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Five tips to prevent overspending

Here are some ways to cut back on spending, especially during sale season.

Alicia Ang
Alicia Ang

Strength: Memorising lyrics. Weakness: Having least 144 tabs open at all times.


Published: 5 October 2021, 2:36 PM

Between online shopping, thrifting and retail stores, consumers are spoilt for choice. That, combined with the uncertainty that the pandemic and ever-changing restrictions have brought, means that a lot of people have turned to retail therapy.

However, overspending – especially during a time of economic uncertainty – can lead to a lot of stress once the shopping high wears off. 

To help alleviate that, here are five tips you can use to stop overspending this sale season.

1. Ask yourself if you would have bought this three years ago

For example, do the cut of those jeans suit you, or are they just all the rage at the moment? Would a leopard print bag fit in the style you’ve established for yourself over the years, or would it clash?

Asking yourself this can determine if something has staying power among the rest of your possessions. This may not work for everyone since our interests and styles are always evolving. However, if it’s something you think will consistently attract you, then you’ll be more likely to use it in the future.

Alternatively, you can also ask yourself if you think it will still be useful to you three years in the future. 

 

woman-sorting-through-racks-of-clothes
It can be easy to get distracted once you’re surrounded by options. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA

 

2. Before you start shopping, make a list of things you need and want.

This seems simple, but is surprisingly easy to forget once you’re surrounded by racks of clothes or staring at deals online.

Writing down what you’re shopping for makes it harder to get distracted by the other items in the store, and helps you stay focused all the way to checkout. 

You can also take photos of what you have at home, to prevent buying something that looks similar or that performs the same function.

3. Look away from your cart and try to remember what’s in it

When you have a lot of things in your cart, it can be overwhelming to look through them one at a time to decide what to take out. 

This applies especially to online shopping and thrift shopping, when prices are cheaper and it’s easier to buy a lot of things at once. 

To avoid this, look away from your cart or basket for a few minutes. You could go get a drink if you’re online shopping, or walk around the shop if you’re in a brick and mortar store. 

When you return, list out the things you remember adding to your cart. If something doesn’t make the list, you might not have needed or really wanted it.

 

bright-red-sale-sign-in-a-store
Sales can make products you didn’t want seem more enticing. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA

 

4. Ask yourself if you would you buy this at full price

Sale season can make products look extra enticing. After all, new sneakers always look better when the price tag says $70, not $120. Plus, if you’ve been saving up for something, discounts are an added bonus.

However, great deals can eventually feel like clutter. If you no longer want the item when it’s marketed at retail price, you might have just wanted an attractive deal instead of the item itself.

5. Unsubscribe from email newsletters

This is arguably the most important when it comes to shopping online, especially during sale season: 10.10, Black Friday, Cyber Monday etc. 

When you sign up for a store membership it can score you redeemable points or a members-only discount. However, those perks usually come with newsletters, advertisements for holiday sales, and promotions in your email.

Not only do these clutter your inbox, they also keep you constantly aware of the brand. This could lead to unnecessary purchases, or make you more likely to spend when the brand has a sale. By unsubscribing from these promotional emails, it makes it easier to spend only when you need to, and not on a whim.


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