Shopping isn’t as fun as it seems folks.

Well, that is, it’s not very much fun if you’re someone who needs to do more saving than spending–like me. While something might say it’s on sale and seem like such an awesome investment, I think we can all attest to the fact that shopping guilt is a b***h, and so is the interest that accumulates when you shop with a credit card because you just HAD to have those heels.

Sale or no sale, sometimes it’s best to just listen to the voice in our head that tells us we need to put those heels or that leather jacket back. I often walk around the store with an item while I keep looking and ask myself the following questions to figure out if the item is something I really have to have. It might help you too:

Do You Already Have Something Like This in Your Closet?

Hey, you know yourself and you know your taste. That’s probably why when you go to the store, you find yourself attracted to the same kind of clothes over and over. Sure, you already have a pair of nude pumps; however, you don’t have THOSE nude pumps sitting pretty on the box in front of you at DSW. But you really need to ask yourself if you have something similar already awaiting you at the house. Why go broke buying identical pieces and accessories when you know in your heart that you rarely put on those nude heels in the back of your closet. Go ahead and step back from that box.

Where Will You Wear This and WHEN?

Just yesterday I almost lost my mind over a pair of black wedge heels by Calvin Klein. They were leather, with an espadrille-style heel that was an interesting mix of black and green (and green is my favorite color). Unfortunately for me, I was shopping with my sister, who is more about giving compliments than giving me the real deal and pushing me to not to buy something (“And you know how you love green!”). But I thought to myself, am I really going to wear black leather wedge heels when it gets hot and I want to throw on bright sundresses? And as cute as they were, I had to remind myself that I don’t like to wear the wedges I already have for more than a few hours. So why spend more money than I need to on something I’m only going to use a few times until the fall? Be realistic about the mileage you’re going to get out of these pieces you are salivating over, ladies.

Can You Really Afford This Item? 

Has anyone else’s credit card become a bigger burden than it should be? We all know that credit cards are in no way free money, but the way we’re willing to pull them out for things outside of an emergency and MUST haves (like furniture for your home, to fix your car, or to pay for a procedure at the doctor’s office) is amazing.

If you know you will and can pay the credit card companies back ASAP the full amount you are about to spend for those shoes, then swipe away. But if you know this will just become another expense to increase your debt, rack up interest, and give you good ‘ol shopper’s guilt, then you might want to pass.

Will Buying This Force You to Buy Something Else?

And by this I mean, using the old nude heels example, if you buy these shoes, will you then feel the urge to buy a dress or something that you feel will match those shoes? Often we get so mesmerized by things and buy them on a whim that we forget that we don’t have anything to match those shoes, or that dress, or that shirt–whatever. Then we end up in this complicated trap where we need to buy a whole outfit to make us feel more secure about our initial purchase. Ask yourself while you’re pondering your purchase if you have anything that you can wear with it or if buying it will create a chain reaction of purchases and unnecessary expenses. If so…drop it like it’s hot.

Are You Trying to Buy Something Just to Buy Something?

Does that pair of shoes really blow your mind? Are you as excited by that top when you try it on as you were when it was on the hanger? You definitely shouldn’t blow your money on things just to walk out the store with something. And if the item in your hands or that you’re trying on isn’t as fabulous as you thought it was going to be, that should be a huge sign that it needs to go.

Are You Being Real With Yourself?

Seriously, if you buy this item, do you really plan on using it often? If you know you could use a new pair of flats or heels for work and think you will wear them into the ground (in a good way), those purchases aren’t something you should necessarily feel guilty about. But if you know could really use that money to pay a bill rather than to pay for something you will only wear every once in a while, it could be in your best interest to opt out of purchasing them.

Now, if something is hella cheap AND comes off as a steal–why not? But just because you found a bag by Marc Jacobs on sale doesn’t mean you HAVE to have it. It might be a good price for a big label item ($200 for a bag that used to be $400), but not necessarily for your pockets and budget.

Think about it folks!