Black Friday shopping is Spring Break for your wallet. Overflowing like bubbles on a glass of beer, discounts are cherry on top. Sweet, yet tempting, a sale is the apple of the Original Sin, leaving you hungry for more. Although it’s great to treat yourself, I hate to admit that I’ve made a lot of mistakes with caving into my temptations.
Although I am no Econ major, it doesn’t need to require a degree to figure out where you and I are spending our money. As much as we want to have picture perfect Insta lives with equally photogenic clothes that we wear once every OOTD, greed makes us feel guilty and cynical for not feeling like we have enough. I already have enough, but I am ashamed to admit that I have days when I don’t feel like I have “enough” just because I want to score more likes on my feed, which is the most selfish desire that I need to let go. However, I love to go on sales because I use Black Friday as an excuse to pig out.
Even though capitalism is the flesh and blood of the majority of the world’s economy, we, too, also sustain on it for our incomes and thrive on it to support the economy. Now that most of us can’t travel thanks to Miss Rona, it’s inevitable that we have to spend our hard earned cash on things. While it’s so easy to treat this as an all or nothing issue, let’s redirect our energy on building a healthier relationship with your bank account by trying these post-Black Friday tips!
- Buy skincare in bulk
All of you know that I *love* my skincare! Anytime there’s a sale, I buy certain products in bulk to stock up for the next year/the months ahead. Since it’s something that you use everyday, it’s better to save more money and apply the coupon when you buy a product you love in twos or threes. This system has worked for me as it’s pushed me to spend less. On top of discounted prices, who doesn’t love to treat thyself to a Dr. Barbara Sturm product? That’s why I LOVE Cult Beauty since their Black Friday deals and post-Black Friday coupons are great deals as I don’t like to pay full price on skincare every month. Ditto with Sephora as I like to milk up that 10% discount.
2. Use store credit
I’ve made mistakes with purchases just like you and have had my fair share of returning things just because something didn’t work out. But rather than having a full refund, I redirect it to store credit because I learned that with some companies, they don’t refund you for the return shipment. For me, my experience with store credit is that it works best on items that you’ll never return. If you buy an item with store credit and it doesn’t fit you, you’re better off using PayPal as you can at least be refunded. What’s great about it is that it doesn’t expire: it’s always waiting for you to use it up.
3. Support small businesses
I love shopping small and whenever I splurge, it’s 1000% guilt-free. I know where my money goes and with supporting small, it gives the designers more hope to keep on continuing their dreams. As someone who’s grown up with mom and pop stores as well as running my own Soeng Signature business, it feels like Christmas anytime I get money. I also believe that with supporting small, you are helping the people who need the money. If you’re the kind that consumes fast fashion or shops at chain stores, this post isn’t to guilt trip you as shopping small is also as equally accessible and affordable, too.
While this year has been calling us to support companies owned by POC folks, I believe that we shouldn’t be treating it as a trend as it’s something to do any day within the 365 days we have in a year. Not to forget, Megan Thee Stallion also said “support Black business“, which is the most easily accessible way to support and be an ally. If you don’t know where to start, I love Glazed NYC for cute reworked vintage and hats, d.bleu.dazzled for blinged out apparel, Beautifully Bamboo for tea and The IN Mag for original fashion/music content. KNC Beauty for nice lip balms and Briogeo for great hair days. Ditto with giving support to other non-black minority owned and LGBT owned businesses*, too.
Though most of my favorite small businesses are located in the States or England, I like that there’s a handful around me! If you are looking for goodies from Southeast Asia, I swear by Rooki Beauty for affordable day/night serums, Rosé All Day for their cream blushes and LT Pro, whose Aqualine Lip Cream liquid lipsticks are mask-proof. Most importantly, these two brands are certified halal, which means that it’s free of alcohol and animal-derived ingredients! (Perfect for vegans, too!!) Seriously, nothing feels as great as shopping local.
Also, shopping small should extend to your everyday essentials, too. The quality control you get with smaller businesses is better because you are getting what you pay for.
*see the list at the bottom of the post
4. Buy what you’ll never get bored of
I love fashion, being trendy and playing dress up. Unfortunately, my worst trait is treating what I love as a toy that I can sell on a resale app or a consignment store because I get bored. Whenever I surf on a resale app, I see a ton of lightly used clothes as I can tell that like me, a person simply got bored after wearing it once for Insta. Or, it can be the case of a brand new item that someone didn’t know how to style it after purchasing it on impulse. That gives me the perfect opportunity to sweep in and buy it as I don’t like to see cute things decay at a landfill.
