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10 Questions to Ask Yourself at Fast Fashion Stores

10 Questions to Ask Yourself at Fast Fashion Stores

Shopping at fast fashion stores is fun—it’s affordable, trendy, and feels like a reasonable splurge. Make it a habit though, and you’ve got fast fashion problems on your hands (and in your closet, under your bed, all over your floor—not to mention on your credit card statement). Before you hit the mall, here’s what you need to ask yourself to avoid a shopping hangover.

1. Why am I here in the first place?

Gossip Girl Blair Waldorf

    Do you actually need something, or are you just looking? And if you’re just looking, what led you there in the first place? Sure, maybe you’re just killing time on your lunch break, but if you find that your default activity is hitting the stores, think about what makes you go there. Are you bored, stressed out, or unhappy? Shopping, especially when you feel like you’re getting a deal, gives you a quick mood boost. That said, it doesn’t last—and it definitely doesn’t solve your actual problem (plus spend too much money, and you’ve created a new one). Next time you find yourself wanting to go wander through Forever 21, try to get in touch with what you’re really feeling first, and think about what you need to do to actually tackle the issue.

    2. Do I already have something just like this?

    Rachel Zoe self restraint

      We all have certain styles that we absolutely love, or everyday basics that we can’t get enough of. But if the main reason you like a fast fashion item is because you already own something just like it, you probably don’t need two of them! (Or ten, or twelve.) If the answer to your question is yes, but it’s ripped-stained-pilled-etc. and you actually need a replacement, fine. But if the answer’s yes, I can add it to my pile, skip it. Clothes aren’t Pokémon—you don’t need to catch ’em all.

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      3. Do I need something else to go with it?

      Clueless Cher Horowitz Closet

        You found a silky asymmetrical jacket you absolutely love. Okay, great—what are you going to wear it with? If the answer can’t already be found in your closet, you’re going to need to buy something else to make it work. That mean your inexpensive fast fashion find just cost you more money. This isn’t always an easy question to answer (though there are definitely apps that claim to be like the closet computer from Clueless), but if you’re really scratching your head, you’re probably better off leaving it on the rack.

        4. Does it actually fit?

        blind-side-wear-this

          Especially when clothes are inexpensive (getting a deal!), it can be really tempting to buy something that doesn’t quite fit. After all, it’s not like you’re going to flag down one of the H&M salespeople and ask them to find that skirt in your size—if it’s not there, it’s not there. But if it doesn’t fit you, it’s not worth it. If you’re looking for a bargain in the first place, you’re probably not going to pay to have a too-big piece tailored down to your size. If it’s too small, don’t tell yourself you’re buying it for after your diet or workout plan, or as motivation to lose weight or get in shape. Only buy clothes for the life (and body!) you have now.

          5. Am I going to be able to wear this more than once?

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          Mean Girls Regina George

             

            Fast fashion can feel like a wedding season savior: if you can’t repeat the dress, you don’t want to drop a wad of cash on it. That said, if it’s just going to wind up at the Salvation Army, maybe you shouldn’t be spending money on it in the first place. If it’s a one-time item—whether for a formal event or for a costume party—why not see what your friends have first? Shopping each other’s closets is a fun excuse to hang out, and you get all the gratification of a trip to the mall without spending money.

            6. Do I just want this because it’s on sale?

            Honey Boo Boo Coupon Queen

              Fast fashion stores are already inexpensive, but once stuff goes on sale, it’s easy to get into the “I can’t afford not to buy this” mentality. Here’s the thing: You can. It’s one thing if something you actually need, or one piece you’ve been ogling for a month, goes on sale. It’s another thing if the sale rack is just stuff that’s marked down. Ignore the price tag and ask yourself: Is this in season? Is it in style? Do I even look good in yellow? It’s hard to resist the siren song of the sale rack, but if you do you’ll avoid drawers that are stuffed with “amazing deals” you never actually wear.

