1. What do you like? Be honest about this. Think about the trends, styles, colors you really like and, more importantly, the things you actually wear. That bright yellow, peplum top looks great in the store and on the hanger, or online, but if you never wear peplum and or the color yellow, then it's a colossal waste of your money. Consider the trends, but don't be swayed by them into buying something that is completely not you.
2. Consider the promos, deals and sales. Are there specials promotions or coupons right now, or any coming up? Boxing day, annual sales might be a great time to stock up on some great items at really great prices. Often online shops offer discount codes to first time buyers, or for end-of-season sales. Thank about that. The best time to buy something is off season or end of season. You could grab a fabulous coat for the following winter.
3. Just because it's on sale doesn't mean it's a good idea. Following right on the heels of the above advice, do consider that a sale does not make it a wise purchase. That bright yellow peplum top might be 50% off, but if you're never going to wear it that's still money sent down the drain. Don't get suckered in by, "75% off!" tag lines, but do consider if the item, or items, are something you are looking for. If it is, then great you just got it %75 off.
4. Pick your friends wisely. This is true for life as well as in shopping. Choose who comes shopping with you very carefully. That one friend may be fun to talk to and a great shoulder to lean on, but they might also have a tendency to encourage you to spend more than is within your means. This isn't a malicious thing, it's just different personalities have different approaches, and if your friend's shopping attitude does not go with your shopping goals, then opt for meeting up for coffee afterwards instead. Perhaps that practical, analytical friend is a better shopping buddy this time.
5. Use cash. It's all about credit and interac, but the true psychology is that we as humans have a much harder time parting with physical cash than abstract numbers. So whenever possible use cash. If shopping at a physical store, bring the cash you intend to spend and leave the cards at home. Not only does the harder task of relinquishing hard cash make you think twice about purchases, but you are guaranteed to not spend more since you won't have access to more than the cash in your wallet. For larger purchases, or online shops, take a post it and consider how many hours of work you would have to complete in order to pay off said item. This cost benefit analysis helps, as does cash, to solidify the choices we make.
With these simple tips at hand, hopefully the next time you shop it will be a delight. The best part is that you'll go home satisfied that you got some great things and stayed on budget.