By Christiana Osuoha
We all have those moments that neither of us is proud to admit. We find ourselves in the market. Of course we came with a shopping list. We had a budget in mind but we see this lovely yellow dress that is so frilly or this pair of shoes made with leather that an Aba shoemaker can only dream of having in his hands. We think of the compliments we would receive, how it would look with that nude heels you seldom wear or with the belt you got for Christmas. You know you shouldn’t go there but somehow you are drawn to the store. Against your good judgement, you advance slowly. ‘let me just check it out’ you say in your head. You know better but you still move closer, you pick it up in your hands and the feel of it is just perfect and then you try it on. Ha! It’s the perfect size. That rarely occurs. You know you should keep it back on the counter, you know that it wouldn’t do any good to your bank account. You remember that your account is still recovering from the expenses you made during Christmas. You bought a bag of rice for your mother; you gave your siblings a treat. You know you shouldn’t but you reach into your wallet for your ATM card.
We all have these brief times of weakness when we purchase things that we don’t actually need or are really not necessary. Whether it is in a market, a brick and mortar store or an online store, we find ourselves drawn to items that would be harmful to our bank accounts.
Well, as you can tell from the title of this article, I am about to give you the greatest shopping hacks to save more money while spending and to say NO to things that are not needed at the moment and focus on the much needed things. Here are some tips to help
- Make a list: it is a wrong idea to go into a store without having a list of things that you actually need. Creating a list streamlines your spending. It not only helps you remember everything you planned to buy, it also makes sure that you would not come out of the store with a bunch of stuff you don’t actually need. Next time you want to go shopping, make a list and stick to it. You’d see how much of a difference it makes.
- Shop with cash; a number of studies have indicated that people tend to spend 100% more when paying with credit/debit cards than with cash! Let’s analyse it a little bit, people spend more with plastics because it is easier but if you pay in cash, you immediately feel the penalty from what that item costs which can be painful at that time. People tend to focus on the benefits of a purchase rather than the cost when paying with plastics. On the other hand, if I go to the market with two thousand naira, I wouldn’t want to spend more than the amount I have at hand. Think about the last time you gave that cashier your card, did you need all that stuff you bought? If you did, did you plan to buy them all that day?
- Leave the spouses and the children at home; I know it sounds weird but this is also important when it comes to saving money. Yeah we all love our kids and that significant other but a 5 year old child always wants everything in the shop that he fancies and can create a fuss until his wants are met. And our significant other? Can we really resist when they stare at an item with longing in their eyes? I am sure we would want to impress and grant them their heart desire. Oh, the thing called love!
- Cook your own meals: some of us have this uncanny habit of always buying meals outside. I mean, nowadays the popular Ntachi Osa has the home delivery option. Quick and easy meals are addictive and we tell our consciences that we don’t have the time to prepare our own meals. Take a moment to calculate your weekly spending on food. Now multiply by 52, that exorbitant figure is what part of your money that goes into food only! Next time, try to buy the ingredients and make the meal yourself.
- Keep your eyes open for deals and clearance sale; with tons and tons of instagram vendors, it’s always easy to find products and items on sale. Try to look out for those. Remember to compare the prices and go for the one that is relatively cheaper. It is going to take time, yeah, but your bank account will thank you.
- save to cart; this is majorly for online impulsive spenders. Adding to cart can actually curb our impulsive purchases if only we use it the right way. When you see an item you want, resist the urge to purchase it right away by adding it to cart/wish list. Let it remain there for a few days, then revisit it and decide if it is something you actually need, or perhaps there is something more important that you need to purchase. You would find out that you probably don’t need that item after a few days of sleeping over it. So, start using the ‘add to cart’ feature right away.
- Journaling; this is a personal favourite of mine. At the end of each day, I write down all the stuff I bought, how much I bought them and the reason I made that purchase. Then I reflect on the way I spent my money. For example, I would write ‘I bought a skirt worth six thousand naira because I needed it for my cousin’s wedding’. Then I would evaluate it with thoughts like could I have prevented this purchase by wearing stuff that I already have? Why didn’t I get a less pricey skirt? Etc. This actually makes me sober about this spending thing. Journaling also helps you recognise the items you purchase often so that you can figure out a way to curb this purchase.
Wherever we are in the spending spree, there is always room for improvement. I feel like we should strive to cut down on our spending to be able to save money for other things.
Spending wisely is a responsibility we owe to ourselves as adults. It helps us to save towards purchasing the more important things. Hence, making our future better. If we worked hard for this money why do we have to spend it all within a twinkle of an eye. Let us strive to curb unnecessary spending and embrace saving now.