Shopping 101: Secrets and Tips You Need to Know

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Shopping for new items—whether it be clothes, food or something random—is generally fun. Being able to purchase something that caught your eye and take it home is euphoric. What’s not great? Finding out you bought an item that was overpriced. To think you could’ve eaten out at Chipotle or made Friday night plans, if only you had spent your money wisely. Well, good news—I’ve got some shopping tips for you. Read on and hold on to your paycheck.

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1. A lot of us shop at places like Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters because they sell cool clothes, beauty items and unusual items you don’t normally see in other stores. For example, Korean skincare, vinyl records and cassettes. But did you know that a lot of those items are overpriced? Turns out some products can be found on Amazon for a significantly lower price or higher quantity for the original price.

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2. When grocery shopping, do yourself a favor and check the quantity contained in a product and the cost of it. Compare product quantity to get the best deal. Sometimes, the items with less quantity cost more. Depending on how much time you have, don’t buy items that are pre-packaged like pre-made salad or zucchini noodles. Buying the ingredients and preparing it yourself saves money. Oh, and only buy food you absolutely know you’re going to eat. Over buying can lead to spoiled food and wasted cash.

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3. Is there an item you really want but it’s super expensive? Before you blow your entire paycheck buying that Gucci boot, take a picture of it, look at the details, buy items that look like it and DIY a replica of it. In case you haven’t been informed, broke and bougie is in. It’s alright to look nice wearing items that aren’t name brand or expensive. Now, if you don’t know how to DIY, I suggest looking up YouTubers like Amber Scholl or Buzzfeed Nifty. Either that, or buy a knock-off version; it’s 2018, no one’s going to judge you.

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4. Before you go shopping for clothes online, make sure to take measurements of your body first. Trying to buy clothes on multiple sites with different measurements is exhausting and frustrating. Thinking you’ve ordered the most stylish attire, just to be disappointed when it doesn’t fit, is a heartbreak just waiting to happen. Having the right measurements the first time saves you disappointment and the cost of shipping an item back.

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5. Last and most importantly, stop spending money on shit you don’t need! Bad investments are like one-night stands that refuse to leave your house. Can you get rid of the item? Sure. Can you rid yourself of the memory of thinking it was a good idea and blowing an obscene amount of cash on it? No, nope, never.

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Desharra Alexander-Self is a senior majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and minoring in Japanese. Some of the things she enjoys are Tumblr, Japanese/Korean media, video games, DIY beauty videos, free food and finding random things to be excited about (like sheep, mythology and Italian literature). You can follow her on social media under @Queen_Aelise.

Tags: budgeting, college budget, college shopping, Michigan State University, shopping, tips