Although you may have got everything you wished for and more for Christmas this year, you may have found yourself still being enticed by those January sales.

Shopping can be good for the soul!

Shopping can be good for the soul!

They’re everywhere we go, and it can sometimes seem like you are going to miss out on a brilliant deal if you don’t impulsively buy whatever it is that’s caught your eye.

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of retail therapy if you need a little pick-me-up and it’s understandable why you might find yourself buying those reduced luxury pyjamas (despite getting three pairs for Christmas) around this time of year.

But if you find yourself mindlessly spending money on shoes, handbags, technology or any other luxury items that you know realistically you will never need or use, you might be starting to beat yourself up about some potentially dangerous shopping habits.

It’s very common, though. You’re not the only person having a mental debate with yourself waiting in the queue to buy another pair of trainers, and finally concluding ‘oh, it’s only money’ and putting it on your credit card. Maybe you keep finding yourself clicking on those promotional emails you’ve been sent by department stores and browsing through the sale section, adding things to your basket and then realising you’ve racked up a heavy few hundreds of pounds at the checkout.

I did the a similar thing myself yesterday. On my lunch break at work I went for a wander around a couple of the high streets stores and had a bit of an impulsive moment(s) in Zara. I found myself heading towards the fitting rooms with a handful of clothes on hangers that I didn’t actually need, but how could I resist?

I learned a couple of things about sensible shopping during that fitting room experience. The first was that, thank God I tried it on first, because what a waste of money that would have been otherwise. Yes - I could have just brought it back for a refund had I changed my mind, but a lot of stores these days will only exchange sale items rather provide a full monetary refund.

I’m a big believer in buying second hand, but I do treat myself to some high-street fashion when I see a good deal. One thing I tend to do when I see something I fall in love with is take a photo of the item and revisit the shop a week later if I still want it. In most cases, I’ve forgotten about the t-shirt, shoes, whatever it is, and I’ll find that picture weeks later and think ‘well, I saved a nice £30 there’...

You’ve got to ask yourself a lot of questions in that moment of do I, don’t I when it comes to retail therapy. Here’s some things to consider:

Am I buying this just because it is in the sale?

Do I already have something similar to this in my wardrobe?

Do I have thing this will go with, or is this purchase going to require another 3 or 4 items to make an outfit?

How many times am I likely to use it?

Can I afford to buy this within my budget?

Would I actually prefer something else?

Something else to consider if the answers to these questions leads you to go ahead with the purchase (or you simply do not care), keeping your receipt handy for a week or so is a wise decision in case you do change your mind. The amount of times I have misplaced receipts and ended up holding onto a sweater that I have three others alike, or found a tug in a wooly jumper I can no longer take back, is ridiculous.

On the other hand, you might have bought some things in the sale that you’re pleased with. No regrets. In that case, the retail therapy served you well. But why not make a fraction of that money back by flogging your older clothes online?

Personally, I don’t like having too many clothes and possessions. Forgive me if I sound like a do-gooder preacher. I’m a recent graduate, I probably couldn’t afford too many clothes and possessions even if I wanted them. Nonetheless, I like to know what I own, so whenever I buy a new item of clothing, I sell one of my older items online. This way I can make a bit of cash back on whatever it is I have bought, and not end up with a cluttered wardrobe.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself every now and then, but if your disposable income isn’t a lot, keeping these things in mind may be good for future shopping trips.

by for

Tagged in