Shopping is a common language that most of us speak well, especially for us college women. Unfortunately, in order to shop, you need to have money, which becomes a problem if you shop a lot. However, I’ve put together a simple guide on how you can save money while you go shopping, leaving a little more in your pocket that you might have otherwise, and still leave a happy shopping bag!
Only Carry Cash With You
This has been one of the most helpful things for me when I’ve been out on the town (or, as much as I can be “on the town” as a college student). If I only carry enough money to get what I need to get and pay for transportation, there’s no way I’m going to drop an extra $20 on a new skirt. You literally won’t be carrying the money to pay for it! I would say that if there’s an emergency (non-fashion or shopping related one, of course), carry a little extra, but I like to keep mine on a card that I can’t touch, so that I can stay safe and save myself from over spending!
Bring A List
When I’m grocery shopping, I couldn’t imagine leaving the house without a shopping list. Aside from the fact that it’ll help you from forgetting anything you need to pick up, it holds you accountable! If there’s anything you want that isn’t on your list, you can make the judgement call with some of the other tips in this post, but making a conscious effort to plan out your trip will keep more money in your wallet.
Look Online First
After finding a ton of great coupon sites, it’s become a habit of mine to check online before I make an impromptu splurge when I’m out and about. If you can wait a few days, you can usually get the item for more than half off when you buy on Amazon and get free 2 day shipping (with Amazon Prime)! Likewise, there are always sales and coupons going on all over the internet, so before you make a purchase, pull up the website and look it up before you buy it (and waste extra) money!
Will You Wear It/Use It Enough To Weigh Out The Cost?
This is a little trick I got from one of my friends back home, but if you take the cost of the item and calculate it by how much you’ll wear it (make each day worth about $5), will it be worth it? For instance, if you are eyeing a $30 pair of jeans, and you aren’t planning on wearing it more than five or six times, which would multiply to about $5 a day, you could probably rethink the purchase. There are a ton of little tricks out there for this tip, but the main thing to remember is if you’re only going to use the item once, like if you’re planning to become a smoothie aficionado, to justify an expensive blender on Day 1, you might want to stock it in your wish list and move on.
Hold Onto Your Receipt
Especially when you’re shopping for bigger items, hold onto your receipts, gals! If you are able to do the research that I mentioned earlier and you find a better deal, feel free to return the item so you can save money and get it somewhere else. Or, if you purchased too soon and you found something better and cheaper later on, you can bring back the first item and get your money back to get the less expensive version! I especially do this when I’m shopping for small appliances like Brita filters or coffee makers.
Go With a Friend
If all else fails, I take a friend shopping with me. For starters, they make it a lot more fun! You can pretend you’re in a rom-com shopping montage scene while early-2000’s music plays in the background and you try on funny hats. However, they can also help you from making an outrageous purchase that you don’t need to make… my best friend has done this for me many times. Who’s better to hold you accountable than your best buds?
But, Choose Your Shopping Friends Carefully!
We all have that one friend… the one that convinces us that we need that leopard-print bag because it would go so well with that one shirt we have. As much as we love this friend, I would say that leaving them at home when you’re shopping would be the best option. If you have someone next to you that will be pushing you to buy something you don’t need, it can be counterproductive to bring them as shopping backup. Stick with the friends that share your need to shop frugally.
When it comes to shopping, the main thing to remember is that planning is your friend. If you go into battle empty-handed, that only leaves your hands that much more susceptible to carrying out massive shopping bags and a barren wallet. Stick to these tricks and you’ll be able to go home with a full wallet and maybe one or two treats! Good luck, friends!
Alexa is a contributor for The Young Hopeful and a lifestyle blogger from New York City (born and raised in California). She is on her way to getting her BA in English and her MS in Publishing, with the dream of working in a publishing house in the city. She loves her friends and family, YA novels, and staying up until 3am watching Gilmore Girls. You can find her on her blog, Facebook and Twitter!