How to Decide if You Really Need Something: A Checklist for Shopaholics


I’ve been known to spend an hour in a store going through racks, picking up pieces of clothing, and then leaving without making a single purchase. I’ve never regretted it. Sometimes walking out of a store with money in my pocket feels as good as leaving with a bag of goodies.

I love clothes and walking into an H&M, New Look or Ross Dress for Less legit makes me giddy with excitement. Rows upon rows of clothes and bargain after bargain. However, I’ve learnt to control myself because: 1. I prefer to spend my money on experiences rather than things and 2. #adulting.

There’s a process I go through in my head before I make the decision not to purchase. I’m sharing here so you know how to decide if you really need something.

Ask Yourself These Six Questions

Can You Afford It?

I’m still at that point in my life where I need to ask the price. When I see something I like, I quickly locate the price tag so I don’t get my hopes up. If I don’t like the price, I move on to the next thing that catches my eye. Be honest with yourself about if you can part with the amount even if it’s only $20. You may need that for a couple items from the supermarket.

Do You Really Need It?

So, you have the money and you can afford to part with it. Do you need the dress/shoes/earrings, though? Or are you just going to add then to an untouched stash at home? Perhaps you may be better off saving the cash or investing it elsewhere.

Here’s how to take advantage of sales while shopping smartly.

Did You Try It?

You have $50 and you really need a cute jumper. Cool. Make sure you try it on before you buy it. Purchasing clothing without trying it can be quite risky. If it doesn’t fit you, you’ll be left with a garment on your hands that you can’t use. Unless it’s something very basic, try it on and take some time to look at yourself in the mirror. Also, sometimes there are construction issues with garments that you don’t notice when they’re on the hanger.

Does It Flatter You?

Let me get real here. Just because it fits you doesn’t mean it flatters you. Make sure ANYTHING you buy highlights your assets and conceals any areas you want to downplay. Think about the colour, cut, fabric and how they’re working together to create the overall look. Yes, this is work but when you only buy pieces that flatter you, getting dressed quickly and looking your best is a lot easier.

Click here to for tips on how to get ready in hurry.

Do You Love It?

Sometimes you may answer ‘yes’ to all the previous questions and still not be sure about an item. If there’s just something about the piece that you don’t like, perhaps you should leave it in the store. Don’t mind what the sales assistant or your best friend says. You’re the one who has to wear it so if you don’t love it, tell them thank you and move on to the next thing.

Do You Have Accessories and Other Clothing to Wear with It?

There are lots of garments and shoes sitting in closets or boxes because their owners don’t have anything to wear with them. No matter how much you love an item, if you don’t have anything to wear with it and you can’t afford to buy anything, it doesn’t make sense. You’ll only be wasting your money. Trust me, you’ll find something else that matches your budget and integrates with your wardrobe.

The next time you find yourself in a store about to make a questionable purchase, ask yourself these questions. Chances are you will experience a lot less buyer’s remorse.

Let me know in the comments. How do you decide if you really need something?

Natasha Beckles

Natasha Beckles is a freelance copyeditor, writer and content creator. She has over a decade's experience in both traditional and online media. In addition to blogging about fashion and travel, she uses the written word to help brands and individuals tell their unique stories.

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3 Responses

  1. quiche says:

    personal ethos #firstitmustfit #thenitmustflatter

  2. Great checklist! I’m going to remember this one.

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