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Want to learn how to think about spending and shopping in a totally different way? Great! Here’s an ultimate guide to do just that.
Do you have balanced shopping habits?
Or do you overshop or restrict yourself to periods of no-buys?
Either way, I bet you’ll benefit from reading this post: 25 tips to discover balanced shopping habits without feeling restricted.
What is this ultimate guide about
I’ve gone from the queen-of-chaos to strict-minimalism and from overshopping to periods of no-buys – and everything in between. But nothing I tried seem to bring me balance – there was either too much or too little, too few rules or too many restrictions.
I knew there had to be a way to discover balanced shopping habits without feeling restricted and at the same time to be able to get everything you ever wanted without cluttering your life.
I’ve put together 25 tips to discover balanced shopping habits to share with you how to have:
- a clutter-free life
- save money and time
- AND still get everything you ever wanted without feeling restricted
The reason I use these tips is to gain more:
- time & money
- gifts & quality
- space & balance
I almost named this article an “Ultimate Guide to Discover Balanced Shopping Habits”, because I included in it everything I’ve learnt and all my ideas I’ve created over the years working as a buyer, developing processes and on my free time studying self-development. But please don’t let the length of this article scare you away.
You don’t need to use all of these tips.
But if you’ll implement even one or two to your shopping routine, you’ll be happily surprised to see a positive difference in your shopping habits.
I’ve categorized the tips to discover balanced shopping habits without feeling restricted this way:
If you’re interested in a certain category, you can fast-forward and jump straight to that subject through the links.
So here they are:
25 tips to discover balanced shopping habits
So here are 25 tips to discover balanced shopping habits without feeling restricted:
Be honest to yourself
These tips are about being totally and brutally honest with yourself. Do it. You’ll thank yourself later.
1. Is it going to be your next favorite thing?
To get yourself something you would really use and love and to avoid buying something you would later regret, ask yourself if it’s going to be your next favorite thing?”
If you answer “no”, then leave it.
It’ll never be chosen over your other favorite things you already have.
And be honest to yourself, because if you’re truly honest when answering, you will leave a lot of things at the store. But don’t worry, you won’t be lacking things! This way you will be only buying clothes and other stuff that you love AND will wear and use.
So, if you answer “yes”, then get it!
And it could be your next SaturdayGift.
2. will it complement or will it compete with your favorite things?
If you answer that it’ll complement your favorite things then you might have a winner. You know you’ll have something to use it with.
For example you see a shirt and you’ll know it would complement your favorite pair of jeans and your favorite jacket, most likely you are going to be wearing and loving it.
If you answer that it’ll compete with your favorite things you have a small dilemma.
If you already have a shirt you just love and the one that you’re buying is similar kind, one of them will become your favorite and the other one might end up hanging lonely and unused in your closet.
3. Would you buy it if you couldn’t tell or show it to anyone?
Do you know the question, “what would you do, if no-one would know?”. This is similar with that one, but with a twist.
Nowadays we share everything on social media and the appearance seems to be important.
But would you buy the same things if you couldn’t tell anyone? If no-one but yourself would see it?
4. Buy only what you would want to wear or use tomorrow
When you’re about to buy something take a moment and think if you would wear or use it immediately or latest tomorrow?”
If you’d want to rip off the tags immediately and put the new item on or use it immediately, then you might have found a keeper.
If you think that you’ll wear or use it at some point, it might be good idea to leave the item at the store and wait for the right one. No sale or deal is going to make you like the item more, so don’t let the price fool you to buy it.
Love your home
These tips are about loving your home and respecting it in the way that it should be. Your home gives you shelter and lets you always be yourself. Give that love back.
5. Treat your home like it’s a boutique – not a bazaar
There’s a saying: A man’s home is his castle… until the queen arrives. And if your home is not literally a castle, treat is at least as a boutique, not a bazaar.
Your home doesn’t have to be that kind of boutique where there’s only 3 things on display, but think one of your favorite boutique and create that feeling in your home.
