7 Common Shopping Mistakes You Need To Avoid

It is not often when I take to this blog to discuss matters of fiscal responsibilty. But when I do, I almost always make sure to turn to my favorite things–the internet and its memes. Specifically, this one:



Haha! I wore it, or I ate it. This is funny because clothing and food are two basic human needs, I guess. Now, I am not a huge shopper, personally, but like most people, I do have my moments, and thus, I can relate. These “moments” generally involve anything from buying some peplum shirts on a whim when my blood sugar is getting low and I am in a Forever 21 (normal? I think) to accidentally charging wolf ears, fangs, and a kippah to my family’s Amazon Prime account (also normal, I assume), and, while the exact details may vary, it means that I am spending money that I don’t want to be spending on things I don’t need. So, whether you’re a definite “wearing it or ate it” kind of girl, or more of a sporadic, though potentially disastrous kind of spender, check out these common shopping mistakes you need to learn how to avoid:

Leaving Necessary Buys To The Last Minute

We've all been here, I think--you need, like, a dress for a dance or a pair of ski pants for an upcoming vacation, and, instead of making time to research the item, you put it off until the last second, which usually leaves  you with something il-fitting and expensive. Last-minute things do happen, of course, but if you have to buy something big, try to give yourself  as much time as possible to do it. That way, you can look at a bunch of different stores, cross-reference online prices, and even order a few options to make sure you pick the best one that looks and feels good.

Image source: iStock

Buying Things You Don't Love

Not to get all Marie Kondo on you here, but if you don't absolutely love the way something makes you look and feel when you're trying it on in the store, you shouldn't buy it. If you like something at all, you generally like it best at the moment of initial purchase, which means that if it's anything less than perfect in the store, you aren't going to wear it once you're out of the store. So, just make sure you can really see yourself in something before you buy it.

Image source: iStock

Feeling Pressured By Sales

If you see a shirt that used to be $100 marked down to, say, $25, it can be tempting to snap it up right away since it's such a big price difference. But this is a big trap for a few reasons. First of all, some stores mark up original prices when things go on sale, so it seems like you're getting a better deal than you actually are. Plus, the exhiliration of a 75 percent reduction could be distracting you from figuring out whether you even like the shirt or not. Like, even if something is cheaper than it once was, it's still your money that you'll be spending on it, so make sure you like it--and that it looks good on you--before you buy. Sometimes things are on sale because they couldn't make it in the wild on their full-priced own. Stay woke.

Image source: iStock

Hitting Up All The Store-Wide Sales

The only thing more dangerous than an individual sale item? The store-wide sale. These are the sales that you see advertised as, like, the one chance you'll ever have to save your hard-earned money. They're trying to whip you up into a frenzy, and if you go to a store just because they're having a sale, you'll feel pretty stressed, first of all, and you're just going to buy a bunch of stuff you don't need. Plus, a bunch of stores that act like this is the one sale they will ever have actually always have some sort of promotion going on, so you don't actually need to give into the hype.

Image source: iStock

Aspirational Buying

You know, that thing you do when you see a dress in the sale section at Anthropologie that you were lusting over a few weeks earlier but couldn't quite bring yourself to buy. Now, it's 50 percent off, and it's perfect in every way, except a big one--it's two sizes two small. Don't buy it. It's hard--it's the perfect dress! You could fit into it, technically, if you're okay with losing sensation from the waist down!--but chances are good that it's only going to get more uncomfortable as time goes on, and it'll just linger in your closet as a reminder of the perfect dress that you bought, but never actually belonged to you.

Image source: iStock

Rushing A Big Purchase

If you're about to drop all of your money from your after-school job on something big--like a new piece of tech or a clothing item that's out of your usual spending limit--try and wait three days before you do it. This seems like a long time, but it's a good way to figure out if you really want something or if it's just an item that looks really cool now, but you'll forget about (or regret) in about a month. (And if it's sold out by the time you get to it, it just wasn't "meant to be." This is what I always tell myself, anyway.)

Image source: iStock

Letting Your Friends Talk You Into Stuff 

You know about certain ways peer pressure can be dangerous--when it involves drugs, alcohol,jumping off of bridges, etc.--but nobody in health class talks to you about the dangers of succumbing to peer pressure when shopping. See, most of your friends probably have the tendency to act as "yes men" (women, technically) when you're shopping, which means that they'll approve of anything that you're thinking of buying. This is great if you want an excuse to spend some money, but not so good if you want to be talked into buying a lot of stuff that you don't need. If you want to get real answers, you should go shopping with your mom. (I know. You'll be fine.)

Image source: iStock

Do you have a shopping problem? Do you have any other tips on how to avoid shopping traps? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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