March 30, 2016

Shop Smart: Tips To Keep You Out Of Debt

Here's The Dilema


Well, I've said it before, and I'll say it again; I love to shop. Many of us do but I'm starting to learn that just because you CAN shop, doesn't mean you SHOULD shop, and that just because you HAVE a credit card, doesn't mean you MUST use it EVERY TIME you see something you want. (I know, that's a lot of CAPS but I really wanted to get my point across!)

I think the main problem we all face (shopaholics) is that we want to be happy and we associate happiness with having new things, when we see the things that other people have, well dammit, we want to have them too (typical coveting mindset). As much as I love social media platforms, they are evil for anyone trying to stop spending money (trust me, I know. Check out my "No-Spend Challenge" article.) particularly Instagram and YouTube because the fashion and beauty bloggers (love you girls!) have the amazing ability to make you want all the products that they buy and are reviewing. This is not a bad thing because they help us get more information before we make the commitment to purchase, however, those of us with impulse spending problems usually just want to hop online and buy it all (thanks a lot Amazon!).

So What's A Girl/Guy To Do?


I am certainly not suggesting that everyone should stop spending money on the things they want, cut up their credit cards and sell all their earthly possessions, no no that would be waaaay too extreme. I am only here to give some tips on how to get the things you want without the woes of credit card debt.

1. Shop like a Parisian: I have read several articles that mention some of the savviest shoppers hail from the city of love. They tend to stay away from the trendy, cheap fast-fashion and instead opt to save up (yes, just like our ancestors used to do before Visa, Mastercard and AMEX were a staple in our wallets) for high quality pieces (think: Balmain leather jacket, Chanel handbag, Louboutin Heels) that will be worn again and again and will stand the test of time in terms of their quality (see my post on "luxury fashion"). This may be difficult for those of us in North America because we like quantity over quality oftentimes and we usually prefer instant gratification its delayed counterpart.

2. Create A Pinterest Board: Each new season (or semi-annually) make a board dedicated to the looks that you want to adopt and the make a list of the items you already have and those that you need to purchase. Decide which items should be inexpensive (trendy items such as accessories should be from this category as they will only be "in" for a few seasons and then it will be something else so don't waste a lot of money here). The "classic: pieces like denim, jackets, t-shirts, sweaters and footwear (unless it's a "shoe-trend") should be of higher quality so you can get lot's of wear out of them, they won't fall apart on you, you will be comfortable in them and they are usually under warranty against defects.

3. Borrow From Peter To Pay Paul: I think that's how the saying goes, but in this case I mean sell some of the stuff you already own but don't wear in order to pay for new things that you will wear. There's no sense in hanging on to old clothing, shoes and accessories that just aren't your style anymore, so why not post them on a site like Kijiji, Craig's List, Ebay or Varage Sale and get at least some of your money back and you don't have to feel so guilty about your new purchases.

4. Buy Used: Some people may now be shuddering at the thought of buying something used but hear me out first! There are many ways to save a bit of cash on the things you buy and one of them is buying used. There are so many websites out now that are dedicated to selling gently used, high quality items such as handbags, shoes, jackets, sunglasses, you name it really. (Obviously I wouldn't recommend buying undergarments secondhand but you get the idea) These items are by no means "cheap" however they are the "top shelf" brands you crave, at a reduced price. The only caveat to this being that the items may be from "last season" but if you are ok with being slightly "behind the times", you can have a really nice wardrobe for a fraction of the cost of new.

If you simply cannot fathom the thought of buying your wardrobe used or not having the latest new arrivals on Net-A-Porter, then maybe consider buying other necessary items used such as furniture, home decor items, appliances and vehicles; this will leave you more money for that expensive, current wardrobe you crave!

5. Plan Ahead And Treat Yourself: Have you ever noticed that a lot of fashion articles and brand websites tout each new arrival as a "Must-Have Item"? Most of us (the ones with self-control issues) almost always believe this and buy into the hype (I'm a victim) but is it really a must-have? No, of course it's not, but even the mere suggestion that it is, is sometimes enough to send us into a buying frenzy,. So try as best you can to abstain from these impulse buys and instead plan your next fashion moves carefully, you'll be glad that you did! I do think that it is important to treat yourself to the things that you really, truly desire, and if you've been good and saved up for that Chanel bag, treasure it and give yourself a big pat on the back, you've definitely earned it!

To Sum It Up


Spending habits are tough to change, hell I've been trying to save and control my spending since I was about 18 and now at 32 I finally feel like I'm starting to get a hold on it. (at least I tell myself that I am). If there's one take away I want people to get from this article it is this; no amount of stuff will make you happy (at least not for long) but that doesn't mean you don't still need some stuff. On the other hand, no amount of stuff is worth being in debt for and sooner or later, you will need to start saving for your golden years so why not start sooner rather than later and make them a little bit more sunny? (think California, Florida, Arizona, or maybe if I'm lucky Whitehaven Beach, Australia!)

Sincerely

Erin
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