Thursday, February 3, 2011

How to go shopping on holiday without going broke

                                         Photograph by NeilsPhotography

Ahh…shopping.  One of the greatest delights available to man.  If you’re going on a strictly shopping holiday, this article might not be too useful to you.  After all, your planned holiday schedule will probably be:  eat, shop, sleep, wake up and repeat.  For the rest of us who go on holiday and intend to do some shopping on the side, a more detailed plan of action might be required.  This plan should begin before you actually go on holiday. 

Before you set off on your merry shopping way, determine your budget.  Yes, budgets are boring but if you want to come back from your holiday feeling on top of the world instead of down in the doldrums, they are necessary.  There’s no need to open up Excel to create a shopping budget (not unless you really want to, anyway); just decide how much you can dedicate to shopping alone.  This amount should exclude money for transportation, feeding and of course accommodation. 

A good way to come up with a budget is to determine how much you can spare for shopping then calculate its value in the currency of the country you’ll be visiting.  You can get exchange rates from websites like www.gocurrency.com or better still, call up your bank and ask them.  What I usually do is determine how much I’d like to spend on shopping in the currency of the country I’ll be visiting then I’ll change it to the currency of where I am.  If after this calculation, I find I can’t afford my dream shopping allowance, I adjust the figures until I reach an amount I can spare.

This may not work for everyone but I prefer to carry most of my shopping money in cash and put ‘emergency’ shopping money on a debit or credit card.  Of course, one can argue that emergencies aren’t exactly relevant to shopping but I’m sure true shoppers out there would beg to differ.  I use the emergency funds on my card for things like buying a last-minute present for a friend or buying books in duty-free.

OK.  Now you’ve sorted out how much money you have to spend on shopping so you’re ready to hit the shops!  Not quite.  Malls are enticing places filled with tempting shoes determined to go home with you.  Be prepared.  What I usually do is make a list of the things I really really want before I hit the mall/ shopping centre/ souk.  That way, my subconscious is focused on the things I want and I’m less distracted by the things NOT on my list.  That’s not to say I don’t go home with more bangles and tubes of lipgloss than I had intended to buy but it means I hardly ever buy things then wonder what I was thinking when I get home with them.

If there’s something I desperately want (usually a big, black handbag).  Once I spot it, I stroke it, stare at myself in the mirror while holding it, take a mental picture of it then go home.  Without it.  If I’m still thinking about it 2 days later, I know it’s something I really want and hurry to the shop begging them to take my money (not really, but you know what I mean).  I find that purchases like these are the ones I love and use the most.

So now you’re prepared and can confidently go shopping on holiday without worrying about going back home broke.  What about you?  Do you have any tips about shopping on holiday?


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