Unless money is no object, shopping is something of an art form. Balancing cost against quality, usefulness and convenience can be very difficult, and confronted with an item you just really, REALLY want, it’s easy to lose control. Unfortunately, this kind of momentary lapse can result in financial catastrophe so unless you’re ok with living on pot noodles and ketchup until your next payday, it’s important to avoid the fatal splurge. To help you identify potentially disastrous retail situations, I’ve asked around and done a little research, and put together a list of 7 shopping mistakes.
1. The Rush Factor
Good shopping, like a fine wine, cannot be hurried. Never try to cram yours into a lunch break or rush through the mall on your way to an appointment. If you have a very limited time you won’t be able to take stock of all the products available to you. Without a good idea of what’s on the shelves, you can’t make an informed decision; how to tell which is the best item if you haven’t seen them all? Don’t blitz through a store no matter what you’re buying; plan your retail excursions, and only hit the stores when you’ve got a window that’s definitely big enough.
2. The ‘I Just Want to Buy Something’ Crisis
Remember, shopping is a means to an end, and the end should always be a good, solid, useful purchase. Never give in to that urge to buy if there’s categorically nothing good in the shops; simply put, it’s just a waste of money.
3. The ‘Online Shopping Doesn’t Count’ Conundrum
I suspect that this is something many of us do – particular we who work on the computer all day. It’s practically effortless to buy things online: because you don’t have to physically hand over any money (or a card), it somehow makes parting with your hard earned cash infinitely easier. Next time you’re about to click ‘buy now,’ take a moment to do a little mental arithmetic: if you can afford it, that’s fine, but if you really ought not to be splurging just now, remind yourself of the noodles and ketchup scenario.
4. Spending on Trends
Most stylists agree that, realistically, we can’t all be absolutely head-to-toe on trend all of the time. Blowing your monthly clothes budget exclusively on this season’s most cutting-edge pieces is not a financially smart move. The shelf life of this kind of item isn’t long; at best, it’ll last you three or four months. Instead of forking out repeatedly for trendy outfits, make sure you allocate some of your funds to classic staples that are guaranteed to last.
5. The Flawed Product
It’s happened to everyone: there’s an item you just fall in love with, but – Murphy’s Law – it’s got something wrong with it. Perhaps they don’t have it your size, or there’s a hole in the lining or pulled threads in the fabric. You should never spend your money on something like this unless, in the case of a damaged product, the shop will reduce the price such that it's worth it. Let it go: it’s not the end of the world. There are plenty more fabulous dresses/ shirts/ pairs of jeans in the sea.
6. The Pressure Purchase
I prefer shopping on my own and this is the reason why. If you’re browsing the rails in a group, the purchases you make will, invariably, be influenced by the opinions of the people you’re with. While this can be a great thing, it can also go terribly wrong. It’s happened to me on numerous occasions: there are two dresses, the girls tell you one looks fab, you buy it, get home and immediately wish you’d gone for the other. If you are shopping en masse, make sure you’re absolutely sure of your choice before you head to the check out; it’s the best way to avoid disappointment.
7. The Random Buy
While it is a good idea to expand your horizons and try new trends, it’s also important to remember there’s a difference between picking up something interesting that’ll revitalise your style and buying an arbitrary item that won’t go with anything you own. Before you make a purchase, try to run through the rest of your wardrobe. Ask yourself if you have shoes to go with it. Will it match any of your coats or cardigans?
Shopping is fun, no doubt about that, but it can also be dangerous. A successful foray into the retail wilderness involves constantly weighing up the pros and cons of your purchase, and, crucially, avoiding unnecessary blunders that will cripple your bank balance. My list of 7 shopping mistakes should help to keep you on the path of sensible buying; do you have anything to add to it?
Top Photo Credit: andrewarchy