2 Money-Saving Shopping Tips to Live (and Spend!) By

By Diana Zarowin - New York University-Stern

My friends and I are big shoppers. I fully admit this. Clothing, shoes, books, and exercise classes – you name it, we shop for it! But, over the years, we’ve learned to be more prudent about our spending. College and emerging adulthood will do that to you, young ones. There is a lot of good, though, that comes from being a wise spender. Ultimately, you get more bang for your buck, have extra money to use, and can often purchase more since you made smarter shopping choices.

My girlfriends and I have come to live and spend by two specific (read: intentional and thoughtful!) rules. Check out the money-saving shopping tips below and enjoy your next bout of spending wisely!

Parallel Spending & Times Worn

This is a trick that my friends [read: shopaholic friends] and I live by! Before purchasing an item, ask yourself if you plan to wear the selected item the same number of times as the cost of the item. For example, if a top costs $50, will you wear it at least 50 times? If the answer is yes, go right ahead and purchase the item! You will [at least attempt] to obtain the most usage for your spending with this tactic.

Of course, the times worn doesn’t have to be exactly parallel to the cost of the item, but you should try and make purchase decisions based on how likely continuous wear is. If a specific outfit purchased has a likelihood of being worn just a few times, consider the purchase more carefully and see if it’s really worth the price!

Hours Worked versus Item Cost  

Another favorite tip of mine is comparing the hours you work to the money you would spend on an item. In similar thinking to the first tip above, take the amount of money an item costs and divide it by your hourly wage. For example, if a pair of stilettos costs $200, and you make $20 an hour, ask yourself if the shoes are worth 10 hours of work.

Of course, some of you may not make an hourly wage (you might be working with a stipend amount, allowance from parents, or lump some of money). But, try to gauge how worth it the expense is given the amount of hours you’d have to work to make the money you would need to afford the desired item.