“Buy what you don’t have yet, or what you really want, which can be mixed with what you already own. Buy only because something excites you, not just for the simple act of shopping.” – Karl Lagerfeld
Shopping can be rewarding or maddening. We buy stuff we need. We buy stuff we want. And we buy stuff we neither need nor want, not always knowing why. What we found is that the why doesn’t always make sense. Yes, there are clever marketers who provide us with endless reasons to buy, but at the end of the day, nobody puts a gun to our wallets. So, the best protection against imprudent purchases is to be aware of what’s influencing us. This is especially true if you’re running a business and need to keep your budget intact. Shopping smarter is key.
Here are five tips to help you be more mindful with your money:
1. Create a list of your go-to brands.
Having a list of go-to brands is like having a secret weapon. Think about brands. They design with their ideal client in mind, and you better believe they have her profiled in detail. There are literally thousands of brands out there and they each target a different type of person. So, your brands are out there! Explore one brand at a time on sites. When you find one that screams you, add it to your list and make notes about the specific things that fit you there. When you are in need of a party dress, just check your list and rely on your brand. You will save so much time.
And one last thought about getting the right pieces. When you stick with quality brands, you’ve got insurance: you can be sure that the pieces you buy will be quality..
2. Don’t let the store scramble your “reference price,” either.
This marketing term refers to the price that you expect to pay for something (because you have bought that item several times before), and retailers are quite adept at messing with it. Take, for example, a can of tuna. The price in your head is probably around $2.25. But by shrinking the size of the can from six ounces to five, the sellers are making more money, even though the price looks unchanged to you. Sure, when the kids are wailing and you’re in a hurry, you aren’t going to study every price-weight fluctuation. But being aware of this sleight of hand could save you money from time to time.
3. Do holiday shopping right after the holidays.
Most people use this technique for Christmas, but it works for every holiday. Wait until about two days after a holiday, then go out shopping for items you need that are themed for that day. Get a Mother’s Day card for next year the day after Mother’s Day. Get Easter egg decorating kits the day after Easter, and Halloween decorations on November 1. Get wrapping paper, cards, bows, and gift bags the day after Christmas. The discounts are tremendous, and you can just put this stuff in the closet until next year.
4. Buy used when you can.
You can often find the exact item you want with a bit of clever shopping at used equipment stores, used game stores, consignment shops, and so on. Just make these shops a part of your normal routine, go there first when looking for potential items and you will save money. Clothes, for example, often cost pennies on the dollar when bought used; even if they were only worn once. By buying used most of the time, you can save a ton of cash.
5. Start Clicking and Stop Printing.
First and foremost, be sure to use online coupons in addition to printable coupons. If you do come across an expired or faulty coupon, finding a replacement by doing a quick online search is much easier than if you are already at the store in a checkout line.
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6. Invest in a Personal Shopper
One of the best ways to shop smarter is to hire the services of a personal shopper. You stay home or attend to other appointments while someone else does the shopping for you. Besides, being in the store can be tempting. How many times have you gone in with a list of 10 items and come home with 20?
A personal shopper will only purchase what’s on your list, helping you to stick to your budget. Last minute items can still be added, but you won’t be tempted by flashy displays or trinkets at the register. Ready to get started? Click here to hire a personal shopper in Chicago.
What tips do you use to shop smarter? Add them in the comments.