How to Shop Smarter?

Shopping for some is a therapy and for some, it’s a necessity. We shop for clothes, accessories, footwears, handbags, etc. Sometimes after purchasing a product, we regret buying it and sometimes we find it worth it or may be rewarding. This blog is about how to shop in a way that it is always worth it and rewarding. As shoppers, we know ourselves and our type. Sometimes we go to buy one thing bring in another or sometimes we go to buy five items and return with none. Some people are impulsive shoppers while some prefer to go through a process before spending their money. So let's begin to understand the best possible route to shop.

Creating a list
Yes, it is the most important thing. You may create it on a paper, on your phone or for just a few items in your head. Divide the list into three categories - Need Now, Search and Shop and Luxury.

Need now
Search and Shop
It has the exact items that you know and must buy.
It has the items for which you need to research and compare and then decide.
It has the items that you want but not need.
Example -
  1. A particular brand and shade of lip color
  2. A basic black tank top of a particular brand
  1. Sport Shoes, you have to decide on the brand and category.
  2. Mascara - You have to decide what color, waterproof or non-waterproof, range, brand, etc.
Example -
  1. A wrist watch of some particular brand, which you might want to gift yourself or someone else.
  2. A statement designer piece for your center table.
  3. A cute stationery product.

Keep on updating your list. Add items, cross the items bought, cross items you decide not to buy, shift items from rights column to left. This list gives you a clear picture of what items you need to focus on, what items requires more research and what can be ignored. It is important to carry your list whenever you are shopping. Create this list either on a diary that you carry in your handbag or on your phone, whichever suits you best.

Fix a Budget
Creating a budget is the best way to eliminate unnecessary expenses. Tight and strict budgets are difficult to follow and once you stray from what you have set then it’s difficult to get back on track. Here is how to create thought through, flexibly strict and feasible to follow the budget.
Spend the first month in understanding you spending style and creating your existing budget. Here is how a basic budget looks like -

Eating Out








Everyday before going to bed, add all the expenses in all the categories. You may add or remove categories and customise it to suit your lifestyle. By the end of the month you will know where your money goes. Then next month create a budget around it, assign a particular amount to each category, shopping being one of them. Every month you are suppose to spend only that particular amount on shopping never more. If by chance you happen to spend less than the assigned amount in a particular month then pass it on to next month. Never spend more than assigned amount and decide to compensate for it next month. This is a Big Rule that can’t be broken ever.

Stay Disciplined - Do not fall for Sale and Freebies
Yes, it is helpful and smart to buy products on sale but to buy them just because they are on sale is the worst idea. Clever marketers use various ways to lure buyers and make them buy things they neither need nor want. Even if it is a sale, do not spend money anything that does not exist on your list. Also do not add anything to your list just because it is on sale.
If you would not have bought any item without sale it is not worth spending when on sale.

Do your Homework
Because I asked you to not fall for products on sale doesn’t mean I do not prioritize shopping on discount. There are some items you might get on discount while there are others which will never be on sale. You may wait for a while and then act on your instincts. Look for the same product online, it may be on discounted price on one or the other side. Sometimes even if it’s not on discount, any particular offer on the site can bring down the price. These offers include Cashback policies, discount on using particular card, some price off on a minimum value purchase and so on. Most of the times what I prefer is going off-line window shopping and then searching same product online and buying it at lower price.You may also try the same. This way you have experienced the product and know the quality, exact color, and material which might differ from the displayed image online. After being sure, you can simply go ahead place an online order.

Shop in Present - No need to predict your future size
You might be on a weight loss diet, muscle gain program but none of it can surely tell you your size next month. You cannot decide at what portion you will be gaining or losing inches. Clothes will be there next month too. So why not postpone your shopping? Clothes that are slightly tight or loose stay in the wardrobe for most part of their lives. Product looks best at the store with so many lights and mirror. If it is not looking perfect at the moment, it won’t ever look better. 99% of the clothes that were just a little tight on my body have never been worn. So BUY YOUR SIZE only. It’s a lesson to remember a lifetime.

Don’t go Shopping with anyone and everyone
The idea of spending Saturday with friends or families just shopping and chit chatting might appear good. But the consequences are not always best. A shopping partner can make you buy or not buy an item. So choose your shopping partner wisely. You do not want to spend a huge amount on an item that you might not use very often just because you like to shop in a group. Find a right partner who understands your style and lifestyle both, who is clever enough to tell you what you will love to wear and what is not worth your hard earned money.
To decide who is the best shopping partner, go through things you use most and think with whom you bought those. Also, think about the stuff you regret buying and now think of the faces who motivated you to invest in them. Pick the former ones for shopping.
Some of us are good at shopping alone. Don’t hesitate in riding solo!

Read the reviews
There are various sites that have reviews about the product. You should be able to identify if it’s a marketing review or honest review by the buyer. It is recommended specially for the items you can’t get offline. Reviews can give a fair idea about the quality of the product and also after sale experience of a buyer. I also suggest writing reviews on the products you purchased. It’s like we all shoppers helping each other.

Last Cliche - Opt for Quality over Quantity
The value of product needs to be established as per use or per wear. If you wear a 100$ T-shirt 50 times then it’s cost per wear is 2$. If you wear a 50$ T-shirt 10 times then it’s cost per wear is 5$. This is how you should calculate if the product is worth it or not. Some dresses will be worn less but then they are for special occasions. Never shop in bulk. Firstly, because you don’t need to and secondly, because things go out of trend very soon.

Follow some or most of the above rules of shopping and you will feel good about your shopping. Let me know if there are any other struggles you face or any other shopping rules you follow to be a smart shopper. Happy Shopping!