Being a shopaholic may sound harmless, but it can be a serious problem. A teensy shopping spree here and there can soon turn into a daily occurrence, leaving your bank account in trouble. The good news is your shopping addiction can be managed to be made less expensive. By making the following lifestyle adjustments, you can quickly be on your way to saving money while getting the retail therapy you love.
1. Time your trips
The cost of your favorite items will largely vary based on the time of year. As such, you can keep your shopping addiction affordable by timing your excursions so that they coincide with discount-heavy holidays like Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and the mother of all retail events: Black Friday. Take the time to think about how urgently you need something before buying it. In reality, you will survive if you delay the purchase a few weeks. And patiently waiting to own it will make getting it all the more sweet!
2. Read mail catalogs
Though the retail world has largely turned digital, there are still plenty of physical stores that send exclusive coupons to their loyal customers by mail. Stores like Macy’s, JCPenney, and Victoria’s Secret are known for their catalogs, which show you the latest merchandise, update you on upcoming in-store promotions, and provide exclusive discounts. With these booklets saving your hard-earned cash, you’ll find yourself looking forward to checking the mail.
3. Stick to a list
In the same way a grocery list lets you narrow down and plan your food expenses, having a monthly shopping list can similarly help you manage your retail spending. Throughout February, write down everything you’d like to buy come March. By the end of the month, repeat items, unnecessary accessories, or things you already have, should be crossed off one by one. Whittle down your list to just a few items, then stick to it when you finally get to the mall.
4. Download a money-management app
On a day-to-day basis, apps like Mint, Goodbudget, or Mvelopes can help you better plan your finances. These apps will create your budget based on your income, and allow you to set personal spending goals (such as staying under $150 per month on new clothes). They can also send you regular notifications if you’re nearing or jeopardizing your goals, and having this little voice telling you to stop can really make you think twice before making big purchases.
5. Check out subscription services
For frequent shoppers, getting new things provides an instant, exhilarating buzz. You feel a little high every time you swipe your credit card, then rush home to unwrap your latest buys. However, this burst of excitement is addicting, and runs the risk of diminishing your savings — or worse, putting you into debt. A great way to get your shopping fix without breaking the bank is to enroll in a subscription service.
For beauty lovers, Birchbox delivers personalized makeup, skin care, and hair care products to your door each month. For fashionistas, Stitch Fix has stylists who send a cute package of clothes that match your size, style, and needs. With subscription services, you’ll get the rush of opening new things, while sticking to a fixed, low payment each month.
6. Head to the outlets
Where you shop makes a huge impact on how much you’re likely to spend. So, instead of returning to luxury boutiques that will drain your wallet, try paying a visit to your nearest outlet mall. You’d be surprised at how many incredible brands have outlet stores, with all of their merchandise available at seriously discounted rates. At outlet malls, you’ll find your budget can actually stretch a long way.
7. Make the most of the internet
When you go into your favorite store, you’ll have to accept whatever prices are listed on tags. However, you’ll find many e-commerce websites may carry the same article on sale. Polyvore is an incredible tool for saving money on shopping and comparing prices at different stores. For example, by searching “black leather backpack,” you can set your spending limit and see the hundreds of stores that sell exactly what you’re looking for at competitive prices. Google Shopping, Lyst, and even Amazon are great options for comparing prices from various retailers.
8. Consider buying second-hand
As much as we all love designer handbags, shoes, and clothing, do you really need to own them brand new? If you’re willing to look past the fact they’re pre-owned, many luxury items are kept in mint condition and sold at a fraction of the cost at thrift and consignment stores. By shopping second-hand, you can find some real gems (vintage, designer, or otherwise) that majorly elevate your wardrobe without putting you into debt.
9. Strike a balance by selling as much as you buy
A great way to keep your shopping addiction affordable is to strike a healthy balance that helps you break even. By this, we mean for every item you buy, you must also sell one. Poshmark is an extremely popular platform for buying and selling clothing online. You can make money from clothes that are just sitting unused in your closet, and these earnings can then be put towards your next purchase. Plus, it makes room for the pieces that are coming in.
10. Subscribe to brand emails
We realize everyone hates spam, but sometimes those promotional messages contain discount gold. By subscribing to brand emails, you can stay up to date on the latest offers and discounts. Most stores will even give you a personalized promo code just for signing up.