How To Quench Your Shopping ‘Thirst’ When You’re Not Feeling Flush

Shop Save Money | How To Cut Back Your Spending But Still Enjoy Shopping | The Elgin Avenue Blog

Two things many of us love to do: shop and save money. Did you know that shopping, and spending generally can create a happy hormone release? It turns out that when you lay out cash for a new dress, a coffee or whatever you want to splurge on, your body releases a burst of dopamine. Giving you that shopping ‘high’.

As Melissa Dahl shares in her article for Elle, What Shopping Does to Your Brain:

By now the notion of “retail therapy” has become a modern cliché. And yet it’s the rare popular idea that is actually backed by scientific evidence.

As usual, the brain chemical to credit or blame for our pleasure—in this case, the pleasure of shopping—is dopamine. The neurotransmitter surges when you’re considering buying something new—anticipating a reward, in other words.

So, what to do when you’re not feeling flush? You’re cutting back on spending? Or, like now, plenty of your go-to shops and eateries are closed?

Here’s how you can quench your shopping ‘thirst’, when you’re not feeling flush, or you simply can’t spend.

5 Ways To Get Your Shopping ‘Hit’ & Save Money

Ideas For Spending Less Money But Still Shopping Well | The Elgin Avenue Blog

1 – Create A Wish List

True story – I have a ‘wish list’ document on my desktop 365 days a year.

For me, the very act of online shopping is FUN! And often my mood is perked up just by looking at things I love and creating a virtual ‘wish list’.

My wish list is edited (I’m not just adding lots of random things to it), so much so that if I’m feeling financially flush, or I want a shopping pick-me-up, I can easily refer to my wish list and hit ‘purchase’.

Most of the time though, just having that list makes me happy. It’s all the things I would buy if money were no object.

A bonus – if it’s your birthday coming up, or there’s a big celebration on the cards, and people ask you what you’d like – you can easily refer to your wish list. That’s how I ended up with some of my favourite Christmas gifts last year.

2 – Make The Most Of Sales

Shop & Save Money

Ideas For Spending Less Money But Still Shopping Well | The Elgin Avenue Blog

I feel like shoppers tend to sit in two camps: sale-lovers, and sale-haters.

I’ve  always been a sale-lover since my Mum instilled the ‘shop smart’ motto in me since I was tiny. See also: charity shop browsing and second-hand stores. Also Mama-driven.

Given the current COVID-19 situation, many businesses have gone into sale early. If your favourite brands arn’t discounting yet, sign up to their newsletters/follow on their social channels, to be the first to know when they do.

If you’re looking to fill your isolation time with some online shopping, you (and your bank balance) are in luck.

Here are some of the brands I love, which are currently having great sales:

Lily & Lionel, up to 30% off

Sass & Edge (use the code STAYSAFE20 for 20% off)

Anthropologie, plenty in the sale

Cloud Nine Hair, £30 off all hair styling tools

Rock N Rose jewellery and hair accessories, (use the code THANKYOU for 20% off)

3 – Plan Your ‘Perfect Day Out’

(For When You’re Allowed Out)

Shop Save Money | How To Cut Back Your Spending But Still Enjoy Shopping | The Elgin Avenue BlogBicester Village Restaurants | The Elgin Avenue Blog Review Shop Save Money | How To Cut Back Your Spending But Still Enjoy Shopping | The Elgin Avenue Blog

Right now, it’s not possible to go out like we’d like to. Here in the UK we’re currently in lockdown to try and prevent, and slow down, the spread of COVID-19.

Whilst I wholeheartedly back this decision, and support the #StayHome movement, I still miss many of the things we were able to do prior to social distancing.

On days when I’m particularly sad about missing out on coffee runs, buying birthday gifts (in store), and getting together with friends, I like to plan my ‘perfect day out’. That is to say, to dream up what I would LOVE to do. And what I plan on doing as soon as we can!

My perfect day out?

Brunch, manicure, browse the shops, buy flowers, afternoon wine time at the pub, home to cook a big dinner for friends. Host big dinner.

Having it allll planned out means that by the time ‘the day’ comes, I’ll (hopefully!) be able to press ‘go’ and instigate my perfect day. Perhaps a few times over! The same goes for travel plans, and anything you want to visualise enjoying in the future.

4 – Make Small Purchases

Ideas For Spending Less Money But Still Shopping Well | The Elgin Avenue Blog

Spending a little money can be a big boost! If you’re itching for a treat, think about the little things that can bring a lot of happiness.

Perhaps it’s a magazine, a new nail polish colour, or baking supplies.

If you’re strapped for cash, or you’re trying to cut back, any purchase is going to feel like a luxury. My advice is to choose something you really really want, and to enjoy it wholeheartedly.

Read that magazine cover to cover. Make painting your nails into a whole at-home mani situation, and bake something delicious you can enjoy over a few days.

5 – Buy A Giftcard To Spend In the Future

Shop Save Money | How To Cut Back Your Spending But Still Enjoy Shopping | The Elgin Avenue Blog

“When this is over I’m going to . . . ”

– get my haircut

– have a date night

– drink alllll the wine

– get my nails done

– *you fill in the blank*!

One way you can support businesses which are not currently open is to buy a gift card, or ‘pay on account’ for a future purchase.

Everything from hairdressers, to restaurants, cafes, small shops and more, have had to temporarily close their doors in light of COVID-19. And that gift card or payment on account can really make a difference.

By the time you come round to actually making the ‘purchase’ it will feel ‘free’! Win/win!

How Are You ‘Shopping’ Right Now?

The current state of the world has changed many people’s financial situation, and I’m sure that most of us are trying to cut back our spending in some way.

If you want to shop and save money (or spend no money at all!), will you be giving the above a go?

If so, which version of ‘shopping’ is speaking to you?

Love, Monica x

Photography by Charlotte Bryer-Ash from our trip to Bicester Village, 2018

Ideas For Spending Less Money But Still Shopping Well | The Elgin Avenue Blog

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