Many of us love shopping, but often find ourselves either pressed for time or guilty that we overspent on shopping. You actually need to plan for your shopping trips and this post may be quiet handy.
Just walk across a market area or a mall or a departmental store and the scores of people you find there at all times, can be ample testimony to the fact that people love to shop. No wonder there are words like ‘retail therapy’ floating around everywhere. We even love to shop among roadside vendors, local shops and more. We just love to shop. But we shop unplanned and then come back complaining that we ‘forgot that item’ or ‘why did we buy this item’ and ‘why we let that item go’. Hey! ‘Retail therapy’, it’s supposed to make you happy isn’t it? But why is it so often that people come back with some sort of disappointment or guilt after shopping. It is because we don’t plan shopping trips that well.
Really, if you need to use ‘retail therapy’ don’t come back stressed or missing out on stuff or feel guilty about it. It beats the whole purpose. Don’t do stuff that you feel guilty about. Plan your shopping. Yes, there are simple ways to Plan your shopping trips. Let’s have a look at ways to make the most of shopping trips and truly enjoy ‘retail therapy’.
1. Take a Day off for Shopping:
You love me already don’t you? A day off for shopping, what else can a person who loves to shop ask for. Yes, take a day off for shopping. This will get you all the time in the world for your shopping, so it at least cuts down on the part where you feel “….if only I had more time…” What it also does is that it will not make you feel like going back to shopping soon after. You will have had the time and if you are sensible enough you will be satisfied with that. Don’t be in a rush to go to work or attend some event or meet a friend anytime soon when you shop.
2. Get someone who shares your interest in shopping:
You surely don’t want to go for shopping with someone who has no interest in shopping. Yes people who are ‘allergic’ to the ‘retail therapy’. When you have someone who is just not into shopping, it will cause stress to you and to them, when you peacefully stare at that dress for hours without buying it or try those clothes on umpteenth time before rejecting all of them, or go through the groceries section once more. Ideally go alone, but if you have to take someone take someone who is patient with shopping and stuff so you are not too stressed with it.
3. Carry Cash or at least set a fixed budget and STICK to it:
Happy so far? Took a day off, got someone along who will let you shop till you drop and all. Great! But now maybe you will stop liking me. Yeah! Make a BUDGET. Shopping is enjoyable only when it is done within means. Trust me, you don’t want to regret buying that expensive smart phone that you realize doesn’t fit in your pocket or be used with a single hand, or that expensive dress that you don’t get enough chance to wear, or those EMIs on credit card just because you thought you had to buy something and then the credit card bill upset you. Budget your shopping trip and then if possible carry cash for that much and stick to it. You will be free of unwanted expenses and stress of overspending.
4. Have a list of things you want to buy:
The other aspect of shopping is ‘Buyer’s Remorse’ or I like to call it ‘PSSD’ or ‘Post Shopping Stress Disorder’. It’s the feeling you get when you realize “why on earth I bought this?” or “why did I spend so much?” or “I still couldn’t buy that.” To avoid this, carefully make a list or things you wish to buy; be it groceries, clothes, accessories whatever. Write down and follow it. This way you can be sure of what all you ‘needed’ to buy and don’t get unwanted stuff and feel guilty over it and neither will you ‘forget’ stuff that you needed. Even if your budget can accommodate something more, but you don’t need it, please don’t buy it. It will cause that guilt trip all over again and you surely want to remember your shopping experience with a smile and no guilt and “if only I had or hadn’t….”
5. Go when the stores are less crowded:
So once you are set with a list and budget, pick a time when the stores are less crowded. That’s the whole point of keeping a day off for shopping, so that you can go at a time when you can shop freely and without distraction. You surely don’t want to be trying too many clothes when there is a queue at the trial rooms, or wait at the billing counter’s queue for an hour and then fret over the waste of time. Also going when the store is less crowded will give you time to carefully review your list and calculate the remaining budget after a purchase and buy accordingly. There will be less impulse purchases or you won’t forget things in a hurry.
6. Check for Discount on stuff you want and NOT what the store wants to sell:
When you plan your shopping trip, check discounts and offers as a lot of stores will have them right through the season. There are end of season sales, stock clearance sales, season preview sales, and what not. But be careful; don’t buy stuff because it’s on sale but you don’t need it because that way you are buying what the store is trying to sell and not what you need to buy. Go through your list and then try and search for sales in that category and not the other way round. Don’t accommodate items for sale in your list. You may even ask for discounts on stuff if you know that it is priced slightly lower at a competitor’s place. Stuff like gadgets and electronics have scope for bargaining, even at upmarket stores. Try these tricks here to bargain even in malls and upmarket stores.
7. Pause before you buy:
To avoid any sort of guilt post your shopping trip, always wait and pause before adding that item to your shopping cart. Wait, think and count to 10 maybe, whatever. Think of moments when you regretted some decision earlier due to impulse buying. This will cut down on a lot of unwanted buying and also save some cash. Also don’t buy stuff just because you have some budget left over. If any amount is left over, put it back in the savings jar or piggy bank.
Planning your shopping well can be a great way to truly make the most of your shopping trips. Plan well and stick to the plan. Shopping can be good to relieve stress but often times it causes stress and results in huge bills that we regret while paying. Don’t let this happen to you. Be careful and smart about shopping and curb urges to over spend.