I wasn’t always a smart shopper. In fact, I was the worst kind–determined and impulsive, which is the worst possible combination if you ask me. I’d buy anything I fancied, without even considering its value for money.
Does it fit right? Ohhhh I can always have it altered. (Kaching. More money lost.)
Will I be able to justify the price with the number of times I’ll be using it? Oh, I don’t know. It looks super pretty and I’m sure it’ll look awesome on me. (Once. Just once because it’ll just get lost in the bottomless pit that is my closet.)
Do I have something similar already? I don’t care. This is a tiny bit different! (And the saga continues.)
Is the quality good? Hmmm not so sure but at least it looks good. (Damaged after 2 uses.)
Do I need to save money for something better? Yeah, but I can always save next time. (I think you can easily see the red flag here.)
Should I use my card or cash? It doesn’t matter as long as I get to purchase my baby! (Happy until the bill arrives.)
You see a thought process like this (or lack thereof) is pretty dangerous, especially when it’s time to do some “adulting”. As I grew older and hopefully wiser, I started earning my own money which made me realize money doesn’t grow on trees. I began learning how to save money–not by giving up shopping altogether. (Oh dear Lord, what a nightmare that’ll be.) I just became a smart shopper–a shopper who looks for value for money and knows how to spot investment pieces and avoid impulse buys.
Hey, I’m no finance major, but I do major in shopping. So in the hopes of making the shopping world a safer place, I thought I’d share with you my tried and tested smart shopping tips.
1. Can’t decide if you should take the plunge and make the purchase? Sleep on it, weigh your options, and consult a smart shopper (not an enabler friend).
2. Don’t just buy something because the deal is too good to be true. Ask yourself, do you still like it if it’s not on sale? If your answer is no, then don’t buy it. Cheap or not, that’s still good money you’re wasting–good money you can spend on something you actually LOVE.
3. Quality over looks. (Just like when it comes to choosing who to date. Lol.) The item should be worth its price tag. Is the material good? Is the workmanship topnotch?
4. If you don’t know where or when to use it, then you don’t need it. You’re just wasting your money on something you’ll probably never use.
5. Shopping online? Make sure to read reviews. Don’t get duped.
6. Test an online shop first before you hoard. Buy one product. Get to know how it fits, how the quality is and how long it takes to get to you. Don’t buy a gazillion products only to get disappointed.
7. Canvass, canvass, canvass. Look for other options so you can find the best deal.
8. Be a smart shopper by making sure you’re making safe and secure purchases. Use something like PayMaya, an app that gives you a virtual Visa card that you can use for online purchases and a physical card as well for use in physical stores. With every purchase you make, you get notified via text so you know that you — and no one else — are using it. You don’t have to worry about bringing so much cash with you as well because you can easily go cashless and just use your PayMaya.
9. Keep track of your purchases. It’s easy to get carried away with credit cards and get buried in debt. But when you use a prepaid app or card like PayMaya, you’re spending real money–money you can keep track of and limit as you can view your real-time transaction history on the PayMaya app. In a way, it’s like you can set a budget to keep your expenses in check.
10. This last tip may sound foolish but it’s a serious problem so listen up and listen well. Don’t go shopping when you’re depressed. Yes, it’ll make you feel better but that cloud of depression looming over you can easily blind the smartest of shoppers. And when it passes, you’ll get buyer’s remorse so bad it’ll feel like the worst hangover ever.
There you have it. My top 10 tips to help you become a smarter shopper. No financial formulas. No scientific explanations. Just simple tips that I’ve come up with based on years and years of experience.
Hi, I’m Camille and I’m no longer an impulsive buyer. Nice to meet you.