Don’t break the bank: How to shop smarter despite rising costs
Keeping up with the rising cost of living is difficult but a few smart shopping strategies can help you stay on budget and save money.
With prices of basic necessities, such as groceries and utilities, continuously going up, it is important to learn how to become more savvy with your shopping.
As the founder and CEO of Smart Women Society, this is a topic I'm very familiar with. It's also something I cover in my book Smart Moves, which is packed full of more than 100 actionable tips for levelling up in your finances, your career, your wellbeing and your relationships.
So, here are my 11 tips to help you shop while navigating the cost of living crisis.
Buy versatile items
When shopping for clothes and accessories, it's important to consider the versatility of each item.
If you're shopping for clothes, look for pieces that can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.
For example, a simple black dress can be paired with heels and jewellery for a formal event or dressed down with sneakers and a denim jacket for a casual outing.
Accessories such as jewellery and bags should also be versatile so you can use them with multiple outfits.
This way, you can get more use out of each item and reduce the need to buy multiple products for different occasions, ultimately saving you money in the long run.
Invest in higher quality items
To ensure that you get the most out of your purchases, check for quality in the material, stitching, hardware, and finish of what you're buying.
By investing in high-quality items, you can save money in the long run by reducing the need for frequent replacements. These will often look and feel better, which can make you feel more confident and comfortable wearing them.
When shopping, take the time to examine items closely and don't be afraid to ask questions or do some research to ensure you're getting the best bang for buck.
Avoid purchasing the latest trends
Instead of buying trendy items, consider investing in timeless pieces that will last a long time and won't go out of fashion.
For example, a classic trench coat or a pair of black boots can be worn year after year and can be dressed up or down.
You can then inject an inexpensive, trend-based item into your wardrobe to pair with your existing staples.
Use coupons and discounts
Another way to shop smarter when costs are rising is to use online coupons and discount codes.
Many stores offer loyalty programs that provide discounts or points that can be used for future purchases.
You can also use cashback apps and websites, such as Cashrewards, to receive cash back for purchases you make at certain stores.
One of the simplest ways to shop smarter is to plan ahead.
This means making a list of the items you need before you go shopping and sticking to that list.
You should also compare prices and look for deals before you leave the house. By doing this, you will avoid impulse buying and overspending, which can be particularly tempting when prices are high.
Consider alternate brands
While you may be used to buying a certain brand of a particular item, there may be other brands that are just as good but cost less.
You can often find these alternative brands by reading reviews online or trying out a few different options.
By being open to alternative brands that are almost as good, you can save money without sacrificing quality.
Buy basics in bulk
Basic items like socks, underwear, and t-shirts are often things that need to be replaced regularly, so buying them in bulk can save you money in the long run.
By purchasing multiple items at once, you can often take advantage of bulk discounts or sales, and you won't have to worry about running out of these essentials anytime soon.
Additionally, buying basics in bulk can also save you time, as you won't have to go shopping for these things as frequently.
Just make sure that you're buying items that are of good quality and that you'll actually use.
Rent or borrow
Clothing rental services offer a unique opportunity to save money while still enjoying the latest fashion trends.
Instead of purchasing a fancy dress for a wedding outright, you can rent it out for the weekend for a fraction of the cost.
Rental services offer a variety of clothing options, from formal wear to everyday outfits. By using these services, you can expand your wardrobe without breaking the bank.
You can often find high-quality, second-hand items for a fraction of the cost of buying new.
Look for used items at thrift stores and online marketplaces such as Facebook.
Just be sure to inspect the items carefully before making a purchase to ensure they are in good condition.
Avoid impulse buying
Impulse buying is one of the biggest reasons why people overspend.
To avoid impulse buying, always wait 24 to 48 hours before making a purchase, to confirm you really do want to commit to buying.
Also, avoid shopping when you are hungry, angry, sad or in a rush.
Wait for a sale
Finally, waiting for sales can be a smart shopping strategy when costs are rising, you just need to be a bit patient to find those great deals.
Look for sales around holidays or other special occasions such as Black Friday, as these are often when stores offer their best discounts.
Téa Angelos, author of Smart Moves (Wiley, $32.95), is the founder and CEO of Smart Women Society (SWS), one of the world's fastest-growing online education platforms helping a thriving community of hundreds of thousands of women globally get smarter with their money, careers, wellbeing and love lives.