We’ve always heard the saying: “Less is more!” And it’s true; when shopping for anything, less is more. And when I say that, I’m not talking about strutting around campus in short-shorts and bandeaus (Which, for the record, are not real shirts!). No, what I’m talking about is getting more “bang for your buck”. And let’s face it, as college students, we need to stretch a dollar as long as we can! Here are some helpful hints to guide you through your next trip to the Meadowbrook Mall to prevent a potentially catastrophic shopping spree! .
1.Shop Smart It’s inevitable; pretty much every girl has acted like Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic at least once—maybe even twice—in her life. I know that I have! There are so many cute things out there that you just “have to have,” so, how do you keep yourself from going over budget? The answer is simple, really: only buy what you need. For example, you waltz into the nearest shoe store and lay eyes on the most gorgeous pair of stilettos that you’ve ever seen in your life. You look at the price tag and almost go into cardiac arrest; they’re a whopping $300! This is where you must find the power within to turn off the shoe sirens in your brain so that you can approach this situation sensibly. Let’s see here…. You’re a college student. You have to walk to all of your classes and sometimes you’re late, which requires you to speed-walk/run/sprint. It’s winter and ferociously cold…. So, why do you need a pair of stilettos, again? Save that $300 for groceries, gas money, or the occasional night out with your gal pals. Just remember: ask yourself why you need the product, how much you’re going to wear/use it, and if it’s practical or not. You’ll save yourself a lot of cash—and a lot of heartache!
2.Go immediately to the sales rack.Do not pass “Go”. Do not collect $100. Set your sights on the sales racks and race toward them. If you happen to glance at all of the gorgeous, expensive items along the way, you’ll be more tempted to try them on. Then you’ll want to buy them. And then you’ll have a balance of -$2 in your bank account. No one wants that, right? So, here’s what you do: shop clearance! Contrary to popular belief, clearance racks do not merely consist of “left-overs” and “have-nots.” I like to look at these items as “hidden treasures.” The best part is that the items on the clearance rack are usually pretty unique, so you won’t have unfortunate cases of unintentional “twinning” with your classmates or friends. In fact, some of my favorite outfits have come from the clearance rack—and I didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg for them, either! Getting a shirt or a pair of jeans that you love is great, but knowing that it was a good buy is even better!
3.Set a limit.Whenever I do feel the need to go on a shopping spree—which is more often than I’d like to admit—I always set a budget. It’s usually relative to the amount of cash that I have on my person. You never want to spend all of your cash. If you have to, make a couple of the smaller purchases with your debit/credit card to break up the spending. For example, let’s say that I have $150. I will set my cash-spending budget at $80. That way, I will still have $70 left over in case of an emergency. I also set spending limits on articles of clothing. If a shirt costs over $20, for instance, I won’t even bother to try it on; $20 is my limit for shirts, sweaters, and blouses. My budget for jeans/pants is no more than $25. As far as accessories go, I think that paying over $8 for jewelry or over $12 for a scarf is ludicrous. Make sure that you stick to your budget and you’re golden!
Just follow the tips listed above, and I can assure you, you won’t have to attend wacky “Shopaholics, Anonymous” meetings or have your friends drag you to an intervention. Take it from me, I love to shop, and I would probably be flat-out broke if I didn’t follow my own advice (Which, admittedly, was originally my mom’s.). Over the years, I’ve realized that maintaining one’s budget and going on the occasional shopping spree is possible—as long as you don’t go overboard. Shop sensibly, and you’ll be able to keep your spending, your wardrobe, and most importantly, your life, under control