Maybe your favorite boutique is cosy and comfortable, maybe it’s all white and stylish, maybe it has a lot of things. But if your favorite boutique is not found in a bazaar, don’t make your home look like one.
Remember to love your home, it gives you shelter and it always let’s you be who you are. Give that love back to it.
6. Enjoy the empty spaces in your home
Claude Debussy has said: “Music is the silence between the notes.”
I like to think of the empty spaces like they would be the silence and all the things you have are the notes. To make your home be in harmony and play the most beautiful music, you need both: things and empty spaces between them.
If your home is nothing but empty spaces, you need to add something to make the empty spaces more enjoyable.
And if your home has no empty spaces, I would turn to Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s saying: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
And start decluttering.
7. Do you have a designated area in your home for your purchase?”
You wouldn’t buy 4 couches if you only have room for 2, would you?
Good! So you already know this tip.
Think even with the smallest thing you buy if you have a designated area in your home for the purchase – the same way you would think with the couches.
If your closets and drawers are already too full, your new purchase won’t find the place it deserves in them.
8. If you would have a showcase in your home would your purchase go with it?
This is a great tip to understand more about quality. If you would have a showcase in your home, which items would go with it?
Would you display the shirt that you bought only because it was 70% off? Or the handbag that got a little broken the first time you used it?
Most likely you would like to display your most beautiful and valuable things, something that makes you happy or something that represents you.
So next time you’re about to buy something and you’re wondering about the quality of the product, ask yourself: “If you would have a showcase in your home, would your purchase go with it?”.
9. always ask if you’re willing to maintain the purchase according to its needs?”
Sometimes when we buy things, we tend to overlook the item’s needs. We just like something and want to have it.
But to keep things looking the way they look when you first had a little crush on them, you need to maintain your purchases.
Are you willing to steam? Are you willing to wash by hand? Are you willing to take the clothes to the dry-cleaners? Are you willing to protect your leather shoes? Are you willing to polish, brush, clean, iron, vacuum, wash…?
Things are high-maintenance and the moment you bring something to your life, it’s on your responsibility.
So think carefully if you’re willing to take care of the things you are about to buy.
Respect your time and money
These tips are about respecting your valuable time and hard-earned money.
10. Consider your credit card like magic money. It’s not real but an illusion
Credit card is good when you need to buy something online or book a hotel.
But if you use it to buy “nice to have” things, how do you stay in your budget? How do you know you have enough money to pay those bills? And how much fun are you really having if you enjoy the new things you bought first but you know that later you need to deal with the credit card payments.
Credit card is like magic money – it’s not real, but an illusion. And the magic will vanish and the reality will hit you when the bills come with the mail.
11. Treat your hard-earned money with respect and choose quality over quantity
You work hard for your money.
And then you spend that hard-earned money on ok-looking-I-don’t-even-know-if-I-like-them-that-much-kind-of things, because they were on sale or because you think you need them.
Treat your hard-earned money and yourself with respect and choose differently – choose quality over quantity.
Let’s say that in some period of time you buy five 20 dollar shirts that you don’t love, but they were on sale and they looked ok, you could have bought one 100 dollar shirt that is amazing.
And when you buy something more valuable you tend to take better care of it.
12. Would you rather spend the money on an experience?
Buying things also means you have to maintain them. And maintaining things take a lot of time.
You need to bring the things home from the store, unpack the shopping bags, cut the tags from the purchases, clean or wash them and find a right place to keep them. And all this has to be done before you can even enjoy your purchase.
Be honest to yourself when you’re about to buy something. Are you buying something to lift your spirit? And would you rather lift your spirit with an experience and use your hard-earned money on that.
And at the same time save a lot of your most valuable currency – your time.
13. Treat your time like it’s your most valuable currency
Time is the thing you can never have back.
You could be the richest person on this planet, but the time passes the same for all of us. So I would dare to say that time is your most valuable currency.
