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If You Don't Practice These Shopping Tips, You'll Go Broke Earlier Than Expected This 2015

There's the stuff you need, and then there's the stuff you really, really want but can't quite afford to have. Don't worry, here's how you can still have nice things in life without blowing your budget.

Cover image via Universal Pictures

1. Make a shopping list and stick to it

Oftentimes, people tend to overspend or buy things they don't need, don't want, and end up never using because they have not prepared properly prior to a shopping trip. List down the things you plan on buying before you run your errands and make sure you only buy the things that are on that list! It does not only keep you from overspending, it will help keep impulse shopping to a minimum.

2. Set a budget and bring only the cash you need to spend

Setting a realistic budget keeps you from spending your hard earned money on things you can't afford and most importantly, stuff you don't actually want. Establish a ballpark figure you need to spend for the day and stop shopping once you hit your budget's limit.

Also, leave the credit cards at home. Research shows that we spend 20% to 50% more when we shop with "magic plastic". Paying with cash feels more "real" and makes it easier for you to keep track of how much you are spending compared to card purchases.

3. Allocate a specific timeframe for you to complete your shopping in

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Whiling away an afternoon in your favourite mall may seem like a good idea, but that only encourages you to make purchases on a whim! Set a timer on your phone before you begin shopping and head home when the timer runs out. Once you have bought everything you need (and hopefully, nothing you do not need), stop shopping and turn your attention to something else for the day.

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4. Guard yourself against the tricks retail stores employ to "seduce" you

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Unbeknownst to many of us, retailers use a variety of ways to "trick" us into staying longer in their facilities to maximise our spending capabilities and heighten impulse buys. In-store product placements and atmospherics (e.g. music, lighting etc.) are actually meant to entice customers into lingering longer and spending more.

5. Shop alone. Yes, you read that right.

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Sure, it's a lot more fun when you shop with friends, but shopping partners may actually be guilty of egging you on to make purchases you don't want or need. This phenomenon, often referred to as "group-level consideration", gives power to your group of friends to define what is acceptable and hence, influence your purchasing decisions against your better judgement. Chances are, you'll find yourself regretting the purchase sooner or later.

6. Don't buy something just because it's on sale

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The four-letter word is most responsible for impulse shopping than any other word in shopping vocabulary! Keep in mind that a bargain is NOT a bargain if it don't really love it, it doesn't fit correctly, or you're probably gonna use it once in your life. Justifying a sale purchase by saying "oh, it's on sale, it's only RM20" is not unlike throwing your hard-earned cash out of the window.

7. When in doubt, leave the store

On the fence about whether or not to buy something? Put it down and leave the store. If you decide later that you really, really want it, then you can go back and buy it tomorrow. But chances are, you'll be happy you saved your money.

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8. Take advantage of trade-in programmes, especially when it comes to the latest gadgets and electronics

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Trade in your old smartphones for a brand new Samsung Galaxy Alpha, Samsung Galaxy S5 or Sony Xperia™ Z3 from Maxis. Find out more about the trade-up offer here.

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