This post is completely different than most of my posts that deal with fashion or travel, this one is about finance. Specifically my personal shopping habits.
I tend to get a lot of comments in regards to buying clothes, or the places that I buy them from. I guess I might give the impression that I spend a lot of money on clothes, shoes and accessories, but that’s not the case.
I’m sure I spend more money than some people, like other people spend more money than I do.
So I want to walk through how my budget works, how I shop and what helps me save money on the things that I like.
I work hourly, but my hours are set so I know what I’m getting paid each month. And since I graduated from college and started working full-time, I’ve had a shopping/entertainment/misc. budget. This budget takes care of any personal shopping (clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup, personal items, home decor, etc) and things like going to the movies or paying for any kind of other activity. The misc. part applies to medical copays, haircuts or any other expense that are not monthly.
So this is the set budget. The number does not change. And that number can only be spent from the 1st of the month until the last day of the month. This mentality keeps me from overspending and going into debt. I know what I can spend every month and unless an emergency arises or I have more money coming in from somewhere else, I do not go over it.
Of course this has its pros and cons. Pros are that I have a set amount of money that I can spend every month and the stability keeps me on track with the rest of my finances. Cons are that sometimes things happen and you have to spend more so it becomes a bit restrictive. When this happens and I don’t have that extra money- it means that I have less money the next month. But the point is that I don’t go over the budget (I don’t dip into savings and I don’t overuse my credit card) which leads me to my next point…
How Do I Shop?
This set budget is spent using a specific credit card. So every month, whenever I need to shop for the aforementioned things, I do it by swiping the good old credit card. For all my peeps that are now worrying about my credit score-don’t. This number is well below the 25% of my credit card limit (this accounts for all my current credit cards).
So at the end of the month, I pay off my credit card balance which is the same number every month. It’s never a surprise.
Why do I shop with my credit card?
I love cash back! The credit card that I use for personal shopping gives me 3% cash back on online shopping and I LOVE online shopping. This is how all my clothes and shoes are usually bought.
I save the cash back to either help pay for the end of month credit card balance (in case I needed to spend a bit more than usual-I don’t do this unless I know I have the cash back) or I just save it for a future purchase (if I want to buy a more expensive item or I have a trip coming up which requires more money).
I also get some deals that are specific to stores or websites that can range from 5% to 10% on single purchase. Just last month I used a Airbnb deal for an upcoming trip and got $30 in cashback.
Having cash back puts more money in my pocket which helps me buy more things that I want.
Whether I’m in store or online, the first thing I check is the sale section. For my favorite stores, I check a couple of times a week, especially if I’m waiting for something to go on sale. I’ve also signed up for e-mail notifications to pretty much all of the stores I like, so I know right away when they have a sale (I check my e-mail several times a day-I hate the red notifications).
I also have one store credit card for J.Crew which is where I get a lot of my clothes from. They have sales all the time and even more if you have a credit card. From 50% off sale to double points using your credit card, they ALWAYS have some kind of sale. And after you reach a certain amount of points, they send you rewards ($5-$25 to spend online or in-store).
I don’t recommend getting a store credit card from anywhere unless you really shop there and have self control. I use it for the rewards.
Selling Your Closet
So I used to do this more in college, but I still do it every now and then. I would always clean out my closet for things I no longer wanted and sold my clothes, shoes, accessories and bags online. I used to sell in places like Ebay, Mercari and Poshmark.
I take good care of my things, so they are always pristine, which makes it easy to sell them online. Nowadays I have’t done it as much because I get lazy and I don’t like waiting for things to sell, so I just go to consignment stores instead. Or I flat out donate it.
While this is a good option, selling online always brings you a bigger profit. Just do a seasonal cleaning of your closet and start selling off the items that you no longer want!
Make money while doing what you like..
Since I started my first job, I’ve learned to profit while shopping. I know that I can profit from using my credit card and using ebates on almost every purchase. I don’t use this as an excuse to buy more, but as a way to spend less on what I was going to buy anyways.
If you would like to share any shopping/savings tips please leave them in the comments, I would love to implement new things to help me save on my online shopping habits!