On being smart about shopping...

Being Smart About Shopping on Natalie Catalina

You guys, I'm the worst at keeping up with personal life here. The truth is that not much has happened that's exciting enough to want to share with you all. While I was laying around in bed yesterday staring at my expenses and bank accounts, all I could think about is how I didn't need to spend that much money on that one thing that I probably won't care about come three months from now. Ya feel me? Then I thought..THIS IS REAL LIFE. Why am I not sharing it with you? Why not share the simple pleasures and pains of being a single 26 year old who really loves to shop and blogs about beautiful products on the reg, but who really needs to save. Grab a drink and relax, let me walk you through my real life process of shopping and saving. True story...I'm a blogger who shares nice things with you every week, but am about to tell you not to give into the pressures of social media and the perfect aesthetic, and think twice or even three times before buying the gorgeous moroccan rug I shared with you last week, or those really expensive beauty products with awesome packaging that girl showed you on snapchat. Before I start, let me first say that this is for you people on a budget, and who really can't afford to be buying things left and right! I fully support going all out if you're totally crushing it in the money department and can afford all the amazing, beautiful things. I'm still getting there. Le sigh.

One of the most beneficial things I do for myself - which I'm quite proud of - is that I purge my closet, room, etc. every month. Seems excessive, but I swear it makes all the difference. Clothing is the first to go. If I haven't worn something in a month (aside from formal/seasonal options), it goes in the giveaway pile. If I haven't worn it, I'm not going to (seasonal/formal options aside). Once the closet's complete, scan the room - gift away books you don't need or have already read, toss old beauty supplies, if you're a hoarder of knick knacks, make a giveaway pile for the ones that really don't fit your space, and always clean up everything that's been sitting under your bed. Feel refreshed? Breathe it in.

Now that that's over, you deserve to buy things you need and maybe even a few things you simply want. Lists are the absolutely best. I promise, there is nothing as satisfying then creating a list and then crossing things off. It's basically the number one rule for a life well organized. I make lists for everything. Groceries are an obvious option, but making wishlists for yourself will keep you on track with purchases you want to make, but don't really need. Also, make a list of things you DO need. Example - new work clothes, new boots to replace your old ones, underwear, a dress for that really specific occasion you need a new dress for. This list is now your bible, your rulebook, do not stray from the list!

I say "actually" because I attempt to budget on Mint.com, but since I'm able to adjust my budgets as I please, I'm left super undisciplined in following it. So yea, actually develop a budget that aligns and makes sense with your paycheck. Think about the amount of food you buy a month, think about commute expenses, think about rent and additional bills, what about toiletries, do you have a pet, think about social events and happy hours, or nights out, think about travel, medications, loans, gifts you need to buy, all those coffee drinks you'll inevitably splurge on...ok now what have you got left to use as spending money? That's about all the advice I have here. I'm pretty bad at this part.

When you do indulge in the joys of shopping, check for sales! It's the greatest thing you can do for yourself. Shops are constantly going on sale - especially during this time of year. If there isn't one currently happening, wait for the individual item to move to the sale section. I do this often, and by the time it is on sale, I've found that I already don't care to buy it anymore - funny how things work. Of course if you really really want something and it is on sale and you totally can't stop dreaming about it - add that sh*t to your shopping cart real quick and never look back. Also try shopping at outlets, vintage shops, Amazon, and Etsy for better prices.

This is what I struggle with the most. You think it'd be simple to convince yourself that you don't need something, but really there are so many things that we want, in reality, but deep in the pit of our soul, we'd probably die with out. You guys get it. I can't be the only one.

First of all, when it comes to Instagram and websites with influencers sharing beautiful things, ask yourself whether you really need something before buying it right away. Are you buying it for the right reasons? Or do you simply want to share it on a social media post? I promise you can create a beautiful feed without it!

If you're a blogger, don't get sucked into buying all the things you share. I've made that mistake several times and ended up not doing anything with those products or have them sitting inside a drawer or in a corner somewhere unnoticed. Not worth it, unless it's something you'll actually use and love forever - like a puppy. Also, at 26, I'm bound to continue moving and live an unsettled life for a while longer. It's not worth it to me to make home purchases when my aesthetic and needs will absolutely change in the next few years depending on my living space and situation. I've probably tossed up to ten lamps and many pillows in my adult life because I simply wanted to redecorate. So be smart about what you're buying for your home depending on your situation. The best advice I can offer is that if you really want something, think about whether you like it or love it, if you're not sure, save it and come back to it a few days later. If you totally cannot get it off your mind and still want it a week later, make your move.

Here's a really great depiction of my roadmap to making purchases. Because let's be honest, we all want (and deserve) things we don't need.

Roadmap to Smart Shopping on Natalie Catalina

Let me know your thoughts on this! Do you enjoy advice columns? Are you creepy like me and want to see inside the personal lives of bloggers? Should I snap more personal stuff and Q&As? Should I keep doing posts like this one? I want your feedback! It's so nice to share something different than my usual go-tos and hoping you agree. 

Comment below, I read each and every one! Let me know how you shop smart and share some tips!

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