion.

#1 Out of Season? Let’s shop!

Buy your clothes and shoes from last season. For example, retailers will get rid of their winter collection through sales during the springtime. It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the sale cycles.

#2 Cash only, please!

Do you always use a credit card during a shopping spree? Then you may be overspending. Credit cards redirect your focus on the benefits on an item as opposed to its costs. Next time consider using hard cash to pay for a purchase because it is actually more painful than using credit cards (Ariely and Kreisler, 2017).

#3 Lazy afternoons are the best time to shop!

Before all of the best goodies get snatched, it is best to come as early as possible to the shops. This tip is particularly effective during the sale season. Walking in during rush hour will create a sense of panic and urgency, which gives you less time and space to think about your spending decisions.

#4 Shop Online!

With so many options to choose from, online shopping may be your best bet to look stylish whilst on a budget. It is easier to compare prices and deals from different stores online. Furthermore, better prices are available online because you can find products directly from the producer without involving the middleman. Just don’t forget to check the shipping fees.

#5 Keep it neutral!

Black, white, beige, grey and nude coloured clothes tend to match with everything, and they do not have to be expensive.

#6 Basics first!  

Sometimes, buying new clothes can put a strain on your bank account. You can help yourself by always making sure that you have all of the basics. Plain t-shirts, plain button downs, leggings, black trousers, plain skirt and plain jeans are items that you should always have. You can wear the basics numerous times, styled with different accessories (e.g. jewelry, hats, belts, scarves). That way people will not gawk at you for wearing the same outfit twice.

#7 Get paid for your Loyalty!

Many stores offer loyalty programs that allow you to redeem points in order to get a discount on your next shopping trip. Members may receive “Buy two, get one free” deals or free shipping when paying a certain amount in one transaction. However, there is a catch. These types of deals can leave shoppers spending more than they initially planned to. To avoid being coerced by such deals, write a list or plan out the items that you are planning to buy before shopping.

Pro tip: On a side note, if you are a student, many stores offer student discounts so make sure to always keep your student ID on you.

It is not challenging to manage a good financial health whilst also going out to treat yourself. All you have to do is stay alert and remember these tips!

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