{ 5 Simple Questions to Ask Yourself When You Go Shopping }

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Go Shopping

Confession: I go shopping almost every day. I’m not exaggerating. I work smack dab in the middle of downtown and my building is connected to an underground path that’s 4 km long and connects to 5 different malls. Believe me now? In the wintertime, there isn’t much to do other than walk around stores. Yes, it’s good for your health to walk. But let me tell ya, it ain’t good for your wallet.

I’m a strong believer in treating yo’self. There’s something satisfying about wearing a new dress that makes you feel amazing, or treating yourself to a latte while sitting at a coffee shop on a lazy Sunday. It can even feel empowering to have the spending power to buy stuff followed by the excitement of enjoying your purchase.

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But this mentality of treating yourself with shopping and spending can be a dangerous cycle because you run the risk of only feeling satisfied when you swipe that card. And I know this because I fell into the trap (damn you, marketing experts!) and the last couple of months, my credit card has not been happy with my splurging.

When I became constantly stressed out when it came time to check my credit card statement, I realized that something wasn’t right. That maybe my “treat yo’self” attitude is counter productive because my purchases were stressing me out, which quickly counter-acted the initial buzz you get after you buy something. Instead, I am going to focus my energies on creating and maintaining daily self-care practices so that I AM still treating myself and taking care of myself without having to necessarily spend money.

To help me minimize my spending habits, I try to ask myself a few questions to guide my decision whether or not I will buy something. Because let’s be honest, I don’t really need anything. Yes I can justify “neeeeding” that leather jacket**… but really, I don’t. I already have amazing clothes and even though I’m trying to build a more cohesive wardrobe with a few key pieces, I still don’t have a need for anything new.

So if you’re trying to cut back on your spending, here are a list of questions you should ask yourself next time you go shopping. Yes it takes a bit of mental effort, but trust me, it’s worth it, especially if you have a financial goal in mind. These questions will help you separate the emotional versus the intellectual part of the shopping process so that you can make more conscious decisions.

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You don’t have to ask these questions in order and you don’t have to ask yourself all these questions every single time. More often than not, questioning your purchase will trigger your inner voice that will tell you what the right decision will be (which might be to buy it, which is okay too!). Only YOU know what the best decision is.

{ Question 1 : Do I really need this? }

This seem like an obvious one to ask yourself when you go shopping, but more often than not, I think that a lot of us don’t ask it. So, be honest: Do you really need this item? Do you own something similar already (similar colour, style etc.)? Are you buying just because you feel like buying something, or do you have a specific need for it? Will you use it more than once?

If you answered no to any of these questions or if you already have something similar, then put it down and walk away. WALK AWAY I SAID! You don’t need it, then why are you spending the money?

{ Question 2 : Do I really love this? }

Because I don’t need anything, I’m usually very picky about what I choose to buy. I have to really LOVE something to bring it into my home. And this goes for clothing, shoes and accessories, but also household items. It’s easy to buy similar items or things that you don’t really love, which doesn’t leave space for things that you might TRULY love.

Think about it this way – if you spend money on an item that you like, then you have less money to spend on something else that you might love more, and you’re cluttering your space with an item that you don’t adore, which takes away space from a potentially other item that you might love more. Get the logic?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you should justify NOT buying something because you have to buy something else. What I’m saying is that when you start thinking and analyzing more what you are buying and why you’re buying it, you will probably buy less stuff, which leaves you physical and mental space AND money to invest in more special and unique pieces that will last you longer.

{ Question 3 : Is it worth it? }

I’m big on making sure that the quality of the product is worth the price I’m paying for. Yes, it can be fun to buy a new top here and there, but really, is it worth it? Is it going to fall apart and stretch out and fade after one wash? Or will it stand the test of time?

Look at it this way: you work hard for your money, don’t just throw it away at a cheap item that you will use once or twice and then it won’t even look good anymore. Invest in yourself and buy pieces that are worth the money you are paying for.

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I’m not saying to spend a crazy amount of money on basics. What I’m saying is to be wise with your money and spend on things that worthwhile! SO, is the item you want to buy really worth the money?

{ Question 4 : Does this fall within my monthly budget? }

First things first. If you don’t have a monthly budget, you need to make one. I strongly believe in taking control over your finances and setting financial goals for yourself. You first have to determine a budget for all aspects of your life to be able to analyze your spending habits better. It might seem daunting, but DO IT. NOW.

…Moving on.

Once you have a monthly shopping budget, look at the price of the item you want to purchase and see if it falls within that budget. This might be a deciding factor. If you’re conscious of how much you want to be spending every month on shopping, then when you see something you like, your budget and expenses will help guide your decision whether you can allow yourself to buy it or whether it will simply put a strain on your credit card and nerves.

For example, I finally found a beautiful leather jacket that I’ve been thinking about for two weeks now. I haven’t bought it yet because it’s 3 times my monthly shopping budget. I know how much I’ve spent on shopping the past few months, and I know that the next few months will be expensive, so I can’t justify this purchase right now. Sad? A little. But not really. My happiness doesn’t depend on it. If anything, I feel more empowered and happy that I don’t NEED anything and that I’m mindful enough to make a conscious decision about what I’m spending my money on. Yay for a positive mindset!!