You can free-up your time by buying a service from someone who will do things for you – like cleaning, babysitting, repairs. But then you need to make that money to pay them by using your time somewhere else.
But the time passes whether you are at home cleaning or you’re relaxing on the beach.
So think carefully:
Do you want to spend your most valuable currency on running in the stores, trying things on, maintaining them at home and then again organizing and decluttering?
Or would you rather spend it on something more meaningful?
Remember that You are super
You are awesome. And you should be the priority in your life. And if you can’t be number one, then at least you should be on top 3.
These tips are about remembering and/or reminding yourself that you are super.
14. Think of yourself as the most important person in your life, and shop accordingly
This tip is a bit tricky.
It’s sometimes hard for us to think of ourselves the most important person in our lives – we have loved ones, children, family and friends who are important to us too. But there’s a reason why they ask you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first in the airplane before assisting others.
You need to take care of yourself first before you can be the best possible version of yourself to others.
So shop accordingly. You are important, so provide yourself things you need and treat yourself moderately with quality things. And always stay in your budget, you don’t want to treat yourself with debt. And never intentionally make your home a warehouse of never-used-things.
15. Treat yourself as a brand: choose your colors
If you buy whatever-colors you are looking at all the products in the stores as a possible purchase. You might end up buying something that doesn’t go with anything you own, because you don’t know exactly the shades and tones of the things you already have.
But if you choose your colors like brands choose theirs, your style is going to be recognizable, your clothes and decor matches and you can save time by skipping the “wrong” colored clothes and items in the stores and go straight to the ones that will complement your style.
16. Fire your inner-crazy-buyer
I think we all have an inner-crazy-buyer in us.
You know the one who is a shopaholic, saveaholic or saleaholic. The one that restricts us with frugality, demands us to do no-buys or makes us buy too much. The one that sees a sale and goes wild.
Fire that person. Fire your inner-crazy-buyer.
And instead hire someone you admire. Think about what you value? What balance means to you? Who you would want to be?
That person is already in you. Find that person and learn the needed skills. And then hire that one to do your shopping.
This tips are my absolute favorites! These are the essence of my blog SaturdayGift and these are the tips that will change the way you think about shopping for good!
17. Think about each thing you buy as a gift to yourself
When you buy gifts to other people, you always think carefully what they would like or need.
You also think what colors they use or have in their home and you’ll always have a budget.
You wrap the gifts nicely and it’s exciting to see if they like them.
But what about when you buy something to yourself. Do you use the same criteria?
Or do you buy like shopaholic, saveaholic or a saleaholics. Do you restrict yourself with no-buys and spend-nothing challenges?
Are you equally careful about the quality? Or the budget? Do you even have a budget?
Isn’t it funny how we tend to value others more than we value ourselves?
I think the only reason is that when you give something to someone, it’s always a gift. And you think of gifts the certain way. They are special. And they show your feelings towards the recipient.
And when you buy something to yourself it’s just “getting something”, “retail-therapy” or “shopping”.
But if you would think about each thing you buy as a gift to yourself (I like to call them me-gifts) then I think you’d make different choices with the things you buy.
And because normally there’s a reason to give a gift, the same applies to me-gifts, so that you don’t go wild and start me-gifting yourself everything.
For me that reason is Saturday. To give me-gifts with moderation is to gift yourself a gift each Saturday – a SaturdayGift.
While me-gifting it’s super important to always stay on your budget and to consider gifting an experience instead of something you buy. It’s also important to always gift something that you really want because you don’t want to give a gift that is going to make you miserable later.
So next time you’re about to buy something to yourself, ask yourself if you would give that thing as a gift to someone I care about?”.
18. Wait – like children must do with Christmas gifts
Life is hectic and everyone’s always busy. Are you like that?
We are used to getting things “now” rather than later. And still we teach the children to wait patiently to get their Christmas gifts.
