With November finally here, it means holidays are just around the corner! And with holidays just around the corner, so are the inevitable sales. In the past, I would buy anything and everything I wanted because hey, it’s on sale – and I deserved to treat myself, right? But that quickly turned into money down the drain on things I didn’t need anyway, and clutter – lots of it. And when we treat ourselves often, is it really a treat anymore?
There are tons of guides online on managing, tracking, and budgeting your expenses. This isn’t one of them. I’ll be talking about conscious spending: building better spending habits based on things you already own, and being aware of what you’re spending your hard earned money on.
Plan what you’ll be buying ahead of time
It seems a little silly to put this in for an article that’s about avoiding sales and saving money, but hear me out! When I want to buy something, I make a habit of putting it in my shopping cart or list and leaving it in there for a week, or two if I can. That’s ample time for me to decide if it’s something that I actually want, or if it’s just something that’s trending. I end up forgetting that I wanted it in the first place a lot of the time – it’s a good indication that it’s something I don’t need.
Holiday sales periods tend to be short, usually lasting for just a few days. That’s definitely not enough time, for me at least, to logically think about if it’s something I actually need or want. Most holiday sales start around November; a quick Google search will narrow down the approximate dates for almost any retailer.
Will it serve a purpose?
Be honest with yourself – is it something you want because it’ll serve a purpose, or is it something you want for the sake of having it? I often find myself wanting something because it’s new to the market and all the influencers are talking about it. Keep in mind that it’s the influencer’s job to talk about new and upcoming products, and they regularly get sent these things!
Think about the products you already have that are similar or dupeable in your collection, too – we hear so often about lipsticks that are “similar but this one’s a little more pink/mauve/deep/whatever when swatched” – girl, they literally look the same on your lips and nobody will be able to tell the difference but you. The point is, you don’t need something that looks nearly identical to something you already have.
Do you have anything similar that can be finished up first?
This ties in with the previous point – is there anything else that’s similar that can be used up first? I used to be notorious for buying a ton of body lotion and lip balms – I still kind of am with lip balms to be honest. Can I realistically finish up 5 tubes of lip balm (and who knows how many pots) to justify buying another one, though? Absolutely not. And don’t use “that’s just the way it is for us beauty enthusiasts” as an excuse to buy something you don’t need.
I give myself a limit of having 2 or 3 of a similar product since I like rotating them out from time to time. That way, I can still get my fill while not being bored with what I already have (doesn’t that sound like such a consumerist, first world problem?). I tend to collect a lot of deluxe samples for traveling as well, and it’s something I can dip into if the collection grows too large.
Is it something you need a backup of right now?
Okay, so what if it’s a product you’re not close to finishing it up anytime soon, but it’s something you absolutely love? I’ve definitely been guilty of hoarding backups of my shave cream and concealer. I know I won’t be needing those extra backups for a while! They’re useful to have for sure, but the extra ones just take up more space and clutter. Sales happen regularly or on a schedule depending on the retailer, so it’s not like they’re never going to be on sale again. Plus, you never know if your preferences will change. If you’re not bulking up on your current favorites, then go ahead – it makes sense since you’re getting something you routinely use at a discount!
Regarding treat purchases
Remember, the purpose of treat purchases are that they’re a treat. Holiday sales are a perfect time to drop money on things that you wouldn’t normally spend on, but don’t let it turn into a reason for blind consumption. It’s perfectly fine to buy that new palette even though you don’t need it, but just don’t let it be a constant thing that happens.