We all love that feeling of getting away with paying less than usual for an item we wanted.
But how can we be sure we're getting the most out of our budget?
Today I'm bringing you 21 of my favorite tips to shop smart and save money.
Gents, don't let a limited budget stop you from aiming high.
I promise by the end of this article you'll learn new ways to stretch your money and get the best deals on the items you want.
Here's a brief overview of the tips:
- Buy Winter Clothing In The Summer.
- Face The PAIN Of Spending (By Using Cash).
- If You're Unsure, Sleep On It.
- Don't Drink And Shop – Seriously.
- Say Positive Things About What You Own.
- Don't Shop On Your Payday.
- Only Buy The Things You LOVE.
- Buy The Best You Can Afford (And Take Care Of It).
- Know what you’re paying for (Check your receipt)
- Don't Buy Fakes – Seriously
- Be Willing To Hunt.
- Know Your Sales Associate By Name.
- Make That List Already.
- Put Things Into Perspective.
- Love Wearing It? Buy Multiples.
- Repurpose Old Clothing.
- Beware Of The Tailor Tax.
- Go Thrift Shopping
- Borrow Or Rent What You’ll Wear Once
- Skip Out On Trends – Buy Timeless Items
- Subscribe for discounts.
Without further ado, let's have a look at the list.
1. Buy Winter Clothing In The Summer
When is the best time to buy winter clothing? Hint: it’s not holiday sales. Most clothing stores typically divide their collections to spring/summer and fall/winter.
Once a season is over and clothing for the next one starts rolling in, stores have insane clearance sales.
By then, you can’t expect them to have all the items still available, as most will be sold out, but those that are left are often ridiculously cheap.
2. Face The PAIN Of Spending (By Using Cash)
A 2015 study published in the Journal Electronic Commerce Research and Applications set up an auction-like scenario and instructed half of the participants to pay with cash, and the other half with cards.
What they found is that those who were paying with cards were – unknowingly – willing to spend as much as 100% more than those with cash on the same items, even though they were given the same amount of money.
Simply put, seeing the money leave their hands made cash users more cautious of what they were buying and how much they were offering for it.
Shopping with cards is quick and easy – yes – but one of the best ways to trick yourself into saving money is bringing your budget in cash.
3. If You're Unsure, Sleep On It
Let's say you're looking at something and you're just about ready to buy it, but in the back of your head a voice is telling you something is not quite right.
Sure, the price tag says 50% off and it sounds like a great deal, but do you really need it? The best thing to do is leave it for now, sleep on it, and make the decision tomorrow.
If you still feel the need for it the next day – by all means – go and get it. But what you'll find is you'll often forget about it altogether.
This tip is especially useful when you're thinking about making a big purchase (new phone, car, house, etc.).
4. Don't Drink And Shop – Seriously
A survey published by The Hustle, where 2000 regular alcohol consumers were asked about their shopping habits, concluded that people on average spend around 500$ a year on drunk shopping.
That might not sound like much, but when multiplied by the number of people in the world, it's estimated that as much as $45 BILLION per year goes to shopping under the influence of alcohol.
It's no secret that alcohol is the key component in many stupid decisions, so it's no surprise many of these decisions involve spending money where you otherwise wouldn't.
5. Say Positive Things About What You Own
One of the biggest influencers of impulse buying is having a negative attitude towards the things you own.
The next time you find yourself complaining about things you have, try to look at it from the other perspective.
Instead of saying “These shoes are so old, I need a new pair” say “I've had these shoes for over 3 years and they still look great”
Rather than saying “The camera on this phone is so bad, the newer one has a 50MP camera” say “I've had this phone for 2 years and it never broke”
If you list the good against the bad, what you'll find is – more often than not- the good outweighs the bad.
6. Don't Shop On Your Payday
As a matter of fact, don't shop for an entire week after you get your paycheck.
When you have money to spend, an item you would normally ignore suddenly becomes an item that would be nice to have.
A week after payday is typically the time you use to catch up on any expenses you have to pay, like bills, mortgage, bank loans, and so on.
After you've dealt with those, you'll have a clearer understanding of how much money you have left.
7. Only Buy The Things You LOVE
It might sound cliche, but you should never settle for something you're not absolutely sure about.
Buying something out of necessity, thinking “this will have to suffice”, guarantees you aren't going to be happy with your purchase and you'll look to replace it in the future.
Once you buy the replacement item you wanted, you'll realize you have spares collecting dust.
If you just like it, don't buy it! It's better to shop smart and save money, than spend it on something you won't enjoy.
8. Buy The Best You Can Afford (And Take Care Of It)
Generally – the higher the quality, the higher the price. Don't trade quality in an attempt to save money.
It sounds counterintuitive, but let me explain. By buying high quality, you spend more money now, but save more money later.
Not only do higher quality items last longer – if you spend a decent amount on an item – you're naturally going to take better care of it.
The extra care in return extends the lifetime of the item even more – and it all goes full circle.
Just keep in mind that expensive does not always mean high quality.
9. Know What You're Paying For (Check your receipt)
There’s nothing wrong with pulling out the calculator in the dressing room to see just how much you’re going to spend, especially when items are marked as “on-sale”.
This helps avoid overpaying or getting mislead by filler words such as “As much as X% off” or “Up to X% off”.
One time I went to the cash register with 3 items labeled 50% off. When I was told my total, I thought it was a little too high and asked the sales associate to check.
It turned out that none of the items were on sale and it was a mistake. If I added any more items to the bill, it might have missed that completely.
On a positive note, some stores will carefully hide little discount codes on their receipt, that say something like 30% of the cheapest item next time you buy or similar, so keep an eye out for that as well.
10. Don't Buy Fakes – Seriously
I understand the urge to buy copies of items that are out of your budget, but they are a waste of money for many reasons.
