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Personal goals can be difficult to maintain throughout a busy semester.

We all have some vision of achievement that we keep inside our shirt pockets throughout the day, whether it’s losing a few pounds or learning how to get to class on time.

My goal this semester is to be a better shopper. While I was having more trouble packing a suitcase this past summer than usual, I began taking stock of my purchases from the last couple of years.

Some clothes traveled with me and reached their end as part of my regular wardrobe, while some sat in my room at home for months looking lifeless. This forced me to face my bad habit and re-evaluate the way I buy things in order to be more careful with my money. Though I consider myself a smartshopper, I have realized how easy it can be to let unnecessary purchases add up, resulting in wasted time and money. While shopping is not necessarily enjoyable for everyone, we all have a need for spending.

Budgeting is the key to getting the most out of any shopping experience.

There are obvious solutions to spending less money, such as finding local thrift stores or selecting the “price: low to high” option online, yet I’ve noticed that having those options is not always beneficial.

When I sifted through my clothes over the summer, I recalled all the money I spent on things I no longer wear and how many impulsive purchases I made.

Although I thought I was getting great deals at the time, I recoiled upon realizing how much I could have saved and what I could have bought instead.

Look through your closet every once in a while and pull out what you no longer want. Then try to add up the total price. The cost of these combined might have paid for one expensive item you had your eye on months ago.

Another habit that has plagued me in the past is falling in love at first sight with an item. At the time, it seems like that one-of-a-kind ring or that perfect dress is the only thing that matters. But once you get home it suddenly loses its spark.

I have started to walk away from items that seem too good to be true to give myself time to think about whether or not I really want them. Thinking about a possible purchase overnight may either cement the necessity of the item or allow you to take a step back and decide if it’s not meant to be. If it sells out, don’t worry. You will find something better.

Creating lists of things you want can help filter out the good decisions from the impulsive ones.

My favorite list-making website, Wantworthy.com, allows you to put various items you want from different websites onto one master list and compare them side by side.

This has saved me on a few occasions as it has helped me avoid impulsive purchases that seemed vital to my well-being at the time. Wantworthy also allows you to separate items into groups if you so choose, which may help you prioritize your purchases from most important to least. This provides the kind of comparative perspective that 12 open tabs in Firefox simply cannot.

My most important motto for saving is “stick to what you know,” as my mother says. As much as I love taking fashion risks, I’ve discovered that even my riskiest outfits tend to follow a pattern.

Hold on to your style and don’t let any major trend or store clerk wash it away. Buying things you don’t feel comfortable in is a waste of money.

While silly buys are still inevitable (and fun when purchased sparingly), these little methods have already allowed me to have more pieces I love that have remained in my closet, mending my near-damaged relationship with the retail industry.

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