              7. Is this trend going to last?

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              Beverly Hills 90210 uggs

                There’s a reason fast fashion is called fast. These stores are able to jump on any trend and get it into stores virtually immediately, as opposed to the old six-months-ahead fashion show cycle (which does, strangely, still persist). Just because an item’s trendy right now doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. If you aren’t going to love that lace crop top in six weeks or six months—let alone six years—it’s probably not worth it. The exception: If something you’ve always loved becomes an “in” thing, go for it. Then it’s more about your personal style than about what’s hot at the moment.

                8. Can I afford this?

                Confessions of a Shopaholic Isla Fisher

                  Remember: cheap isn’t free. Even buy-one, get-ones add up, because after all, you’re still buying one. If you’re even remotely close to owing money on your credit card, put that pencil skirt down! Paying interest on lots of little purchases means that for each of those mini-splurges, you’re paying more. Don’t have the cash? Then it’s not coming home with you. That kind of discipline doesn’t always come easy, but having a healthy bottom line is more important than a fashionably-clad bottom.

                  9. Do I actually like this or am I just paying for the name?

                  Ex-Porn Stars Manolo Blahnik

                    Ever since Target and H&M started doing designer collaborations nearly a decade ago, high fashion names regularly cycle through the fast fashion world. The premise is that it’s exciting (and come on, it is), and that it makes these designers styles more accessible and affordable to everyday people. That said, these collections tend to be much lower quality than the designer’s actual pieces, and they’re highly recognizable—no one’s going to mistake your Rodarte for Target for legit Rodarte. The sense of scarcity and getting a designer deal means these collaborations regularly sell out, but they tend to hit the Goodwill just as fast as they leave the store racks—in the calm, clear world where you haven’t just waited in line to get Kate Moss for TopShop, you may find you’re just not that into it. If you really love a particular designer, why not save up so that you can have a real splurge? Being able to choose something that’s better quality and that you’ll wear way more is worth the price.

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                    10. Am I really going to regret not buying this?

                    Parks and Recreation Donna Treat Yo' Self

                      It’s not like every piece you pick up at a fast fashion retailer is going to be a no-go. Some stuff you just plain love, and you know what? If you absolutely adore it and you can say with certainty that you’ll regret leaving it in the store much more than you would buying it, go ahead. Every once in a while, it’s okay to treat yo’ self.

                      Featured photo credit: Paramount Pictures via mashable.com

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                      Published on May 7, 2019

                      How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                      How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                      When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

                      Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

                      Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

                      You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

                      Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

                      1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

                      Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

                      But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

                      • Will you spend more time with your family?
                      • What does retirement mean to you?
                      • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

                      Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

                      Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

                      2. Figure out When to Invest

                      “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

                      It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

                      The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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                      A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

                      Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

                      3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

                      Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

                      Why?

                      Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

                      Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

                      Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

                      Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

                      4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

                      Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

                      If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

                      You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

                      1. Vanguard
                      2. TD Ameritrade
                      3. Charles Schwab

                      5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

                      Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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                      Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

                      That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

                      Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

                      A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

                      6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

                      The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

                      Robo Advisors

                      Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

                      Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

                      Bonds

                      Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

                      Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

                      Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

                      1. Treasury bonds
                      2. Government bonds
                      3. Corporate bonds
                      4. Foreign bonds
                      5. Mortgage-backed bonds
                      6. Municipal bonds

                      Mutual Funds

                      Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

                      One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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                      Real Estate

                      Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

                      Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

                      This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

                      But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

                      Savings Accounts

                      Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

                      7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

                      Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

                      So how can you master delayed gratification?

                      By building your discipline.

                      Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

                      Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

                      8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

                      I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

                      It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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                      More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

                      But, how can you invest yourself?

                      Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

                      Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

                      But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

                      Retire Happy with Excess Money

                      The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

                      It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

                      I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

                      Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

                      One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

                      More Articles About Making Wise Investment

                      Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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