And children are an amazing example that we could learn from.
They know the gifts are coming, and they know that if they try to find them beforehand and have a peek, it’s not that much fun and exciting anymore to get the gifts on Christmas.
Waiting creates the excitement. Waiting makes things special.
So what if next time you buy something for yourself you would wait before you actually use your purchase.
I like to put my purchases aside and gift them to myself on Saturdays. It’s not much of a wait. Not like for children on Christmas. But to wait even a little while, a day or a week, makes getting something new so much more valuable and exciting. There are no Tuesday gifts.
Why don’t you give it a try, it might surprise you.
Create WishLists and Diaries
These tips will help you be organized and truly understand what you buy and own. These are not a quick fix, but more like a new routine you can adapt.
19. Create a SaturdayGift wishlist
This is my favorite! The tip is to have a wishlist. And not just any wishlist but a SaturdayGift wishlist.
If you really want something, let yourself wait for it a while.
The Saturday gift wishlist is a list of things you want to have with “a deadline”. And the wishlist helps you plan your purchases.
For example. You know your sunglasses are getting old and you need new ones. And this time you would like to have a little nicer ones. Instead of just buying the sunglasses from the first store you see selling some, you put it on your wishlist. And when the right pair is found, and the purchase fits in your budget, you can gift them to yourself with no guilt.
And if you know you have other things on your wishlist that don’t fit into your budget, move those items to another week – maybe even a few months forward and save the money. This way you know, you will be getting the item eventually, but it won’t destroy your budget.
And maybe you don’t buy some other thing out of a whim, because you want to use that money on something that you really want.
The best thing about a SaturdayGift wishlist compared to other wishlists is that if you really want the thing, you will get it, because you’ll gift it to yourself when the time is right.
20. Admire and put it on the SaturdayGift dream list
When you see something in the store that is just amazing and gorgeous and way out of your budget you can still admire it. And put in on your SaturdayGift wishlist.
But this item will be placed in the far far future so it’s place is on your dream list.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t have it, but you don’t want to jeopardize your life necessities, like paying rent or eating, for a “nice to have” thing like a bag or a dress.
But once it’s on your wishlist or dreamlist, you are already sending yourself a message that maybe one day it would be possible to have it.
And if you really want that one, you’ll start making different choices like not buying some “ok-looking” things that you’ll know you won’t like.
But remember to give yourself a gift each week, even a zero-budget gift like some me-time, walk in the forest or a good book from the library, so that you don’t feel like you are lacking things when you are dreaming for something bigger.
21. Create a diary of what you’ve bought
One way to appreciate and know what you’ve bought is to keep a diary.
This diary is not of course for everything you’ve bought, like milk and toilet paper. The diary is for those things that stay in your life for a longer period of time – like clothes, books, design, handbags and furniture to name a few. Plus of course your Saturday gifts.
In the diary you can write the new things you’ve purchased. Good thing is to add the date when you got them, the category and some extra information to recognize the item. If you like, you can also take a picture.
And when the time comes to say goodbye to that item, when it breaks, you donate it, you don’t like it anymore or you noticed that you never use or wear it you go back to your diary and you’ll make notes that you let go of it.
A good thing to also do at this point is to thank the item for serving you and/or bringing joy to your life. And if the item was a mistake purchase, this is good (and the last) time to learn from it and to forgive yourself for wasting your hard-earned money, your time and your precious space in your home.
Change the way you think
These tips are great concepts to once and for all to change your mindset on shopping.
22. Know how to separate “a must have”, “a need to have” and “a nice to have”
How many times you’ve heard someone in the store saying: “I need this! I need that! “?
Maybe you’ve even said it yourself.
Maybe it was suppose to be a joke, but after it’s said too many times, it becomes the reality and you start really thinking that you need things, when you don’t.
Of course “a must have”, “a need to have” and “a nice to have” are different for different people and our needs vary.
