How to Make the Most of Your Outfits’ Shopping Trips?

Whenever I head to the malls, I look at my overflowing wardrobe to remind myself, though usually fruitlessly, that I must exercise restraint. I do the same, when I browse my favorite websites online. The online stores offer irresistible deals, so this personal resolve weakens there considerably. And, when it’s about sales and discounts – whether online or in the real shops – even the constant reminders fail to work.

I am sure that’s the case with most people, these days. After all, who would say no to the wonders of a nice shopping trip! However, what is important is that this ‘happy’ and ‘adrenaline-pumped, relaxed, de-stressed’ feeling remains (and escalates), even after credit/ debit card swipes.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case – always. Once the colorful stuffed bags are in hands, the ‘happy’ feeling fades, getting replaced by guilt or remorse – for many. There have been instances, when I have instantly regretted a purchase. I have seen women cursing themselves for buying something ‘useless’, as they were influenced by a fellow shopper or coaxed by a pushy shop assistant.

Some just cannot say no! Others decide to cancel, or worse, refuse Cash On Delivery orders. Cancellations and refund requests are a routine affair in the online shopping domain, and most ecommerce portals reel under the pressure created by incessant ‘returns’. Many of us just cannot seem to get the most out of our shopping escapades. And, a wrong shopping decision is not just about wasting the money – it’s also a great burden on our time strapped lives.

Well, here we bring you some tips that will help you make the most out of the time, effort and money spent on every shopping trip you take – in the real or the virtual world.

1. Think of Your Vital Expenses – for the month

This is one thing that I have always seen working for my husband, who always mentally cruises through the current expenses list, before he clicks on the ‘Buy’ button. Start with the expenditures that are waiting payment or processing.

Okay, it may sound like a depressing thing to do at the beginning of a, probably, uplifting shopping cruise, but it does make a lot of sense. You will be reminded of the priorities, so you will end up shopping only for the priority stuff.

2. Don’t Go Shopping (even online) – when in a hurry (or just before a meeting)

The feeling of ‘running around’ makes us stressed and anxious. We may not realize, but any frenetic, frenzied run-through is bound to leave you on your nerves.

Purchases made in such a frame of mind are quite unlikely to fit in the ‘great’ category. Also, we tend not to be our resourceful best, in such a state of mind. Plus, hurrying doesn’t let us look for options. Buying whatever we encounter first, irrespective of quality – especially when it’s something essential (at the moment) – is quite likely in a maniac rush.

That is precisely why planning ahead works well. If you have to make some purchases for some event, occasion, wedding or anything – even a gift – do so in advance, as you are unlikely to get something you ‘really admire’ in a hurried shopping trip. For the same reason, I now even avoid buying groceries and veggies in my lunch hour ‘free-time’. Doesn’t really work well, I realized!

3. Don’t Go Shopping – when angry or hungry (or thirsty)!

Cranky is bad, when shopping. If you are hungry, again you will be in a hurry to wind up the shopping, so you can eat (and drink). So, all we talked about in point 2 – applies here too.

Most women decide to go shopping to beat stress or a bad mood, alright. But, ask these ladies, if they love their purchases made on those ‘seriously-need-a-mood-lift’ trips. The majority of answers will put you off doing this in future. Instead, go for a run, or to a park to play with kids, or simply take a stroll with your favorite music in your ears – to uplift sodden spirits. Shopping is best done, when you are in a balanced state of mind!

4. Make a List

As old-fashioned and clich├ęd as it sounds, preparing lists really helps in prioritizing and cutting out unnecessary buys.

Contrary to the popular belief, making lists ahead of a shopping trip is not restrictive. Instead, it leans a direction and flow to your trip down the mall or street. And, at the end of it all, who is asking you to ‘not’ buy anything apart from what the list lists. Just start with the most important stuff, or something that you actually need, and then go to the peripheries and extras.

It will also reduce your effort too. I recently needed a new Anarkali, which I forgot, as I entered the mall. I shopped for 2 pairs of shoes, which I don’t regret at all. But, on my way back, I realized I ‘really’ needed the dress for my dance class. Since I was already out, I did not go back to level 4 in the mall – to my favorite store. I bought one from a shop near my home, and I rarely wear that suit now. Get the point?

