Spoil Yourself on a Budget: Creative Ways to Shop Without Breaking the Bank

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We all love a bit of retail therapy – and thanks to apps and online shopping, we can indulge at the tap of a finger. This, unfortunately, can land us in a bit of financial trouble at times. By overspending and putting purchases on our credit cards, our finances can spiral out of control and into massive debt. Even if we’re shopaholics, we don’t need to go cold turkey. You can spoil yourself without breaking the bank using some creative spending strategies.

Shop around before buying.

If you see a big-ticket item – and it’s discounted! – take note of it and shop around online. Chances are you can find the item for cheaper at online or competing retailers. Until you exhaust your options, don’t assume a great deal right in front of you is the best deal. Better yet, look around for coupons or discount codes using apps like Honey to ensure you get the absolute best price.

Don’t use “buyer’s math”

One of the biggest fallacies shopaholics use to justify their excessive purchases is “buyer’s math.” Let’s say a new handbag retails at $500. But it’s on sale for $400. If you buy it, you’re ahead $100! This is just like “gambler’s math” – if you’re already clutching a perfectly good handbag, you’re down $400 without gaining any further utility. Unless the purchase can add value to your life, it shouldn’t be considered as a “steal.”

Don’t let sales use you

Tax Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, St. Patrick’s Day, 11.11, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving – what do they all have in common? They’re holidays – but also excuses to spend as they’re major sales days or events. Like “buyer’s math” just because something is on sale doesn’t mean it’s going to add anything to your life or happiness. Create a list of items you need and perhaps a few you want and wait until sales to buy – but also shop around and if the deals aren’t sweet enough, look elsewhere. 

Get rid of the apps

One surefire way to prevent overspending is to get rid of any store or retailer smartphone apps and to only check out as a guest when shopping on your laptop or desktop. Saved details make it all too easy to check out your cart – “the frictionless buying experience.” Retailers enable this because if you have to reach for your credit card or log in to your PayPal, you may think twice – which is what you want to do in this instance! While you’re at it, unsubscribe from all the newsletters trying to lure you into buying.

In fact, you can use apps such as Droplist to notify you when an item you’ve been eyeing has gone on sale or hit a bargain basement price – which could save you a bit of money on every purchase!

Lower your credit card limit

Another great way to stop overspending is to lower your credit limit to something more manageable. If you have a massive credit limit – perhaps twice your monthly salary – try lowering it to half. This will keep you accountable for the purchases you do make and make you hesitate when putting things on plastic. If you can’t afford it with cash on hand, you can’t afford it at all.

Using loans as a last resort

Let’s say you need that $400 handbag because the one you had absolutely fell apart. You may be tempted to take out a payday loan. A payday loan is designed to help people with emergency purchases such as sudden medical bills, appliance failures, or unavoidable travel expenses. Of course, you’ll be using a handbag every day, and it may be appropriate to take out a small cash loan like payday loan. However, these loans have massive interest rates – northward of 40% in some states – and should only be used in an absolute emergency when you can’t raise funds by any other means. You should learn more about them before applying, so read up on your rights and obligations before agreeing to a payday loan. 

With all these tips, you can indulge yourself without going into debt or fretting about your finances!

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