We all know going shopping—even if it’s just “window shopping”— which means you’re probably going to spend some money.
But just how much money can be affected by outside factors.
You may find yourself going out for eggs and come back with two outfits and a giant hole in your pocket.
By being aware of your mood and common retail tricks, you can help save yourself some green and post-purchase guilt.
Retail therapy is only soothing when your budget and house space can afford it. And even if you can afford to shop, do you need the items you’re buying?
Many people use shopping as an escape from depression, anger or stress, but don’t take in account the stress that may come afterward regarding your finances.
It’s best to escape to a free or set price location. Libraries, parks, walking trails and museums are a great way to give your mind a break without having to pay for it.
Another mood to avoid is envy. Feeling envious of someone else’s belongings or lifestyle can give you a false sense of entitlement. It may feel good to rebel against circumstances and splurge for a flashy pair of shoes, but the feeling may only last so long before you need another boost.
If you’ve avoided your favorite foods to shed a few pounds, or you’ve been skipping out on the smoke breaks, be on your toes when shopping.
When facing such energy-depleting challenges an impulse buy may be even harder to fight. So before you go out, prepare your mind to keep purchases focused.
If you start accumulating items in your cart at one store, you put yourself at risk for catching a case of “Oh well, what’s one more thing?”
You lose your sensitivity to budgeting, so attempt to hit up multiple stores or put yourself on a timer with a focused shopping goal.
When you shop with a list, you’re giving yourself the best odds to prevent impulse buys. In the grocery store alone, those without a list spend about $25-50 more.
A shopping budget helps you with an even bigger question: Do I really need this? Having a stipend helps you prioritize your purchases and prevents you from splurging on useless items.
Going shopping simply because there is a sale is bad news. Period. It’s a trap to spend money you weren’t going to for things you didn’t need.
Not only that, but many find themselves in a giant crowd for an advertised sale only to see an empty shelf for the product advertised. To justify going out or to cope with the disappointment, people still shop and the trap proves itself successful.
Another detail to pay attention to is the way items are priced. An item may be marked down from $30.99 to $29.99, but a change in that first digit tends to make us think we’re getting a great deal.
Scratch cards are fun. We all like to win, so receiving a scratch card that allows us to “win” a certain percentage or dollar amount off our purchase leads us into a trap to purchase more than we intended.
Delayed coupons have the same effect by increasing the number of times we visit the store. Free gifts are not free if they require you to spend a certain amount of money.
Sure, it’s nice to get a gift if you were already going to purchase the requirements, but if not, you’re just wasting your money.
Photo thanks to Charleston’s TheDigitel via a creative commons license from Flickr