A Shopaholic’s Guide to Thrift

I am pleased to have compiled a scheme which can both save one pennies and also take the edge off a commerce-fast. For those of us who are students on a fixed income, on disability benefit, graduates wallowing in debt or simply those of us who have still not broken past that £6.00 per hour barrier into Salary-Land yet – this is the guide for you if you are longing for a spree or just for a release from the mundane uniformity and expense of real life.

I hasten to add that the motherly saying of “Everything in Moderation” is the key to success with this programme and as with all programmes, self-control is paramount.

1. Avoid internet shopping at all costs. This can lead you down the slippery slope of shopping without considering your bank balance. Reserve all of your shopping for going into town. That way, the conscious effort of getting the bus or driving involves spending both time and money, factors that will inevitably weigh up your spending power that day.

2. Try EVERYTHING on. That way you won’t go home with something you will never wear. Sale items or not, you will only buy items you can be arsed to try on and in that case, items you really do want.

3. Invest in a LBD. That way, any occasion can be dressed up or down according to how you accessorise which is much cheaper than buying a new outfit each time. You would be surprised how often you can wear that wardrobe staple and people really don’t notice. Miss Selfridge have a few very adaptable ones on sale now for under £40.00.

4. Now this is the tricky part. The only shoes you “need” are as follows. Black stilettos, silver strappy stilettos, flip flops, trainers, black knee-high boots, Ugg boots or similar, 2 x pairs pumps. Clean out all those crap Sale shoes and be sure you don’t buy shoes you don’t really need.

5. Sign up for a Boots Advantage Card. You can save up your points and use them to buy things! Very handy when you are skint and need a bottle of foundation desperately but have to also buy food and all you have is £6.00 to your name. It takes time to build up enough points but the rewards are basically getting things for free! In addition, don’t throw away the deals they print out for you with your reciept as these come in handy for purchasing the odd nail polish or eyeshadow or even moisturisers and Veet using the voucher or getting them at reduced prices! The Advantage Card also puts you on a biannual mailing list and so twice a year you get posted a little magazine along with a booklet of vouchers!

6. Similarly with a Nectar Card. Very useful around Christmas time. A years worth of Sainsburies grocery shopping and BP petrol will get you points to spend at Debenhams!

7. Look out for deals but don’t participate in the Sales feeding-frenzy. Sales equal coming home with crap that doesn’t fit. If you go Sale shopping then have it in mind what you WANT. Don’t buy tat and don’t buy things like jeans or bras as these items, when bought in a sale have less longivity than when you go out, try on and have your discerning-face on somewhere OTHER than Primark on the 28th December. Hell.

8. Only buy clothes with cash. If you are on a fixed income then limiting your shopping budget to £30.00 only will help you to make balanced decisions about spending. Debit card needs a rest, do it with cash and watch your money being physically exchanged for your purchases like back in the good old days.

9. For beauty products then do utilise the Boots clearance buckets because they are so ridiculously cheap that you can’t really go wrong. Plus they are usually full of hideous maroon lipstick and lime green eyeshadow so finding something you actually like is a task in itself but very worth a good forrage, especially if it is a preventative measure in the future also as 50p for a Collection 2000 red nail polish is well worth the extra drying time and coat application compared with £4.50 for a Barry M similar formula.

10. And finally, whenever you get a cash withdrawal, get an advice slip or a mini-statement and don’t just thrust it into your bag, READ it. The same goes for bank statements. Read then and actually see on paper where you spend your money and how much balance you have left. Its never fun and it may be a grizzly wake-up call but nevertheless it’ll shake you back into reality.

Good luck, young shoppers. Now go forth and be sensible!

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