It’s the “Ber” months again - the season of cold nights, joy, thanksgiving, and…. SALES!
Yes you read that right! At this time of the year, sellers are more willing to give a bargain, and buyers are willing to spend more. After all, it’s for Christmas! Whether it’s online or in malls near you, sales are everywhere. It’s very easy to add items to our cart, especially if we see them displayed on flash sale ads. Eventually, you’ll see that your cart now has 92 items, and the total is thousands of pesos that you can’t possibly check out at once!
(That’s a very specific number that I may or may not have in my cart. SHH)
So what do you do? How do you filter everything you want into a smaller list of items that you can afford to actually buy? This dilemma applies even in physical shopping. Well, we’re here to help! Here are the questions you should ask yourself before any purchase.
1. Can I afford this?
2. Can I have this at a cheaper price?
3. Do I need it?
4. Do I love it?
5. Am I just buying because it’s on sale?
6. Should I have it right now?
READ: Shopeeholic of Lazadanatic: Paano makakatipid sa Online Shopping?
Can I afford this?
This is the first and most important question to ask yourself. If you’ll go broke by checking a bunch of items out, then don’t! You may also want to check your budget and your spending habits. Make a few tweaks here and there - save on electricity, downgrade your internet or phone plan, etc. Make regular leisure spending guilt-free by establishing a budget for it.
Then, go back to these questions to make that small budget worth it!
Can I have this at a cheaper price?
So you think you have the “Lowest Guaranteed Price”? Sure you might not find anything cheaper on that website or mall to compare it to, but have you tried to look on another website? How about Facebook Marketplace for a secondhand version? There are also other websites with secondhand items, like Carousell.ph or eBay for more niche finds. Does anyone you know have it, and do they want to get rid of it at a cheaper price? Is it something you can DIY for a cheap total price of the needed materials?
There’s almost always a cheaper alternative to some items on your cart! Try looking for those alternatives first.
Do I need it?
Ah yes, the all-time dilemma of need vs. want. It just never ends, does it? Usually, this isn’t a question. Prioritize the need over the want. But when it comes to shopping? You’ve probably checked out the needs as soon as you saw them, and you’re left with a pile of wants to sort.
Wants are not at all bad! You just have to make sure they serve their purpose when you buy them. Spend your money with intention! The best way to go through your cart is to rank each item by how often you think you will use them or see them displayed in your house.
Did you just think this vase looks chic, but don’t really have space for it? Drop it.
Will this super cute shirt fit you only after you work out for months to go two sizes down? Just check it again by that time and see if you still want it!
Do I love it?
Now, love is a big word! You’ve gotten through needs and wants, and you now see the use of every item that’s still in your cart. The next step is to see if that item is really “The One”. It’s important that you buy something you want 100%. I mean, why buy something you only like parts of, right? If it isn’t a “hell yes!”, it’s simply a “no”.
Oops, this secondhand shirt has a little hole on it. Do you like the style and make of the shirt much more than you hate the flaw? Okay, that’ll pass. Don’t try to sell it to yourself. If you know well you won’t have the time to stitch it up, just don’t buy it.
Am I just buying because it’s on sale?
This is another form of the previous question: Do you love the item or the price? The answer lies on whether you’re willing to buy it at its full price. That would mean you love it 110%! If you won’t buy it without the sale, then you might not really want it that much.
When it comes to sales, watch out for damaged items, near-expiry food products, or low-quality materials. Usually, this is what drives an untimely clearance sale - to get rid of goods that are just not at that value anymore. You’ll ask yourself again, is the flaw tolerable for the sale price? Maybe you can get around a near-expiry sale by consuming the food before it’s bad. But how about damaged and low-quality products? Remember that a “bargain” is not one if you’ll get items you won’t use in the long run.
READ: How To Use Your Credit Cards For Holiday Shopping
Should I have it right now?
A common shopping tip among shopaholics is to put an item you want to purchase into a wishlist. That means you won’t be buying that item today, whatever it is. Instead, you wait 30 days, then go back to your wishlist, and see if you still like that item by then. A lot of people find out they don’t like items they liked a month ago!
Imagine spending on something you won’t want and use next month. What a waste. You would have done what’s called an “impulse buy”. It’s very common. You feel stressed from work, and you feel like treating yourself, whether to good food or a shopping spree. At these times, you don’t really think of how much something costs. Instead, you care more that it can make you feel better.
Don’t confuse self care with impulse buys, no. Self-care is something that should be part of everyone’s budget. It’s guilt-free spending. Whereas impulse buys are driven by spur-of-the-moment emotions and often blow your budget out of proportion. Wait it out. If you still want it after a month, buy it from your self-care budget!
Shopping should never be stressful. These questions may make it seem like so, but trust that filtering your buys before checking them out will make sure you get the best bang for your buck. There’s no greater feeling than paying for an item you really want - with or without a sale, today or next month. Happy shopping, bears!
READ: 11 Ways To Secure Online Shopping With Credit Cards