Shopping, I’m never gonna give you up!
I love shopping. It doesn’t matter if it’s for clothing, home decor, or just groceries. The thrill of the hunt, exploring new-to-me shops, finding bargains, and adding unique items to my closet or home are all experiences that I love about shopping.
The problem with shopping, as I’m sure many fellow shopaholics will solemnly nod their heads in agreement, is that shopping is an exchange of goods or services for money.
Cold hard cash.
Or that little piece of plastic.
Maybe that’s also part of the fun, spending money, but it’s also the reality check to my daydreams of shopping all. the. time. Like the relentlessly rhythmic tune by Rick Astley, I’m never gonna give up shopping.
In the pursuit of maintaining my shopping habit without breaking the bank, I’ve come up with a few techniques to make shopping lighter on the wallet without diminishing my enjoyment.
Yeah, there are plenty of tips and tricks out there to help you save money when purchasing items online. And yes, there’s a whole bunch of online couponing you can do to cut down on the total price of an item you may like.
But here’s the thing: I’m not really the type of shopper who likes to do a lot of research or work to find a coupon to get 10% off an item.
Here’s what I’m digging lately for online shopping: Keep.com. This is a website like Pinterest, but it’s basically for shoppers to “keep” items they see online. They go a step further by alerting you when a product you’ve kept has gone on sale, and then offer to provide one-stop shopping for you through their site to get the product.
For example, I “kept” a baby bouncer that was on the spendier side, and put it on my “baby” board. This way I could remember it when a special occasion came up and a grandparent wanted to purchase something a little nicer for the baby.
The Keep team emailed me when Target reduced the price, and then set up the purchase through their site, which turned out to be (a) a lot cheaper than anywhere else I could get the same bouncer, and (b) a lot easier than navigating Target’s website because I only had to work through the Keep website to get the discount and purchase.
Brick & Mortar Shopping
My tip when shopping live, in-person stores? Go local.
No, not “go local” like you hear in public service announcements for farmers markets or for associations trying to rebuild a city’s downtown area with smaller businesses. All that is great, but what I’m talking about is finding shops in your area that you enjoy and getting to know the owners of that store.
Obviously, my tip works better with boutiques or small shops than it would for a Macy’s or a Crate & Barrel. But here’s what I’ve found.
I have about 3-5 shops that I love to putter around in maybe every 2 weeks or so. One is a used furniture store, another a shoe store, and one of my favorites is a small shop with products for the home, baby, and myself (frazzled working moms? funny you should ask).
You can tell when you walk into these stores that the owners take great pride in how they curate everything, and you can’t help but admire it and want to be a part of it. And it makes you want to learn more about the owners, which I have, and now we’re on a first name basis.
I have received discounts, super cheap delivery fees, advanced notice on items before they were put in the shop, and other small perks just by finding like-minded shop owners.
I can’t write a post about shopping without mentioning one of my true loves, thrifting.
I have come to rely on one loose rule when it comes to thrifting: know your dimensions and know what you want.
Far too often when it comes to thrifting, I get excited to see ALL the stuff and start to think that I’ll miss out on something crazy good if I don’t start buying. Completely backwards thinking, and it has led to some not-so-great purchases that I have regretted after the shopping adrenaline wore off.
So, now I always carry a measuring tape in my purse, and a list on my phone of items I would like in my home or in my wardrobe. That way, when I’m in the heat of the moment, I don’t take my eyes off the prize and shoot for some low-hanging fruit.
The point is, you don’t have to give up shopping in order to save money. You just have to go about it the right way.
Katie is an attorney and writer who enjoys writing about anything from pies to upholstery projects at her blog, Eat, Drink, and Remodel.