5. Keep a Time-Limit

Okay, I know it sounds quite contra-indicative to points 2 and 3, but ironically it still makes sense. So, you shouldn’t be hurrying while shopping, but you must also know that you don’t have all the time in the world. Your trip or virtual crawling need not be bound by strict time deadlines, making it impossible for you to ‘breathe’. But, you still must set a stipulated time, when you would need to finish you stroll through the mall.

This will help you prioritize and avoid endless comparisons. It will also save time and efforts, as you will not dilly dally! Still not convinced? Try first and tell us later!

6. Visit your Favorite Stores First

Again it’s about prioritizing. When you start your shopping stroll, you are freshest, perkiest and most sorted. Most of us know, what we want and what we need. So, things are clearer. And thus, it makes sense to head to stores that are your favorites, or where you know the fitting, quality, prices etc. are most suitable for you.

So, instead of mindlessly drifting to the spots nearest to parking area or entrance (like my husband does), or getting enamored by biggest discounts and most vibrant hoardings – first head to your trusted labels. Devote the best part of your shopping trip to the places that are sure to fit your personal bill! Everything can come later.

7. Pay by Cash – whenever, wherever you can…

You know how it works. When we count notes to make payments, we better register – how much we have paid. Plastic money doesn’t let it seep in our mind – unless we see those humongous bills.

8. Don’t Go with a ‘Friend’ – who is too haute, too self-immersed, too cranky, too critical, too rich, too careless – basically ‘too’ anything.

We don’t need such influences, when we are trying to make the most of a coveted shopping trip. That’s the reason, shopping online, when at work, surrounded by colleagues with hundreds of divergent opinions doesn’t work well.

Ask for opinions, suggestions, feedback – but not from someone, you know, would always disagree, or has extremely different likes that your own preferences.

9. Dress up well, wear well-fitting lingerie and good shoes

You will, invariably, end up trying your clothes, so you must know how they will actually look on you, when you are ready to ‘go out’. So, don’t make the mistake of going shopping in flip-flops and shabby undergarments, especially with a shopping agenda to buy something special.

Dressing up well also invites good attention from shop assistants, besides giving you confidence to say ‘NO’ when you want to. Look great, feel sprightly and shop right!

Managing Time Involves Clarity About Your Priorities

Technology has transformed our perception of things. All sorts of information are readily available at the push of a button. You want to know how to cook just Google the name of the recipe. You want to learn how to repair your water tap go on YouTube. Our minds are constantly assailed by information every minute. Our privacy is constantly under pressure with the use of Smartphones: emails, What’s App?, BBM, etc. Has there been a day when you feel that you can totally ignore your Smartphone, Ipad, laptop?

You wish that it would be as simple as turning them off and not even feel guilty about it. Well, some of you have been courageous to take that first step and feel totally liberated or completely stressed out… Remember the time when there was no internet. Some of you can’t even picture it as you were too young. They were the times when a friend meant somebody whom you have actually met, talked to and shared many things together. When you wanted to know what was happening overseas, you had to buy the newspaper or waited for the TV or Radio news broadcast. Those were the days!!! You must be thinking where is she going with all this? Is she becoming nostalgic all of a sudden?

Our time management skills are constantly being challenged. There is a constant need to review your list of “To Do things” every day or sometimes every hour. At work, you are sometimes unable to complete what you have started due to more pressing matters. Being the perfectionist, this unfinished task is nagging you at the back of your mind. At home, there is always a list of things in progress – the laundry, the gardening, the food shopping list, the children’s homework. The list is endless. In the midst of all this, finding some “me time” makes you feel guilty or become a real luxury treat!

Effective time management is about setting your priorities in the right order. Right order does not mean those with the highest amount of pressure. Pressure is something that is perceived and constructed in your own mind. Your top priorities are those that are congruent with your values, norms and beliefs. There is a simple exercise that you can do on your own.

1. Your priorities list
List all the things that you would like to be able to do in the different areas of your life. For each one of them, what is the motivation or reason for you to include it in your list?

2. Arrange them in order of importance.
What impact would it make to your life if you achieve each one of them? What are the payoffs for you to put time and effort into realising them?