{ Question 5 : Can I adjust my spending for the rest of the month? }

This is related to question 3 – if you found that you absolutely adore and can’t live without, but it doesn’t fall within your monthly budget, then determine whether you can adjust your expenses for the month. Can you eat out less often? Can you bring coffee to work instead of buying it? Can you return something that you haven’t used yet? Can you dedicate next month’s shopping budget towards this purchase instead?

Really analyze the financial aspect of your spending. In the end, spending beyond your means will only put a strain on you and the expense won’t even be worth it! Trust me, I’ve been there. This summer, I don’t know what got into me, but I was spending 2-3 times more than my shopping budget. For a while, I wasn’t able to reduce my credit card debt and it was just stressing me out. And guess what? I don’t need the added stress, and the pleasure of the stuff I got wasn’t even worth it in the end.

Don’t make the mistake of confusing short-term gratification with happiness. It’s not. You’re filling a void (which I haven’t figured out what my void was this summer to be honest) and spending beyond your means will be detrimental to your happiness.

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{ The self-love takeaway }

Love yourself enough to find out what truly makes you happy. Shopping is a fun part of life and it’s great to spend time and energy into finding clothes that make you feel confidant. But don’t confuse short-term gratification with happiness. Instead of spending so much time and energy on shopping, take some time to really think about what makes you happy and what are some effective self-love practices you can implement in your day-to-day life instead.

** Editor’s note: At the time of publication, I’m still thinking about that leather jacket. Can I have it? Please! Pretty please!

Love yourself enough to find out what truly makes you happy Click To Tweet 5 Simple Questions to Ask Yourself When You Go Shopping

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8 Comments

Lailah

I feel so guilty now. Yesterday I went and spend a shit ton on home decor. I stopped buying makeup and I took off my acrylic nails to save some money, but I end up spending it somewhere else. I don’t like to check my bank account or add things up at the end of the month so I won’t feel guilty. But that has to change, I need to save money and feeling guilty after every purchase is killing me too. Definitely will put all this tips to a test. Fingers coressed.

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Sepideh

hahahahah don’t feel guilty!!!! As long as you’re being conscious of your spending habits! If you have financial goals then these questions might help you! But if you feel guilty checking your bank account that could be a sign…!!

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Mike @ Reroutelifestyle

I go through these steps every time I want to buy Cheez-its… Half the time, the Cheez-its win the battle. I totally agree with all five of those questions. It’s good to have some self control with spending habits!!

Reply
Sepideh

hahahahaha that’s amazing!! That made me laugh out loud.

It’s definitely important to be mindful of spending habits!

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Amy, SaltandSkillet.com

I love this so much!!!

Walking is my biggest problem when it comes to shopping. I don’t live in the city, but I’m in a very busy suburb that’s kind of the shopping center for surrounding towns. So, if I just want to step out of my apartment building and go for a walk, I’m forced to choose between going to the mall or going to the plaza. Both have stores that I want to stop in and peruse, which slows my walk down and steals my money! WHAT GIVES!?

I have a love-hate relationship. I am really good about being like “aww that kitty statue is SO CUTE AND I MUST HAVE IT but nah that’s dumb and a waste of money so I’ll just admire it in the store.” But when it comes to things like clothes or something useful for the kitchen…I seem to have an existential crisis. Like, I’m poor and can’t afford a $50 faux leather jacket….I already own a black one and a red one…but I don’t have a /brown/ one. But I’m also trying to expand my wardrobe (which I hate) while losing a little weight (so what if it doesn’t even fit me in a few months) while saving money and trying to keep my self esteem up.

Okay, so mostly clothes shopping is my issue. That’s a whole ‘nother story.

But these tips will totally help with that, and other things that DON’T make me meltdown! Hahaha

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Sepideh

I loved reading your comment!!! Thanks Amy! That made me smile and chuckle a little.

Resisting shopping is TOUGH! (I was just browsing on Asos for a few minutes haha but I didn’t buy anything!!!)

How about setting your weight goal and telling yourself you won’t buy anything until then? So you can use it as leverage to stick to your plan to reach your goal, you can plan ahead and save some money and set a specific budget, and then you go on a SHOPPING SPREE!! I did that earlier this year and it felt REALLY good. I had a specific target date, and gave myself a budget, and I didn’t buy a single thing for over two months and honestly, being able to go shopping when I had lost the weight felt AMAZING!!

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Diana

Great questions to think about before buying. One strategy that helps me avoid overspending is to create a wishlist where I note down what I want or like and sometimes thinking about it I realize I don’t need it after all. But at least at the time you feel like you actively did something to get closer to buying it.

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Sepideh

What an interesting tip Diana, thank you so much for sharing!!!

Being mindful about what we want vs. what we need can definitely help in our spending habits. And taking the time to acknowledge that you want something is okay and normal I think!!

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