Buying is so much easier than it used to be, and it’s not only a good thing. We are constantly tempted to impulse shopping and consume more and more. The overconsumption of clothing is not only ruining our personal budgets, but it’s damaging the environment too. Shopping must become more sustainable, and we can master it by following a simple rule: buy less, choose well.
The greatest benefit of traditional shopping is that you can see and sometimes test the product before making a purchase. Now, we buy a lot of things online. It’s always a bit of a surprise when the package arrives, and we can finally see and examine the products. Unfortunately, the surprise isn’t always positive if the items don’t meet our expectations. Sometimes we regret the purchase for other reasons. That’s why our cabinets and closets get packed with unused stuff.
How to tackle this issue is simply buying less stuff. It doesn’t mean you have to stop all shopping and start living ascetic, but you have to become a smart shopper. If you choose your purchases well, you surely will buy less. With these 13 tips, you can make better decisions and not feel guilty when buying something.
1. Know your budget
Track your finances and define your budget for each month to monitor your money. List all the things you want to purchase, so you’ll see how much money you need to reserve or if you have to give up on buying something. Also, it will help you to prioritize your purchases. Figure out what are the habits that drain your budget and how you choose the things you buy. If you find patterns that require an improvement, start making changes!
2. Be certain about it
Be sure that you really need and want the item you’re about to buy before making the purchase. Especially if you’re buying something expensive, you have to be convinced that it fits you and serves your needs 100%. Think about the advantages and disadvantages in the long-term. When you’re not sure about a purchase, the better choice is always not to buy. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.
3. Quality over quantity
You don’t need the best of everything, but it certainly pays off to make sure you’re investing in good quality products. Narrow down the number of items to one or a couple of good ones. If you want to save money, don’t buy the cheapest option. You might be able to buy several cheap items, but unfortunately, the price utterly tells you everything about how thorough the manufacturing process has been. Oftentimes the cheap products are not well designed and tend to be uncomfortable to use. And that’s why they end up just filling your closet with no purpose.
4. Control your payment methods
Favor paying everything possible in cash or with a debit card. That’s how you can monitor your budget and won’t pay any additional fees or interests. Avoid using credit cards and payment plans because you have to pay billing fees and interest to the creditor. Stay clear on how much you put money on your credit card, and be sure you can afford to pay it off each month.
5. Focus on necessities
Don’t try to impress other people by buying stuff. It’s rarely something that you need. However, figure out your personal needs and preferences, and buy only according to them. Prioritize on necessities, not on desires, and buy only things you want. Shopping alone helps you to choose the purchases well and buy less. A lone shopper is a smart shopper.
6. Have a savings account
Get yourself a savings account and learn to value savings over products. It’s beneficial to have some money put aside for the worst-case scenario. There should be enough funds to cover your monthly living costs for at least two or three months. On top of that, it’s also nice to have a bit of extra savings in case you suddenly discover a dream piece of clothing or something else you’re dying on acquiring.
7. Use thrift shops and rental services
Do you absolutely need to buy everything for your own? Do you need the latest and newest model? Think about the occasion that you’re shopping for. If you’re going to use something only once, it might be worth it to use rental services. Often you can find nearly new items in thrift shops for a very low price, too. Second-hand items can work well if you want to make alterations to the item anyway.
8. Use coupons and flash sales
Save money by finding coupons and discount codes. Online shops usually offer a discount on your first purchase, and some even follow you up with another code by email afterward. Make a list of the things you want to buy and batch your purchases on flash sales. This way, you won’t fall on impulse shopping while the sale begins. Remember to compare prices even if there are discounts!
9. Read the product info and policies
As you probably check the tags in the physical store before you buy something, you definitely need to check the product information before making purchases online. Because when all of the product details aren’t visible, you can’t be sure about the material, size, or other features. Most online shops offer guarantees, allow returns, and provide exchanges. Although, it’s slow and inconvenient. So make sure you’ll know what exactly you’re buying, what happens if it’s faulty or you don’t like it, and who pays the return. You might want to check the shipping policies as well, to avoid confusion about timetables and extra costs like taxes.
Study about different options before making purchases. Compare products and prices across online shops to find the most suitable piece for your needs and budget. While shopping online, the product itself isn’t the only thing that matters. Don’t forget to compare the shipping costs, too! Make careful comparisons about the things you’re going to buy, so you can choose your purchases well and possibly end up paying less!
11. Mind the timing
Wait before buying the latest products and go shopping at the end of the season. The season sales often begin while the actual season is still going. Make a follow list of the items you like from the seasonal collection, and buy them when they’re the lowest price likely. Always check the clearance sales to see if they include pieces from your list or an option to an item on your list. Notice that not all the shops work traditionally nowadays, they might offer no discounts or have very limited batches. Also, classic designs and evergreen products rarely are sold with discounts.
12. Make a background check
Scam awareness saves you from many troubles. Purchase only from safe and reliable websites. If you’re buying from an online shop for the first time, you need to make a background check first. And here’s is how to do it. Check the about page of the website and see where they are based. Do they share their story, or is the introduction too vague? Also, check the policies, shipping information, and customer reviews. To find unbiased reviews, make a Google search about the shop. If you’re getting any scammy vibes from the page, it’s presumably not reliable.
13. Take advantage of what you already have
Before hasting to buy more stuff, especially clothes, make a tour in your closet. There might very well be items similar to what you wanted to go and buy. Could you use or even repurpose the old ones? Get creative with your current wardrobe. If you don’t have any fresh ideas, search Pinterest! You can see an example of my outfit inspiration Pinterest boards here. Check also my post about styling the new spring styles with clothes that I already had in my wardrobe. Remember to take good care of your clothes, so they will last longer. Invest in classics, and your wardrobe will never be out of fashion.