It’s easy to get carried away with the deals and bargains that come along with quite possibly the biggest sale season of the year. That’s why Mindful shopping is key in November. Years ago, Black Friday wasn’t a thing in the U.K. But as US companies started to trade in the U.K., and of course the rise of internet shopping it soon became the norm here as it is in the States. From the first fights over TV’s in 2014, 8 years later that’s almost a distant memory as we get email after email ping into our inboxes and the hassle of shopping in real life gets put to one side in a lot of cases.

This year will undoubtedly be different though. With the unavoidable cost of living rising many can’t afford to be flippant with buying. It needs to be planned better so those emails may not be as tempting as before. That plus the increased focus on preloved taking a hold this year. (Undoubtedly following Ebay’s sponsorship with Love Island really kicking this off again, and the presence of Vinted growing in 2022 too.) Means we may see less uptake in such deals as people switch to more sustainable and/or affordable options.

All that said though, people can still be reluctant to give preloved to outside their immediate family and close friends, so this is still in the works of being changed. Plus, bargain November could be the perfect time for those on a budget to pick up those Christmas presents for less. Or get more for your money, both in giving and receiving!

So what is Mindful Shopping?

Here’s where Mindful Shopping comes into play. I’m classing it as this as it’s all about taking time to review what you need, what you can afford to pay and really planning ahead of making any impulse purchases. Being a massive impulse buyer, this goes against the grain for me. But I’ve started to learn and take stock so thought I’d share what I’ve learnt. The first set of tips will all be about how to plan, budget and get the best deals. The second set will be about how to avoid the sales if that’s what you need to get by this season.

She’s Making a List

This has to be the first step to stop being swept away with the deals and bargains. List making is something I’m a big fan of anyways. So I don’t need telling twice on this step! Be it a list of things you want to buy for yourself in the sales, or your gift list for others, get it all written down with budgets set aside for each thing. Sometimes it can help to be specific so you can search deals down on something you’ve wanted for some time, or being more generic can sometimes help you find a better deal. An example from today to help bring this to life. I want a Charlotte tilbury eyeshadow palette. The 4 pan is the one I want but I get a mail for a BOGOF on the 16 pan making each unit much cheaper than a 4 pan. If I was being specific I could have missed the deal and missed out on trading up into something that met my wants.
The real test after this is to not stray from the list! When buying for others that’s usually easier as they’ve given ideas and suggestions for what they want, but for yourself? Well, if you spot a jumper you like and there’s not that on the list the temptation to buy it is very real! To help with this you could create a great budget to allow you to have some freedom. Or, if you have people asking you want you want for Christmas and don’t mind the lack of surprises just send the link to them 😂

Sign Up, Sign Up

You’ve made your list, so now it’s time to sign up for those newsletters. Example of the Charlotte Tilbury palette above, it’s exclusive to email subscribers. If you went on site to search now you wouldn’t find it (luckily I’ve linked it for you!) By signing up to the retailers that you want to buy from you’ll get the deals first and hopefully get them before they sell out.

It’s not just about the email sign ups though. Many retailers have loyalty schemes so make sure you’re signing up to them to take full advantage. Many also have refer a friend schemes which give you bonuses if you join. All my referrals can be found here. My current favourite is Cult Beauty where if you sign up here you’ll get £5 off a £25 spend. (And I get £5 back too!) They also have a loyalty scheme so you’ll start earning points from that first purchase. Plus once you’re signed up you can refer friends if your own and earn credit too.

Shop Around

Just because you got an email with a discount on something you want, doesn’t mean it will be the cheapest. Although we discounted selling platforms as places to find gifts, eBay and vinted (and others!) can often have brand new items for sale. My tips for making sure something isn’t fake is to check the seller and their other items. Plus any feedback. Don’t buy anything pricey from Vinted unless they have reviews for selling and always film yourself opening packages. I’ve got a whole other post on safe shopping to come though so won’t go into detail on here!

Coupon Wars

God I LOVED this programme a few years back! But I digress! And really I mean voucher codes not physical coupons! As I discovered at the weekend, some places have stackable vouchers and whilst it doesn’t get you a pack of kitchen roll that pays you a dollar to buy it 😂 it can get even better discounts! The place I was shopping was Abercrombie where they had a spend £75+ get 25% off and then an influencer friend had a code for 20% off on top. It also worked on sale so I got a £92 dress for £23! I list all my longer standing discount codes that I find here .

It’s also worth shopping around for coupons. I’ve had a 25% off code for my fave footwear brand Hotter sent to me, but, when I go on VoucherCodes they have a 30% off one. Again, make sure you’re signing up to at least one reputable voucher site- I use Vouchercodes pretty much 80% of the time, and Vouchercloud the other 20%. Both have gift voucher deals running in some brands too. For example I am getting a £30 gift voucher back for spending £180 at Dunelm with vouchercloud. (I got a £179 stair runner and a Christmas dec to make it past the threshold.) Vouchercodes also have a code guarantee whereby if a code doesn’t work and you’ve met all the t&c’s and you still buy something you can email them with proof (within 24hours) and if upheld you can choose to get a gift or a £20 gift voucher for selected retailers!

Cashback Sites

Finally, signing up to sites like TopCashback or Quidco can also help save up money. I use Topcashback, and if you sign up using my refer a friend code, when you’ve earned £10 cash back, you’ll get an extra £10. (I’ll get an extra £10 too!). It’s a great way of earning some money, and on big purchases it can earn quite a bit!

So go further and save! and stay tuned if you want my tips for mindful shopping, and avoiding the sales and temptation completely

Lucy sat on a hotel bed with shopping bags around her

Avoiding the Sales Completely

This is all about reversing the tips I’ve already given for mindful shopping kind of! My first tip is to avoid temptation. Mute words on twitter, unfollow retailers accounts on Instagram, and unsubscribe to retailer emails. That will stop the noise of all the sales coming your way plus stop any temptation.

I once read that someone stopped getting into their bargain mentality by putting what they would have spent into savings. So if a shirt was £35 and it was £20 in the sale, they’d put £15 into savings. If they weren’t willing to do that or willing the pay the full price, then they didn’t buy it. I think of this quite often, and whilst I don’t put any money away, I do query would I have bought it at full price, was it really a saving? this stops the impulsive side of me just seeing a bargain and buying it i find!

Finally, stay close to your banking and your current situation. don’t bury your head in the sand and know where you are at! Avoidance was the easiest way to cope with debt when I went through it some time back, and it didn’t help one jot! So be clear on where you are at.

I hope my little guide on mindful shopping helps. I appreciate some of this can be quite basic, but I’m always shocked to find people that don’t know some of this. So hopefully I’ve helped someone with this post!

Lucy stood in a green maxi dress holding some shopping bags