Frustrated by how much stuff you own that you’ve bought in the spur of the moment but that you’ve never used or really loved?
Let me share my 11 top shopping tips that will help you reduce this frustration while saving you time and money.
BEFORE YOUR SHOPPING TRIP
1. Have a list of things you need to buy. You should carry this list with you all the time so that if you have time between meetings or appointments, you can quickly check whether there are any items on your list that you could find where you are.
2. Have a list of the exact specifications of essential items. My list includes our mattresses, pillows, and quilt sizes, my printer cartridges’ reference number, my dining table size, etc. Maybe you want to add your kids’ clothes and shoe sizes etc. If you are buying furniture or organising products, measure twice to buy once. That will eliminate the risk of having to return items that don’t fit or of creating clutter.
3. Research beforehand the places where you can find what you need, especially for items you don’t buy on a regular basis. Get their exact address. Check their website or make a call to make sure they have the item you need in stock before making the trip to the shop.
4. Organise your errands by geographical area. Ok, Singapore is not such a large city yet you can save a significant amount of time by consolidating your errands by geographical area/shopping mall.
5. Timing is essential. Pick a time that’s right for you, when you feel energetic rather than tired, grumpy, or hungry. If you can afford, avoid peak hours so that you don’t feel the unavoidable pressure of a congested mall – Orchard Road on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is a killer for me! Give yourself a time limit so that you don’t end up wandering aimlessly after a while.
DURING YOUR SHOPPING TRIP
6. Shop with purpose. As much as possible, try to stick to your shopping list. If you are tempted to buy something that was not on your list, ask yourself whether you really need it. If you can, walk away and give yourself some time to think about it.
If you still feel strongly about the item after a while, then go back and get it. Now if you were to find the perfect dress for a special occasion, then buy it! Ok, I might be biased here as that’s what I did while being on my year without clothes shopping, but sometimes we have to recognise and seize an opportunity when it arises.
7. Avoid buying multiples of the same item. I very frequently find the same shirt/dress/shoes etc. in at least 2 different colours or patterns in my clients’ closets. Well truth be told, I have one blouse in 2 colours. But the thing is that we always have a favourite that we end up wearing more than the other. So if that’s your case, try to settle for your favourite in the shop. Sometimes the need to buy multiples goes away when we take stock of what we have in our closets. And if you still want to buy the item in other colours or patterns after a while, at least you’ll know which one would be a good addition to your wardrobe. At the end of the day, most people value diversity over uniformity.
8. Resist buying on sales unless it’s on your shopping list. In the same vein avoid “buy one get one free” products unless you’re a regular user of the item and you can use it by its expiry date if any.
9. Take your time to check the measurements or to try clothes on. This will save you not only money but also time if you have to proceed to an exchange.
10. Shop alone. Some people see shopping as a social activity or like to get their friends’ opinions. That’s nice of course, but be aware that friends have a tendency to influence you to buy things you didn’t really need. Learn to trust your instincts and your opinions, I think deep down you know what you like or what fits you.
AFTER YOUR SHOPPING TRIP
11. Find a home for the items you’ve bought as soon as you reach home. Remove the tags. Only then it’ll feel like they belong in your life and you’ll be more inclined to use them.
We’re all human and it’s difficult to resist temptation. But if you follow the tips above, I am quite sure you can reduce your spur-of-the-moment purchases and have a much more satisfying shopping experience. I’d love to hear which tip has worked for you so please feel free to add a comment below. In the meantime, happy shopping!