Shopping traps you should be aware of

Retail therapy feels good until the bill arrives in the mail. (rawpixel.com pic)

You have just come home from a shopping trip at a luxurious mall, put your feet up and wallow in the pleasure of all your new purchases.

Then you compile the shopping receipts and realize that not only has this month’s shopping budget been blown, you’ve dipped into next month’s as well. Your next credit card statement will demand payment with money you don’t have.

Now is the time to reflect on the traps that snagged you and how to avoid these mistakes next time.

Getting sucked into sales

When you see the word “sale” advertised in a store, you believe that you’re going to get a great deal. This is not always the case.

Just because something is on sale does not mean that you must buy it, no matter how much you feel you need to.

Over time, the buying-on-sale habit will have you consistently overspending, eventually leaving you high and dry when you can’t keep up with your credit card payments.

Spending more to save more

Stores sometimes offer coupons and discounts for their products if you spend a certain amount of money.

In reality, you end up buying more items just to get that discount. When all is said and done, you haven’t really saved money, in fact, you’ve spent more than you would have if you hadn’t been so intent on getting a discount.

Impulse buying

Impulse buying most commonly happens at the grocery store because you pick up small items without realizing how much they add up as a sum total.

It’s also dangerous to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry as you will buy more food than you need.

When shopping, focus on needs rather than wants. (rawpixel.com pic)

Last-minute shopping

If you have an important gift to buy for a big occasion, it’s best to shop for it as far in advance as possible.

This will keep you from spending a higher amount of money as a result of stressful last-minute shopping when you might pick something that is closest to the front of the store or the first thing that you see.

Such behaviour can end up being more expensive than actually going out and making a considered purchase well before the big event.

Not having a list

Whether it is grocery shopping or clothes shopping, the lack of a list outlining your shopping needs can really set you back when you get to the store.

You might forget to buy certain items, or think you need particular things when you actually don’t need them at all.

Willy-nilly shopping will see a build-up of unconsidered purchases and add up to a larger bill when you check out. Making a list will narrow your focus to concentrate on exactly what you need to buy and nothing more.

Shopping too early in the retail cycle

Many people think that when something is launched for sale, they need to buy it right away because the item will sell out.

In most cases, products will be cheaper if you wait. Being afraid of missing one of the big retail highlights will cause you to overspend on one item, whereas you could spend less on a few different items instead.

Not focusing on what you need

Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean that you absolutely need it. Buying unnecessary sale items can cause you to overspend and end up with irrelevant purchases.

You will have wasted your money. When you go shopping, focus on exactly what items or necessary things you need at that time only. Being a smart consumer will give you the financial leg-up in the long run.

When you can keep yourself from falling into traps when shopping, you’ll not only curb your bad habits but will also save money in future. It is never too late to start shopping smarter.

This article first appeared in The New Savvy.

The New Savvy is Asia’s leading financial, investment and career platform for women. Our bold vision is to empower 100 million women to achieve financial happiness. We deliver high-quality content through conferences, e-learning platforms, personal finance apps and e-commerce stores.