3. Testing your determination.
Now, you are going on a trip in a hot air balloon. Each one of your priorities is going to be stored in a box. Each box is of equal weight and size. As the hot air balloon rises, you can see, what it would be like if you were able to achieve your priorities. What images, feelings come to your mind? What would it sound like if you were going to sing about it?

You are now as high as the clouds and suddenly the winds become stronger. The burner flame weakens and the hot air balloon starts to descend dangerously. For you to survive, you would need to decrease the weight of the wicker basket. This is a life and death situation. It is either you or the boxes.

What would you take out first? Remember each priority box is of the same weight. You are told that you are able to keep only one, maybe two. As you let go of each box, what happens? What makes it difficult or easy to let go?

4. Reassess your priorities list
Are they still the same? If yes, then your perspective of life is congruent with your lifestyle. If not, there is always time to re arrange your priorities and to make the desired changes. What have stopped you from doing them? What steps can you take right now to start the changes?

5. Review your lifestyle according to your final list of priorities.
If you have chosen “being healthy” as your no 1 priority, do you spend time looking after yourself? What would it mean to be healthy? Are you actually doing them?

The hot air balloon exercise can be used to test how strong your values are, what are the main priorities in your job search or career choice. The outcome of the exercise changes over time and it is recommended to do this exercise occasionally.

My Husband Won’t Make Me a Priority! How to Shift His Attitude

Your husband has a very full life. Most men do. He likely juggles a full-time career, his responsibilities as a father and his commitment to you. You do the same in your life but you feel that you’ve always made your husband a priority, even though he hasn’t done the same for you. You’re frustrated, disappointed and perhaps even a bit confused. You never imagined your life would end up in this place, did you? You feel unappreciated, taken for granted and unloved. Obviously, this situation has to change. You’re not going to accomplish that by making subtle comments about how your best friend’s husband loves and adores her. It’s also not going to make any difference if you nag your husband in an effort to get him to move you to the top of his priority list. You have to address this issue in a way that makes your husband come to his own realization that you’re the most important person in his life. Understanding the direction you need to take to accomplish that begins with gaining more insight into why he’s acting the way he is.

On the day you and your husband married you promised many things to one another both verbally and silently. To most women one of the major, silent vows is to always put one another at the top of life’s priority list. We, as women, almost always do that with our spouses. We may falter a bit when we become mothers primarily because our parental nature kicks in and we focus all of our attention on our little ones. However, with men it tends to be a bit different story. Men sometimes allow their work or their friends to take top billing. If you’re a wife who is beginning to notice that shift in her husband’s life, it’s ultimately going to hurt.

Shifting your husband’s attitude so that you become the focal point of his life isn’t nearly as hard as you may believe that it is. You’ve likely already tried speaking to him about the problem. In most cases when a husband is confronted with a wife who says that she feels neglected, he’ll take a defensive stance and go on the attack. He may say things about how he works so hard for her or how he can’t ever do anything that makes her happy. This is to be expected and any woman who has had this conversation with her husband more than once, knows that it’s a normal reaction so she doesn’t take it personally.

You absolutely must take a more subtle approach. Your husband reacts better to action than words. Most men do. They will make a change in themselves if they feel something internally as opposed to being told something. That’s why it can be incredibly helpful if you temporarily stop paying your husband as much attention as you have been. You shouldn’t take the stance of pushing him to the back of your priority list, but instead view it as moving other things ahead of him for a time and for a very defined purpose.

The simpler and less meaningful things are the best. That’s to say that if your husband is expecting you to have dinner cooked when he comes home from the office, he should be greeted with a frozen dinner and a note saying you had a yearning to go see a movie with a girlfriend. Another great way to get your point across is to stop doing as much around the house. If you neglect your husband’s laundry because you’re so busy shopping online for a new handbag, he’s going to feel the pinch of your neglect.

This may be viewed by many women as game playing with their spouse but sometimes the way to a man’s heart is through sports. It’s doubtful that your husband has made a conscious effort to push you off his priority list. It’s more likely that he’s mindlessly allowed other things to take precedence. By showing him how that feels, you’ll be pushing him into seeing that there’s a better and more respectful way to be a loving and attentive partner.