You might think no one is going to notice you're wearing a fake Rolex and you're probably right – most people can't tell the difference.
However, knockoff items often have inflated prices because of the (fake) branding, and have very low quality.
Why spend $200 on a fake Rolex when the cheap metal is going to stain, the strap is going to break, the glass will scratch.
There are many other options available to you at various prices.
11. Be Willing To Hunt
Different stores offer similar items at different prices. We're used to menswear stores carrying pretty much everything, so we might feel as if we can finish shopping quickly by getting them all at the same place.
You need to understand how store prices work – they hook you in with low prices on some items (like shirts and pants) but other items (like socks and underwear) are intentionally more expensive.
They count on your laziness to overlook this fact and buy everything at the same time because it's more convenient.
But if you look at the receipt, you'll find that you spent $25 on a T-shirt and $35 on 3 pairs of socks.
Don’t be afraid to explore your options and then come back to the same store again on the same day if it means you'll save money (no, it doesn’t make you look stupid).
12. Know Your Sales Associate By Name
If you're like most guys, you tend to shop at the same places a lot. This means you were likely assisted by the same salesperson multiple times.
Befriend them, and they'll remember you and treat assisting you as a social interaction, rather than work.
The next time you shop, you can even ask for an additional discount. They often have some power in this, and they are more likely to use it for a familiar face.
Additionally, you can always ask them about upcoming sales, so you know the exact day to show up.
This way you can plan ahead, instead of randomly walking into a sale when weekend shopping – with 100 other people there.
13. Make A List Beforehand
I know you've heard of this rule before, but I'm putting it in here for one simple reason – most men don't follow it.
How do I know this? Simple, I've heard it many times myself, but didn't do it.
But seriously, guys, having a clear plan of action is great. Set up a budget and make a list of items you want to buy.
Once you buy everything off the list, you'll have an idea how much money you have left. This money can either be saved or spent on other things.
14. Put Things Into Perspective
Seeing an item outside of your budget on sale might make you think this is the best time to buy it, and it might be price-wise.
But before you buy it, think about the following:
- How often do you expect to use it?
- Are you buying it because you need it, or because it's on sale?
- How much does it cost when you convert it into working hours?
Why do sales exist? To make people buy items they weren't sure about. After all, it's better for a company to make a small profit from you, than no profit at all.
Time is money, and yours is valuable. Don't waste it chasing unnecessary spending goals.
15. Love Wearing It? Buy Multiples
When you find the perfect size for an item you wear a lot, you should always buy a few more.
You can never have enough white shirts, basic t-shirts, favorite pairs of underwear and so on.
That way, even if something happens to one pair, you always have an extra on standby.
Check out the essential items every guy needs to own multiple pairs of.
16. Repurpose Old Clothing
A study done by DailyMail UK found that the average person has as much as 1200$ worth of clothing in their closet that they never wear.
Have you ever gone out and bought something, only to later find a similar thing in your closet, that you completely forgot about?
Clothes that we don't often wear get buried in the back of our closets and forgotten. Every now and then, it might be a good idea to take a look at what's hiding underneath.
Even if you're not going to wear it, you at least have an idea what you have – you can always look to sell or donate some of it.
Try to take all the items you never use and add up their prices. That's a lot of money wasted, wouldn't you say?
17. Beware Of The Tailor Tax
Learn to fix basic problems on your clothing.
Many people go out and buy completely new clothing just because they don’t know how to sew on a loose button or the leg opening on the pants is too wide.
To avoid buying new clothing altogether, you can always take it to a tailor. But even then you're spending money on something you might be able to do on your own.
18. Go Thrift Shopping
Many people are biased about thrift stores and buying what's – for the most part – used clothing. People who shop at thrift stores can tell you just how ridiculous that bias is.
Try it for yourself and you'll be surprised at what you can find. Many of the items were never worn and some will still have original price tags attached to them so you know just how much you saved.
Some items go directly from big retailers into thrift stores as part of a donation, or they offer thrift stores low bulk prices for leftover items.
Since the nature of thrift stores is donation and repurposing, many of them have special charity programs with local communities.
That's means not only are you saving money, but you're also helping those in need along the way.
Some thrift stores will even offer to buy your old clothing, either for cash or shop credit.
19. Borrow Or Rent What You’ll Wear Once
This tip comes directly from the ladies – they exchange clothing all the time and it’s super effective.
They also rent things like jewelry, bags, shoes, etc.
Guys should do this too – If you can borrow something from a friend, do it.
20. Skip Out On Trends – Buy Timeless Items
Fashion trends come and go. Clothing stores keep track of what's “trending”, so popular items are often intentionally pricier than those that are always in stock.
When buying a clothing item, make sure it matches your other clothes.
Stick to basics – don't buy things with unnecessary additions to them (like graphic t-shirts) – it makes it less interchangeable.
Unless an item has a specific level of formality – like a tuxedo – you should be able to dress it up and down with everything else you’ve got in the closet.
Find what colors work for you and stick to those – no matter how much you like an item, if it doesn’t fit with everything else you’ve got, it’s going to lay in the back of the closet and you'll get no wears out of it.
21. Subscribe for discounts
Checking online for discounts is a well-known shopping tip to save money and time.
Some stores offer discounts if you subscribe to things like their email newsletter or you do a quick survey for them, so make use of that old e-mail.
Check for discount codes online – make use of that search engine and don’t be afraid to ask on the store's social media pages for any online-only deals.
Use sites like Amazon and eBay for things you can buy used, or that you don’t need to see in person to be able to buy.
Apply all these tips to your daily life, and you'll be able to shop smart and save money. Stretching your budget has never been easier.
Click below to watch the video – Luxury Tastes But Limited Budget? 21 Money-Saving Tips (Shop Smart)