Sometimes all it takes is a few switches to create a very different outcome. Here are 4 habits to switch now which will significantly change the way you shop and ultimately save you money and prevent more clutter items from entering your home.
Habit Switch #1
Old: Living Without a Budget
It is so easy to check your bank balance and think 'I've got plenty of cash, lets go shopping'. Before you know it, you've accidentally spent the money you needed for your upcoming electricity bill, can't afford to pick up your dry cleaning and are spending the last few days before pay-day eating beans on toast; all whilst looking around a room full of cool bargains which suddenly don't seem to be such 'must have' items after-all.
New: Have a Budget
The key to living without fear of running out of cash and being able to buy what you need is to really know where your money goes, give every dollar a job and plan for all your expenses - both the boring and the fun ones. Yep, you need a budget. I personally use the program You Need a Budget (YNAB) and recommend it to my friends and family. It is easy to see what your expenses are & allocate funds to cover them all; and allow yourself some fun money too. No more being caught short!
Habit Switch #2
Old: Shopping to Kill Time
Find yourself just ‘popping in for a look’ because you have time to spare or you’re bored? To prevent adding unnecessarily things to your home and spending money accidentally (those extra items add up fast) avoid using the act of shopping to fill in time or to entertain yourself. This is the path to a full house filled with things you don’t love or need, and an empty wallet!
New: Targeted and Deliberate Shopping
Make an agreement with yourself that you will only shop for what you need, when you need it. Decide ahead of time what you’re looking for; the elements an item needs to be the right choice for you. If you can, shop according to the way an item meets those needs; not according to the cost. If price is a challenging factor, build it into your budget and plan for it, or utilise a payment plan or lay-by (options which don’t attract interest). You can give yourself the gift of better quality items when you stop randomly shopping for pleasure and entertainment, and start saving and target shopping for the things you really need.
Habit Switch #3
Old: Only Shopping the Sales
Sales racks seem to have an affect of blinding us to the problems an item has. A top on sale with sleeves which are too short doesn’t suddenly grow longer sleeves when you add it to your wardrobe! A vacuum which doesn’t have the swivel head you needed will always prove to be a source of frustration. Sadly, the problems doesn’t go away just because you got it on sale, and those annoyances will ultimately mean you won't use what you bought.
New: Remove the Sale Blindfold
Ask yourself ‘would I be prepared to pay full price for this’? In other words, is this item on sale exactly the right thing for me? If the answer is yes and it's in your budget, great - grab that bargain! If the answer is no, don’t let the sale price blind you to the problems. You will end up wasting all the money you spent on it, and adding to your clutter problems. It is only a bargain if you love it and use it.
Habit Switch #4
Old: Granting Yourself Cheap Shop Permission
Are you drawn to op-shops or dollar stores because of the cheap items and the potential to make a great find? Just because an item is cheap, doesn’t mean you should buy it. Even if it’s great quality, even if it’s hard to get. Yes you may find a size 8 Chanel suit at the op-shop; but if you’re a size 12 and it doesn’t fit, it’s not a bargain - it’s a trap!
New: Avoid Avoid Avoid!
Avoid the places you know sap your money and resolve. If past behaviour shows you always walk out of op-shops or dollar stores with things you don’t need, or way more than you intended on buying, try to avoid them all-together. If you can’t avoid them, write a list before going into it, and stick to that shopping list! Maybe even bring an accountability partner with you!