But if I can generalize to make a point, this is what I think about these:
“A must have” is something you need to survive – like roof over your head, nutrition, water. A must have is not a handbag, design light or new pair of heals. They might not even be “a need to have”.
“A need to have” is something you need to have a life – like good nutrition, a nice and warm home, some beauty essentials, gas in your car to get to work. For some people a new pair of heals could be “a need to have” if that’s what they would need for their work so they can feed their family.
“A nice to have” is everything else. It’s the stuff that you want. This is the category that clutters your life, because for some reason you thought you needed these things, or you just wanted them.
23. Talk to the things in the stores
This might sound crazy, but I’m telling you this is one of my favorite ways to shop.
The advertisements, sales, showcases and jingles are made to make you buy things. They go to your head without you even knowing it. Talking to the things in the stores helps me remember my way to shop and to talk back to those ads that try to lure me into buying things I didn’t want.
So yes. This tips is crazy, but you need to fight crazy with crazy. And this is how it goes:
If you want to be nice to the things, you can say something like:
“Oh, aren’t you pretty. But I will not buy you, because I’m looking for the perfect one. I know you are on sale and you are of a nice color, but unfortunately you are not the right one for me.”
And if you want to be more firm and a bit rude, you can say something like:
“Haha! I’m not going to buy you. I know your quality, you break immediately. It doesn’t matter you are 70% off, I’m more valuable than a badly made product that no-one wanted.”
And if you want to do fast shopping, you can say something like:
“Not you. Not you. Definitely not you. Not even close. Aren’t you ugly. No. No. No.” And say it until you say yes.
And if you say yes to everything, read more about the other tips.
Note. Keep the talking inside your head, no-one needs to know.
24. Approach shopping like you would eating; and decluttering like losing weight
We all know the formula to stay in shape – eat the equal amount you consume. We all also know the formula to lose weight – eat less than you consume. And if we eat more than we consume, we all know the result – we’ll gain weight.
The same happens to your home, your closet and to your credit card. If you overshop, the weight-gain is inevitable.
The same way as in eating and exercising, also in shopping and organizing there has to be a balance.
And you should never totally stop eating. The same way you shouldn’t stop shopping. So to do a period of no-buy is big no-no. Like eating healthy and exercising, also shopping and organizing in the right balance should be a lifestyle.
You should provide your body with good nutritions, vitamins and even a treat here and there. The same way is with shopping. To keep the balance you need to buy good stuff. Things that are needed. And every now and then treat yourself with something you really want and like.
25. Use the 80-20 rule: 6 days a week buy what you need – once a week buy what you want
Are you familiar with the 80-20 rule? I just love it!
The 80-20 rule is the Pareto principle where roughly 80 % of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Or in the other words, 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results.
So if you are hoping to achieve happiness or satisfaction when shopping, most likely 20% of your shopping will create 80% of the happiness. And sometimes the numbers can even be 10/90 or 5/95.
The way I like to interpret this 80-20 rule is that 6 days a week (whenever necessary) I buy things that I need (like food, cleaning products, beauty essentials). And once a week I buy what I want.
And that one (the one that I want) I give myself as a gift. That way I don’t only get the “shopping rush” but then I get a “getting a gift -rush” and I double the excitement.
And if I know what I want that week and I have a possibility to buy it before hand, then I buy it, BUT (and this is a big but!). I always put it aside to wait until Saturday. And on Saturday I give it to myself as a gift – as a Saturday gift.
Give yourself a gift – a Saturday gift
Shopping for yourself in the traditional way is so last season.
Now that you’ve read the article 25 tips to discover balanced shopping habits without feeling restricted you can start me-gifting with moderation.
Even though you wouldn’t be nodding your head right now give it a try.
So when next Saturday comes, remind yourself that you are important, the most important person in your life, and give yourself a gift.
A Saturday gift.
Tell me in the comments, which one of the tips to discover balanced shopping habits was your favorite? Which one would you try to implement to your life and your shopping routine?
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