As much as I love getting photos of my OOTD, I feel like a pig for only using a cute dress for the ‘gram just to let it go because I ran out of styling ideas. Unfortunately, that’s the reality of Instagram: you only buy what you like in there just to take photos without caring about the quality. Rather than buying for one OOTD, go for a classic that you can rewear on repeat like this Maje floral dress as seen on Emily In Paris that I proudly own.
Another thing I learned is that “classic” items aren’t always corporate or neutral. A classic I’ve happily sworn by in my closet is a pair of Miaou plaid red pants that I scored at a Shopbop sale last year. I’ve never regretted getting my hands on the last pair in my size! You can see that I’ve worn it handful of times and I’ll keep on wearing it until it turns into rags.
If you think that it’s difficult to style things, awaken that spark in you. Only you know how to style yourself. 😉
5. Calculate the discount (just pick what’s the bigger deal!)
Bargains look like great deals. Low prices look like the ultimate steal. Since I am not the most mathematically inclined person (*cough* *failed in geometry* *cough*), I feel embarrassed that I suck at calculating discounts. My sister told me that if I needed to find the best deal, I need to figure out what’s the percentage of the discount. That made me realize how much I could save vs. how much I could spend. Even when that 20% off coupon looked so good for one item, sadly, you may not save much on unless you spend more unnecessarily, which is denting a bigger hole in your bank account. If you feel too lazy to calculate, just wait for a deeper discount.
6. Don’t buy something on sale for the sake of it being on sale
Ugh, we’ve all been there. I, too, have had my fair share of buying something on sale just because it was on sale. Sale FOMO is real, but you honestly shouldn’t let that get in the way of guilt-tripping you just because you feel like you can save extra pennies. The irony is that sometimes, what you bought for full price ended up being frequently used than what you bought with a discount. Sales are tempting, but don’t cave in to every single one!
7. Don’t buy something for that one occasion, then never use it again
Special occasions are great, but I hate the lingering thought of “When am I ever going to wear this dress again?” pop up in my head for infinity and beyond. I’ve had my fair share of buying cute dresses for my own birthday/work event, asking my grandma make a custom made gowns for my cousin’s weddings and shoes for a wedding. More than 75% of what I bought for that one occasion barely gets used again until a few years later. Looking back, it’s a shameful habit that I need to change. Now that there’s virtual birthdays done over Zoom, now’s the perfect occasion to break out that cute party dress to wear at home. Ditto with virtual Hinge dates, where you can pull out your barely worn red lipstick and sizzling hot LBD that you wore at your friend’s birthday. No special occasion dress is ever too “special” to be worn out again as there’s a lotta room for you to wear it many other occasions.
8. Don’t cave into the pressure of buying something when it isn’t really your vibe
Been here done that. But, you can redirect that into buying a cute gift for someone else! 😉
9. Buy something that can work with the rest of your wardrobe
I find that your 20s are the time when you are constantly discovering yourself. I’ve certainly gone through more phases than Madonna when it comes to my style. With every aesthetic that I’ve experimented, the one thing that got me solid was anything black. You name it: dresses, sunglasses, necklaces, bracelets, leather jackets, leather pants, leggings, bodysuits, tees and bags. Ditto with beige/nude and animal print. Although I’ve outgrown certain phases, I’m glad that most of them blend well together save for a few that I had to resell because it didn’t vibe with the rest of my wardrobe. As a former short term thinker, you can certainly change your way of thinking and it’s never too late to think about what you can invest with in the long run!
10. BE charitable!
If you can’t think of giving anything for yourself or a loved one, spending a part of your salary on charity is the most uplifting thing you can do. While we mainly spend more on ourselves than on other people, giving part of your money and heart to a cause that you relate to is a blessing. While there are a ton of charities to choose from, it’s best to donate to organizations that are transparent about their funds. For me, one of the charities that I’ve recently donated to is Autism Association Singapore, which helps fellow autistics get access to meals, enrichment lessons and training. Though most of us lead busy lives, saying that you have no time for other things isn’t a good excuse to skip charity. After all, you have the power to make a difference with your small, but powerful contribution.