I WAS RECENTLY VERY INSPIRED by a post on Independent Fashion Bloggers titled I Blog, Therefore I Shop: True or False? written by Julia DiNardo because it really got me thinking about what I can only describe as the cause-and-effect relationship between blogging and shopping. Now if you are reading this and thinking “I’m not a blogger, so this doesn’t concern me”, think again because in reality blogging is just another reason to shop more in our preexisting pool of reasons flooding our minds.
As a girl on a budget myself, I thought about the ways I battle the need to consume more and more, so I scribbled down some thoughts that go through my mind whenever I am faced with an almost unstoppable desire to dry out my savings. So let’s start with no1:
no.1/ “Think twice, buy once.”
“That. I want it. I need it,“ *grabs and caresses item*. I will talk about the true nature of necessity in my next point, but before that I will briefly mention it here because you have to be aware of the fact that marketing is built on discovering and, more importantly, creating needs before it moves onto offering value that will satisfy consumer needs. I had a Marketing course last semester which, when combined with all the psychology courses I’ve had until now (Advertising Psychology, Social Psychology, Media Psychology,) makes me realize how fickle we really are when it comes to being persuaded. We don’t really notice the invisible hands of persuasion until its secret tricks have been blatantly pointed out to us (in my case, through university courses), so I encourage you to think twice about this fact before you throw away your savings and start chanting “my precious” like Golum.
no.2/“Necessity first, pleasure second.”
Now, although I believe that everyone deserves to experience small (or big) pleasures in life, when you are shopping on a budget, think of how long that pleasure will last you before you decide that you want something else, or worse… remorse settles in. Always ask yourself this: “Do I really need it?”.
I was originally going to mention this point in my first tip, but left it for my second tip because this really works for me: I put a physical distance between me and the item when I am not sure whether I need it, but I am sure that it will burn a hole in my savings, by returning later or another day. Or, in some cases, I take it in my hands just so I don’t get anxious about somebody else stealing it from me, and just roam around the store. That tactic doesn’t physically detach me from the item, but it soothes my mind and helps me calmly process whether or not I really need it.
no.3 /“Make a monthly plan.”
We all have these scenarios in our heads of how our lives would look like if our bank limit was nonexistent and we could spend everyday to our hearts’ delight. In reality, you probably can’t afford to do that or you wouldn’t be reading this article. What I suggest doing is making a monthly plan which works easiest if you take a notebook (not a paper because you will lose it) or open a new note on your smart phone (this is what I do) and make a list of things you want to buy this month on the left side and on the right side you make a list of things you have to pay for. Keep extracting the price for those items from your estimated budget figure until you reach to the end of the list. You might find yourself in the minus, which is okay because you are just projecting right now. This projection will hopefully put things into perspective for you by creating a priority list and making you more conscious about how you should spend.
no.3 /“Quality before quantity.”
I can’t stress this enough because I have a lot of friends who always tell me how they “got a bargain” or how I should visit this cheap store or bazaar because I will find “great items for cheap”. I wouldn’t be saying this unless I had actually put their advice on trial, but just because it’s cheap that doesn’t mean that you have to buy it or you will “miss out on a good deal”. Now let’s make it clear: I am not telling you to run after expensive items. No. I am telling you to make a distinction between something that is cheap but worth it and something that it’s cheap and not worth it like sweaters that will instantly pill, or jeans that don’t really flatter you but you figure that it’s not a loss because they are soooo cheap, or a T-shirt that you might find a way to incorporate in your outfits, or my absolute worst: a pair of shoes that don’t really fit well but you figure that even if you get to wear them once it will pay off.
no.4 /“Think critically about sales.”
I love sales. They drive me nuts. That feeling when you find that bag you wanted from Zara on sale (see image>>>) or those shoes that you passed by so many times in Mango but couldn’t afford, and now they are 50% off and they have your number. Heaven right?
In those cases, shopping pays off. But you can’t be always that lucky now can you? You might find nothing you like, but because everything is one sale, you figure that you will buy something just so you are not left with nothing. Even if that item on sale, if you have the smallest doubt whether or not to buy it, then don’t. Truth is, most of us still have those items with the tag on in the back of our closets somewhere.
no.5 /“Utility is key.”
Just think like this: “How versatile it is?” or “How many times can I wear it?”
no.6 /“Think for yourself.”
I mentioned friends before and they are awesome as shopping buddies, but we all have that one or more friends that are really good with words and that can make you buy an item you are unsure of. While there are times when I am grateful for my awesome friends and their way of pushing me off the fence, sometimes I need to think for myself. In the end, I am the one paying and I am the one who will do the wearing. Friends’ opinions matter because they can offer you a new perspective, but you should decide for yourself.
The wallet from Parfois (SEE HERE) you see on the left is my latest investment. I have been looking for a good wallet for the longest time and the adjective good for me means: not very big but fits a lot, has tons of pockets, looks good, it’s affordable, and will go for a long time.
Now in my case, if it was physically possible to pack my lunch into my wallet, I would – that’s how much I am particular about my wallet. That said, I want all of these features I mentioned, but I don’t want to pay a lot of money because I am a student and I never know when I will need the money. For some spending 18 euros on a wallet it’s a given, but for most students it’s a stretch especially if you live in a country where you can get wallets for way less.
In my case, before buying it I went through all the things I mentioned before: I saw it on a Monday, didn’t buy it, went home and calculated my spending, I dug up wallets I own but have never used, realized they didn’t fit everything I need, looked for cheaper versions, and lastly I returned to the store on Thursday, thought again and bought it. I am sure it will pay off because I did all of these calculations on the side and because I know that I rarely change wallets (once every 4 years maybe) because I am afraid of losing things.
no.8 /” Style over trends”
As much as I love innovation and new ideas, you don’t need me to tell you how fleeting trends are. Keeping up with trends can be exhausting for your budget and it can clutter your wardrobe with items that you will probably not wear again. For example, I am currently sewing culottes for myself (I am using the wide-pants pattern seen in Burdastyle on the right and I am planning on cutting the length of those pants in order to make culottes). Yes, I was influenced by the current trend, but I have always loved culottes and I know that I can re-wear them even after the trend stops. Since I mentioned sewing, I will move to my next point which is not exactly a shopping tip but an extra advice:
no.8+ /“Try DIY.”
Not everyone can make coats, jackets, pants, tops, blazers, or other items like I do. I agree with that. In my case, my dream is to be a designer and sewing is just so fulfilling and, in the same time, very budget friendly because, for example, I can make a coat for myself for 20 euros and make it look like I got it for 100 euros or more. If you find sewing not an option, DIY is a great substitute. You can find millions of great DIYs out there just if you type the acronym in any search engine. You can be trendy yet stay within your budget by exercising your creativity skills. You can also impress people, but that part should only be the cherry on the top because I believe in doing things solely for your pleasure not for recognition.
Do you have any other advice for fellow girls (or even guys!) on a budget? I would love to hear them.
P.S. All images are taken from my Instagram. Hope to see you there!
lots of love,