Right now, the summer sale season is approaching all the clothing stores you can think of. Like a natural response, you open their websites, intending to only check for some tempting bargains, but end up buying a bulk of stuff all in one go. As much as you convince yourself you really need the items, they turn out to fall short of your expectations right after you put them on, or they no longer have value once you post the outfits on social media. The list goes on to justify this behavior of impulsive shopping, and so does your unused pile of clothes stuffed in the wardrobe.
However, the regrets for splashing out an absurdly large amount of money on clothes still haven’t been clear to you yet, as long as returning products is still an option. It makes sense though, since you can request a refund within 14 to 30 days if you are not entirely satisfied with your purchases. When finding out about this policy, I constantly bought clothes for the occasion only and didn’t bear in mind using them for a long-term period. It’s safe to say that as long as the tags are on, I can still return the clothes and get my money back. But the bitter thing is, in most of my shopping experiences, more than half of the time I lost my receipts, threw them out mistakenly, or exceeded the return period. The increasing frequency of this situation, unfortunately, meant a huge amount of money I could never get back and left me with a clothing haul I rarely wore.
Despite knowing very clearly those consequences of impulsive buying, I couldn’t help myself but recurring the same mistakes. I guess the refreshing feeling of experiencing the clothing stores in person, as well as the joy when trying out different pieces of clothing that go well with each other obscure all other rational reasonings I constantly remind myself of. Not to mention the within-walking distance of the clothing stores urges me to explore them for hours on end.
Only when I started having financial insecurity and the worry of paying rent occurred to me, did I realize how serious this problem was. The moral of the story is that when returning products is an option, you still seem to cling on to this excuse, thus going down the rabbit hole of overconsumption. When returning products is not an option, you start losing money on clothes you don’t necessarily need. However, either way, I have learned the hard way the importance of managing money wisely, especially when you are living on your own.
That being said, I’d like to share some money-saving tips that I find useful to apply. Firstly, it’s essential to set aside a fixed amount of money every month for your rent and your basic living expenses. This can include your meals, transportation fees, phone bills, and so on. Once you have those costs covered, it takes the financial pressure off significantly. The remaining amount of money can, therefore, be considered for other spontaneous/ unpredictable costs that depend differently on each month. Furthermore, if you love shopping like me, thrifting or buying secondhand clothes would be a more economical and sustainable way for your financial situation, your wardrobe, and the environment. Considering that thrifting offers uniqueness that mass-produced items of retail stores don’t often have, this can be a great opportunity for you to mark your own fashion statement. Moreover, something needs to be said that there are tons of clothes sitting in piles, being dumped and wasted every day. The more of those clothes that we can actually put to use rather than throwing them away into the landfill, the better it is for the environment.
Managing to spend money reasonably and wisely can be challenging at times, especially when you are living by yourself. The tips mentioned above are some of many money-saving ways and are only based on my personal experience, but hopefully, they can help you shop smarter and more consciously in the future.
Author: Quynh Trang Le
Editor: Phoebe Elliott
Visuals by: Lam Ngoc Do