Shopping? Shivika, are you sure you want to write about it? I mean, isn’t your blog about creating wealth? So shouldn’t be talking about saving money? Oh, I don’t get it.
As in, I don’t understand why we always have to equate creating wealth to being frugal. They are two completely different concepts, and most importantly, two completely different mindsets.It is in the mindset that we make or break our life’s goal, including our financial roadmap.
If we have learnt to supercharge our relationship to money, then the inevitable result is a cooperative flow of events and an abundant rendezvous with money. Which, you would agree with me, is a good thing.
And, yes careless spending sprees are soooo 2002.
We are now experiencing an age where not only are we enjoying a cushioned (read connected) lifestyle, but are also able to track our financial behavior in a more efficient manner. And, fast!
The tools and resources available today are mind boggling. I mean there is Mint to analyze all our bank accounts, incomes and expenses all on one spreadsheet, there is CreditKarma to monitor the health of our credit, there is a host of payment suites that make exchange of money like a walk in the park…Venmo, PayPal, Stripe to name a few.
So, really, our options to be mindful of spending has increased tenfolds, while the inflation hangs at about 1.3% (lower than 2016 rate of 2.1%). There are other economic factors and monetary policies at play, but if we were to simplify the current environment that we live in, the
financial wealth gods are in our favor.
Going back to the point I was making about spending sprees – we don’t need to fall victim of those silly roadrunner type of events any more and buy things that are a) beyond our purchase power b) we don’t need.
Allow me to share three simple ways that we can maximize our shopping binge, which provides tangible rewards far greater than those of Netflix/Hulu binges. Just sayin’. So, let me show you how to shop debt free. Well, almost.
# 1 Ebates
If I could scream from roof tops to roof tops like a crazy gorilla, this word would be it. I have saved not only clothes, shoes and makeup, but also on hotel reservations, kitchen appliances, blog hosting sites, and more. This is how it works:
- You sign up for an account here and then also download it as a Chrome app so it turns on everytime you are shopping online (it prompts for cash back + coupons)
- Anytime you sit down to shop online, make it a habit to go to Ebates.com to first check the cash back offers, and proceed from there
- Link your PayPal account, if you have one, to your Ebates account so that every quarter the money gets automatically deposited in your account. (yes, money not credit or store cards or other crazy hooks like that. Moolah, baby). The other options are: receive a check in the mail, or have it directly donated to an organization or a family member
Check out below a snapshot of my savings: sweet thing, right?
# 2 Sample Sale/Consignment Retail
Nothing says “aah” like a vacation to Hawaii that is 75% off or a soft cozy cashmere sweater for $25 (remember, this is smart spending because cashmere lasts longer, and provides value far exceeding its $25 price tag). These days, sample sale concept is being played elegantly online, so no more barging in through the doors after standing in line for hours (yup, been there done that…and don’t look at me with those crazy eyes). Oh and no more crazy fights for that one pair of size 4 pants that six pair of hands simultaneously claimed.
Also, time your shopping to birthdays, bridal/baby showers, wedding, etc. so that you are not splurging last minute. I bought a box of Tocca Perfumes for $15 a couple of months back because I knew a few important birthdays were coming up, and I wanted to be prepared and not spend mindlessly on last minute thoughtless gifts (one box was for my aunt who absolutely loves perfume). And, I would buy now for Christmas. Trust me, you will be thanking me to the moon for this suggestion.
Check out: Gilt, RueLaLa, TheRealReal, Outnet for some really awesome deals on designer goods, but most importantly nicely made things that would last you longer. They also include dinner experiences, travel deals and grooming services all at considerable lower price points.
# 3 Apps to buy/sell
Yup, you are reading it right. I am asking you to sell as well. Poshmark app allows you to buy and sell at the same time. Not only you end up making money selling your never worn mustard green slacks (which, by the way, I would instantly snag it from you), but you also get to explore other buying opportunities available to you, if you are interested.
Offer Up is another app that allows you to buy and sell – you can instantly sell furniture/appliances/accessories right from your phone. No expert coding skills required. And I kid you not, the response rate and speed is greater than 50%. I listed my accent chairs in the morning, and by afternoon, they were gone. And, I simultaneously scored an awesome coffee table. (nope! not getting paid to promote – only telling like it is).
Bottom line, shopping these days is such a competitive event. With retailers and online stores targeting the same set of market, we, the consumers, are turning out to be the winners. But, here is a big IF. Only if we are spending wayyy below our income (spending smart, that is), only then we are turning out to be true winners.
And, to live a financially free and a wealthy life, that is all that matters.
What do you think?