Now that our Money, Shopping and Saving Hacks are fully embedded, I’d like to think I have a good relationship with money and some good saving habits, but it wasn’t always that way. From the age of 16 when I first started earning my own money, I loved to spend it.
Looking back, I had no concept of the benefits and merits of saving, I was too young to recognize those emotions at the time. And, if you were to psycho-analyze it, I somehow felt guilty about holding onto my money but that’s for a different book.
Whilst I still beat myself up about my old purchasing habits, I know I am far from in the minority. Hence why I feel compelled to share my experience in the hope that it inspires others who may be struggling. Or maybe just need a helping hand to address their own purchasing habits. According to Paul Buckley, Consumer & Marketing Psychologist at Cardiff Metropolitan University possessions are societal benchmarks, our associative group. We live in a society which rewards you for shopping and there is constant pressure and expectation to ‘keep up’.
Money, Shopping and Saving Hacks: Brand Disloyalty
I would use branded bags to carry my belongings around in which many of us have done. I cringe when I think about it now because it feels like bragging, i.e. ‘look at me and where I can afford to/am cool enough to shop at’. I could make the excuse that I was simply reusing my bags but I know that’s not really true.
These days when I do go shopping, I take a tote bag and if I am given a branded bag I use it to collect my next load of donations for the charity shop. I was never a weekend shopping center kind of girl, but loved to spend money and accumulate stuff, be it from shops or online. It was somehow comforting to buy myself stuff and to receive parcels. An ex-boyfriend once said that when he first met me, I was always looking for something to buy.
Money, Shopping and Saving Hacks: Biting the Bullet
In 2009 after years of deliberation, I finally dealt with my out of control unsecured debt once and for all. It had overshadowed my entire adult life and done untold damage. Having been in a relationship with somebody who actively discouraged me from writing off my debt despite having none of their own and living rent-free with their parents at the age of 27, I had put off the decision for years, especially as their words were ‘don’t you dare’.
I think this came from a misguided sense of how they might look if anybody found out about it. This was the same person who expected me to enjoy expensive holidays including skiing trips for three consecutive years when I couldn’t afford it despite being fully aware of my monthly financial commitments but wanted us to keep up with the Jones’. I was also harboring under the illusion that I had to wear my wealth (well, spoils of my hard-earned salary) by having something to show for it.
Money, Shopping and Saving Hacks – Top tips for kicking the habit/spending less money
- Adopt a one-in-one-out policy when you want to replace something. If you can’t do this before you make a purchase then either list the old item for sale to make a bit of your money back or give it away (charity or otherwise)
- Borrow or rent things you will only use once or a couple of times – you don’t have to own everything you need to use, e.g. tools, ski gear, etc.
- Cancel magazine subscriptions – in my case, the constant adverts and editorials for aspirational purchases were having a negative influence
- If there’s something you want to buy, put it in your diary for a later date and see if you still have the urge at that point. If it’s online, save it in your basket and come back to it – do you still want it?
- Keep a spreadsheet of your weekly purchases and monitor monthly totals/price rises, etc.
- Remove saved credit/debit cards from your online accounts so you aren’t tempted to make impulse purchases
- Remove shopping and reward Apps from your Smartphone/tablet (if you have one – even easier if you don’t!)
- Unsubscribe from emails which could tempt you to make an online purchase – you can’t buy what you don’t know about. There are some great Apps you can install if you get a lot of emails or find the idea of mass-unsubscribing overwhelming
- Use online trading sites to earn a bit of extra money from your unwanted stuff, e.g. eBay, Facebook, Gumtree, etc.
- If you’d prefer to give stuff away, Facebook, Freecycle, and Trashnothing are all good options
- An age-old and obvious one but always worth mentioning – if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it and especially not on credit – save up!
What money, shopping, and saving hacks do you swear by?