Buying Products vs. Experiences

So the other day, my friend and I went out for the afternoon. I had a little bit of extra cash, so we went to lunch and to the mall. When we came home, I noticed something very different about our shopping styles – we had both spent about $100, and I had 4 shirts, 2 pairs of shoes, new makeup, a makeup bag, and leftovers from lunch, while my friend had 2 shirts and a new eyeshadow to show for her day out.

It got me thinking how easy it is to spend money and have nothing to show for it, and conversely, how important it is to make sure you’re buying physical things. While we both had a wonderful day out, when you’re trying to save money you must avoid buying experiences, and shop for actual things. While we both went out and got our nails done, I got a $10 paint and she bought a $35 french manicure – same experience, way different price tags. The same thing happened all throughout the day – I bought a new compact from Clinique (who has free gift days all the time) and got a makeup bag full of trial-sized mascaras, eyeshadows, and lip stains all for $25, while my friend stopped at a side vendor (you know, the ones who come running up to you launching their speech about the magical product) and got one glittery eyeshadow pad for the same price.  The number one thing to keep in mind when you’re out with people who like to throw around money is that you can always (and usually should) say NO. While I don’t recommend lecturing your friend in the middle of Macy’s on spending smart, by laughing off her suggestion of buying matching purses you can keep the mood light and your bank account full. Say no to any upgrades, up-selling, or upsizing that you are tempted with – small coffees and junior sized popcorns are just as satisfying at just a fraction of the price.

Some people think that there is no way to go out and have fun without blowing way too much money, and that they have to sacrifice a social life for savings. However, with coupons in hand and some strong self-control, you can easily turn a fun girls afternoon into a productive shopping day!

Photo Credit: iClipart


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  1. Thats so true! You really have to watch prices and you can still have a great day out without spending a fortune! 🙂

  2. I like that tip, ” You can always say NO”

  3. This post is so true!
    I went shopping with my cousin like 3 and a half years ago. My grandma always gives us birthday money and our birthdays are 3 days apart. So we went to the mall together. I was 6 months pregnant at the time. I really wanted to get some cute maternity shirts. None of the shirts I wanted fit. I found NOTHING in the mall that I liked. We were on our way out and stopped at Bath and Body Works. My cousin kept pressuring me over and over about spending my money on something. So I gave in and bought some shower gel and body spray. I spend $30!! I wanted to just say nevermind right there at the check out. But my cousin kept reassuring me that it was ok. I cried half the way home. I’m sure pregnancy hormones had something to do with it. But I just felt so horrible. I knew I could go buy pretty much the same thing at walmart for $8-10. Then I would have been able to get some other things along with it.
    Now I know just to say no or go with the cheaper option. So what if someone looks at you funny about your decision or says something you don’t like.

  4. I’ve been there and understand exactly how you felt! I don’t know why it’s so hard for us to say ‘no’ sometimes, but it often feels really good when we do 🙂

  5. I know exactly what you’re talking about with the side vendors. My mom and my ex were both suckered into buying a ton of stuff from them. While the nail stuff works great, I always told them no way at the price they were asking for. They still chased me around the mall whenever I went there. I started to pretend I was talking on the phone to get away from them!

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