As the holidays approach, we are bombarded with ads about all the new and wonderful things we can buy. Marketers know how to appeal to our senses. We live in a society where we are taught that exchanging money for goods feels really, really great. Have you noticed how stores play cool music, use cute bags and packaging, and place unnecessary items right in your line of vision or at check out to make you consider buying what you were not intending? Did you really need that extra nail polish in the check out line at Forever 21, or that tenth tube of lipgloss from Target (even if it was cupcake flavored)? I know it is tempting, but we have better things to spend our precious money on.
The following are some tips to save your money and appreciate what you already have. Buying DOES NOT equal happiness!
1-When you go shopping, always make a list. Limit yourself to a particular budget, and make sure you remain within its limits.
2-Eat before you shop. I know those Auntie Anne's pretzels smell so good, and that the pumpkin spice latte is begging for you, but resist. These items are overpriced, unhealthy, and take money away from your name. Have a good, filling meal before you go shopping. and walk it off as you peruse the stores. This is good not only for your wallet, but for your digestion as well! It is always smart to take a walk after eating.
3-Of course we all run into temptation. Recently I saw a beautiful watch at Macy's, and considered dropping 100 dollars for it on the spot as a treat for me. Then I remembered that I already have one perfectly cute watch that I always forget to wear, so why buy another? When you see something cute, rack your brain and make sure you don't already own something similar. Nobody needs more than one watch, just like nobody needs 5 paris of dark wash skinny jeans. If you have it, don't buy it!
4- Sometimes we find something that just seems so cute and unique. We think its the bee's knees, until we take it home and realize that it goes with absolutely nothing we own. Do not buy something that requires you to remodel your entire wardrobe in order to accommodate it. Try to find fun items that match a diverse range of options. As you try on new shoes or tights or dresses, etc., mentally create different outfits to go with the potential purchase. Choose to buy the items that afford you the widest range of flexibility and creativity. This goes not only for fashion and dress, but for room accessories and house supplies as well. I know that Hello Kitty toaster is cute, but is that what you really want in your kitchen?
5-Mix and match! Change it up a little! Use accessories such as scarves, tights, jewelry, glasses, and hair pieces to create a new look, rather than buying new clothes outright. A statement necklace totally changes a look, and a funky scarf always livens up an otherwise plain ensemble. Tights are also a great way to mix and match different clothing items. Bold tights change a look, keep you warm, and are useful for combining otherwise non-compatible pieces!
When it comes to changing up your bedroom, try rearranging the furniture, using table cloths, curtains, candles-things you might already have in the house. You do not have to spend to recreate your room!
6-Thrift it, baby! I am always so surprised by how few of my friends use thrift stores. Thrift stores have unique, fun items to make your style stand out. and they are so cheap! Last week I bought a nice Lands End sweater, Talbots dress, a novel, and a fuchsia silk button down all for six dollars.All the items were in great shape, too! Going to a thrift store is like going on a treasure hunt. Plus, you are being environmentally conscious by recycling clothes and not wasting resources. Enjoy!
7-So you found something really cute and are considering making a purchase. Before you buy, sleep on it! Sometimes we get excited about a particular product, but soon realize it was not really that special. The initial excitement came from just wanting to buy something, anything, right? When there is something you think you want, sleep on it for a day. If you still think about the next day, then you can consider buying it. If not, you know you did not really want it. It was just an impulse.
8-Keep track of your expenses! List your expenditures regularly. Notice a lot of money going to sweet Starbucks goodness? You do not need al that caffeine, fat, and sugar, and you certainly don't need to spend 5 dollars on a drink that lasts 15 minutes. Keeping track of your spending helps you stay aware of the value of money, and helps prevent mindless, extravagant spending.
9-Do not be fooled! You know those ads that say "Spend 75 dollars and get a free tote bag"? First-you probably don't need said tote bag. Second, all those freebies are generally bad quality, worth only a few bucks anyway. If you really want a bag, just buy a bag. Don't be fooled into spending more money for freebies you don't even really want or need.
10-Be thankful for all that you have. Our consumer society wants us to associate good feelings with shopping. We are convinced that buying ourself treats- from the enth pair of jeans to the new trending cafe drink-will make us happy. Advertising is planned to make us associate happiness with material goods. Happiness comes from the inside, it is not something you can buy at the store.