“Sale! Sale! Sale!” – How To Control Your Budget and Get The Most Out Of It!
It is ironical that I am writing this article as I am known as the Queen of Shopaholics amongst my friends. I am constantly shopping offline and online, even during classes. However, what my friends do not know is that despite my weakness, I do know how to save when it comes to shopping!
The terms, “saving” and “shopping” do not usually go together. In fact, one may argue that when it comes to shopping, you are not doing any saving of money. But over the years, I have learned to shop smart. And today, I am sharing some of my personal tips on how not to bust your bank account!
1) Set a monthly budget for shopping
This might be a very “in your face” kind of tip but surprisingly, not many people do it.
I have never set a budget for myself in the past and back then, I shopped mindlessly! Before I knew it, I had already spent every single cent of my pocket money by the first week of a new month. As such, I had to resort to eating bread or skipping meals for the rest of the month. There was even a period when I felt very down and turned to shopping to seek solace. It was a rough time for me because I spent $1000 on shopping, which is a pretty huge deal for a university student!
Well, I learnt my (extremely painful) lesson after that and now I usually set aside a budget. I would spend 20% of my allowance on shopping, save 50%, and keep the remaining 30% for my daily expenses. I even downloaded an app, Seedly, to track my monthly expenses. The cool thing about Seedly is that it is developed locally and you can link it to your bank account so you can view at a glance what you spend most on!
2) Use cashback websites
I am sure most of you have heard of cashback websites such as Shopback and Ebates since they have been promoted aggressively by social media influencers. Well, for the uninitiated, these websites help you to save money when you shop through them.
For example, instead of shopping on Asos directly, all you have to do is sign up for an account on either Shopback or Ebates, click the Asos link through their websites and just shop per normal. And voila! You will get about 3.5% cashback on your purchases.
Occasionally, Shopback has tie-ups with Visa and I once received 20% cashback when I used my Visa debit card. Shopback can also be used for Grab or Uber rides, and even for food delivery services like Deliveroo! However, do note that some of the cashbacks are only available on their mobile apps.
I saved a lot when I started using these websites and so far, I have received a total of $200 from all my purchases!
But what if you do not shop online? Would that mean you would lose out? Well, fret not because there is an app, Deja, that could offer you cashback for your offline shopping! All you have to do is scan your receipt and wait for your purchases to be approved for cashbacks. Unfortunately, this service is currently only available for female shoppers. :(
3) Avoid using debit/credit cards for purchases
Ever received a shock of your life when you see your bank statement? Well, it has happened to me one too many times. I would shop and swipe my debit card happily and then when I check my bank balance, I do not even have sufficient money to withdraw. Oops!
Credit: Credit Sesame
That is because when using a card, many people are misled into thinking that they have unlimited cash and thus, they tend to spend recklessly. So, it is always a good idea to withdraw a sum of money at the beginning of the month and lock your cards away. This way, you are limited to a certain amount of money and in turn, can better track your expenses. If you are extremely conscientious, you can also note down every single spending in the Seedly app!
4) Invest in quality items
To get the best bang for my buck, I would spend less on cheap items such as a $5 basic T-shirts at Bugis Street, and buy my basics at Uniqlo, Topshop, etc instead. Although, they might be more expensive, the quality is definitely much better and they last longer. Imagine spending $5 every two months on a T-shirt that tears easily versus splurging $70 once on a T-shirt that has lasted me for about 5 years. It might seem a lot to pay at once but it certainly costs me lesser per wear!
Credit: MEPS UK
Plus, it is more environmentally friendly because you discard lesser clothing (or maybe it is just my evil shopaholic side trying to persuade me to indulge in my expensive taste)!
So here are the top four tips that I constantly use to help me save and buy more clothes (haha!). I hope you will find them useful and maybe you can consider weaving them into your daily life too! :)