It’s usually around this time of the year that people go crazy when it comes to shopping, often breaking the bank in order to get into that “festive spirit”.
But this doesn’t have to be the case – you can be merry without melting your credit card! YOU chatted to professional image consultant and director and founder of The Style Factor, Aseema Kazi about how to stop shopping from becoming your budget’s biggest enemy.
Here are 5 shopping tricks to help you spend less:
1. Spend less by using cash
When you use cash you tend to spend less, sometimes half as much as those who use cards.
Research has shown that spending cash is more painful than putting down plastic. MRI Scans of the brains were conducted on people faced with a purchasing decision, and their pain centres activated when they saw high prices. Using a credit card or swiping numbs that response.
2. Be wary of sales, discounts, online vouchers
A common mistake made by all. There’s nothing wrong with buying items on sale, but do it unless you were already planning to buy that particular item.
It sounds simple, but our minds play tricks on us. We leave the store with four shirts because of a "Buy 2 Get 2 Free!" deal and end up spending more than we would have on just one shirt, which was all we needed in the first place.
And here's the thing: we think we’ve saved money, when the opposite is true.
3. Don't shop with shopaholics
Easier said than done. Research confirms that our friends influence our weight, whether we smoke, where we dine so why wouldn't they also influence our spending?
A lot of people feel the pressure to keep up with their friends when it comes to spending in areas such as dining out, tech gadgets and clothing. The solution isn't to dump your debt-laden friends – but you should probably skip going to the mall with them.
4. Don't trust your senses
Did you know that there are specialised companies dedicated to creating “ambient scenting” or creating customer aromas for retailers and other businesses?
For example, there was an ice cream store that hired a company to position the aroma of sugar cookies at the top of the staircase and waffle cones at the bottom to draw the customers to its lower level ice cream shop.
Stores use fragrances, lighting, and music to create an atmosphere that makes you want to buy. Hearing classical music has been shown to make shoppers buy more expensive stuff, for example.
5. Expand your shopping universe
Instead of heading to your favorite store or the one closest to you, consider shopping at a store that has better value for money.
Many large stores tend to run massive month-end discounts or end-of-season sales, and you are more likely to purchase the item at half the price compared to smaller chains.