A Shopaholic’s Guide to Saving Money

So at this point you all know, I am a workaholic. But what you may not know is that I am also a serious shopaholic! I’m a sucker for health and wellness products and skin care stuff in particular. I used to spend the majority of my pay cheques on clothes, but as I’ve gotten older the thrill of buying dress pants and blouses has really worn off.

The issue is, I am in that very expensive time of life where I need to save for all of those big ticket items. Mind you I am grateful I don’t have student loans, it is still important for me to get my act together.

I’m no “money master” but I have watched my fair share of Princess and get the idea, if you want to live an expensive lifestyle you need to make more money, if you can’t make more money then you need to cut consumer expenses (that’s right Sephora is a consumer expense and you really don’t need another serum).

So how does a shopaholic save money you may ask? Here are some of my tips that have worked for me.

  • Set up an automated payment to a savings account you cannot touch. For me (in Canada) I have something called a tax free savings account (TFSA) and I have set up an automated transfer to occur on pay day (bi-weekly) that equals approximately 10% of my pay check. The best thing about this is that it’s gone before I can even get to it, so it’s almost like it was never there in the first place. And although it isn’t much, this slowly adds up over time. Added bonus is that my TFSA is then invested and can end up earning me more money over the long term.
  • Take advantage of your company’s matching options. A lot of the time companies will have a stock option, retirement option or both. Your company will match a certain percentage of what you contribute. I would highly encourage you to maximize this as sometimes it can be a large amount matched, this varies on the company but I bet it averages about 5%. This is how it works, every pay you will contribute a percentage of your pay cheque to either company stock, an RRSP (retirement savings), or both. Then your company will match the amount or a portion of the amount! So, if you contribute 3% your company will too! Again, this is great because it is taken right from your pay before you even get a chance to spend it on the Balm Dot Com.
  • Take advantage of discount codes. OK I get it, I just put in my Glossier order too, I know we can’t stop spending entirely! But before you buy anything online do a quick search on Google for promo codes. True story, I have been dying to try Glossier products and just had to put an order in, I Googled a promo code and sure enough found 20% off. Podcasts are a great source of promo codes as well.
  • Using cash is an unrealistic option for most of us, so here is my alternative. Stash your credit card somewhere, give it to your mom or significant other, someone who won’t give in when you go to them begging for it. Now that you’ve gotten rid of the that, do some managing of your bank account. Transfer most of your money into a savings account, leaving only what you need in your chequing account. Figure out how much your bills are for the month and then maybe add a bit of a contingency amount. Live off the money in your chequing account for the whole month. Now I have an account that only lets me swipe my debit card 10 times before I get charged, for me this is motivation to not use it but be careful that you don’t end up getting extra charges.
  • OK, so you have to use your credit card? Make sure you are getting some sort of rewards. I personally like cash back. This way every time you use your credit card at least there is a small return.
  • My final tip, set your eyes on a prize. I don’t mean retirement, for most of us that is just too unreasonable to be motivating. Even though it would be nice to finish work at the age of 35 and live on a sail boat, its probably not likely. So think about something a bit more tangible. This could be a house, a vacation, an engagement ring (ahem, is my boyfriend reading this…JK, ok maybe I’m not actually joking…), whatever it is have a goal in mind and think about that every time your Sephora cart is starting to come close to that scary $500 mark. Before you hit “Confirm Order” visualize your goal. Think about how close you are to finally buying your first home then close down your computer and walk away. Let me tell you, it is a powerful feeling when you choose not to buy something and you end up avoiding the guilt of spending money.

Now I am no financial advisor, these are just a few things that work for me. And hey, if you can’t fight that shopping urge you need to check out my Negotiation video and learn a few tips on how to get yourself a higher salary.

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