We've all been there – your credit card is burning a hole in your pocket, you've had a tough day and you find yourself at your local Westfield shopping centre.
Now, if you've got bills mounting up, mortgage repayments to make and an empty fridge, it would be rational to pull back and get yourself out of the shops quick smart. However, being rational is sometimes easier said than done.
Here are some of RateCity's top tips to avoid a blow out next time you're shopping:
1. Avoid shopping when you're hungry
Have you ever tried to fit in a quick supermarket shop before your lunch break or on your way home from work before preparing dinner?
When you're hungry, you may find yourself throwing expensive yet unneeded snacks into your trolley, such as biscuits, chips, ready-made meals and decadent desserts.
Don't shop when you're ruled by your stomach. Instead, complete your grocery shopping after a meal and always take a list with you.
2. Plan holidays carefully
It's easy to fall into a pattern of spending whatever you like when you're on a tropical beach or exploring mountainous regions on the other side of the world.
But you may find that reality comes back to bite you when you return from your holiday and regular payments are piling up.
Opening a dedicated savings account for your next big holiday is a good way to keep your spending in check. You might splurge on a five-star hotel and cut down on your dining out expenses when you get to your destination. Or perhaps you're more concerned with enjoying all the activities on offer at your holiday location, in which case basic accommodation may suffice.
3. Don't get lured in by freebies
The thought of getting something for nothing might seem like a good deal, but always consider how much you're really spending — and whether you even need the item you're purchasing.
For instance, is it really worth buying an extra piece of clothing in order to get the free shipping bonus? Perhaps you've fallen for two-for-one deals because you like the idea of a bargain, but don't need the item in question.
Ask yourself: Would I pay for this item at full price? If the answer is an outstanding no, then rethink why you're really handing over your hard-earned cash.
4. What's your Friday night plan?
When the end of the working week rolls around, it can be easy to head out for a drink or a delicious meal to welcome in the weekend.
But you may find that you're more willing to flash the cash when you're in relaxation mode. Set yourself a limit for your weekend spending when you've got time on your side and a generous attitude.
Heading out for a few refreshments is all well and good for a spot of team bonding, but shouting round after round of drinks is going to sting your wallet! It might pay to leave your credit card at home in such situations.
5. Entertain without spending a fortune
Hosting a dinner party is great fun, whether you're feeding relatives or friends.
However, the desire to impress can cause you to overspend — you may not even need all the food you buy. Consider preparing sharing plates, a few inexpensive pasta dishes and a lightly-dressed salad. Guests will be able to pick and choose what they want, leaving you with less food waste and a lower food bill.
Consider hosting a barbecue in the summer — provide the salads, breads and sauces and ask guests to contribute meat.