3 Shopping Rules To Help You Make Better Decisions At The Register
Ready to stop wasting money and accumulating clutter when you shop? Thought so. Here, then, are three Simple rules to follow when you’re in the presence of a cash register (or before you even get to the store).
1. Have a plan
The best bet for warding off impulsive purchases is to get into the habit of buying only what you have a plan for.
If it’s a blouse, you need to think about how and when you’ll wear it. What items will you pair it with that you already own? When, and how often, will you have the occasion to wear it? Don’t think of the garment as a single entity, floating in space; ground it in the reality of your lifestyle and your existing wardrobe in your mind before forking over the cash.
If it’s a piece of produce, have a clear plan for how you’re going to incorporate it into your cooking. This is especially true for fruits and veggies you don’t ordinary cook with and eat.
2. Browse together, shop alone
This tip is kind of a bummer, I’ll admit. But after having so many clients report to me that ill-advised, never-worn clutter-clothing were purchases made while in the company of various friends, I’m compelled to include it.
The thing is, the more people there are involved in the act of shopping, the more internal, combined noise there is about body image, financial status, and so on.
A friend might encourage you to buy something because he genuinely believes it flatters you immensely, yes. But, a friend might just as easily be looking for a way to feel less guilty about spending their own money by having you spend yours. Enabling; that old goat. Or, a friend might feel badly because she’s told you everything looks miserable on you (it has) and feels she has to throw you a bone so you don’t feel badly about yourself (you needn’t).
Whatever the reasoning, there are individuals who Simply aren’t the most helpful or full of sound advice when you’re poised at the register.
Browsing can always be a group sport: you meander, you talk; it’s nice! But shopping? Real life, card-to-the-magnetic-strip shopping? You need to be focused to do that responsibility. You need not to be at the whim of social pressure, nor engaged in enabling. It’s already a lot to have to temper most salespeople, let alone another outside voice.
That said, there are those people that we know we can shop with; people with whom we know we have a proven track record of excellent purchasing. They give it to you straight, you give it lovingly right back, and you both walk away having served your conscious and not just your credit card.
But there’s no mistaking the enabler for the genuine sounding board-type.
So think carefully about who you shop with, just as much as you do where, why, and for what.
3. Don’t shop for the cause if you don’t love the goods
So many retailers have awoken to the fact that we consumers love the opportunity to combine supporting a good cause with making a purchase we might have made anyhow. Only, there’s an extent to which this tactic is being overdone; the goods and the causes are being presented as so closely linked that it appears buying the thing in front of you is the only (or only easy) way to also support the given cause.
I don’t care where you are or what special event you’re at or what items they’re featuring there that are only available on that special day to support that special cause; the only reason to buy something is if you truly love and need it. And if you don’t, you are better off (yes, really!) giving your money free and clear to the organization, without receiving a token in return for your support.
I promise you, there are other ways to support a cause, and when you find one you really care about, you’ll familiarize yourself with all the methods for doing so.
Image credits: Getty Images; unkown; Rob Lang; Lands End
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