Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Official I'm Glad I Exist Guide to Smarter Shopping

Since I'm saving up for several big-ticket items right now (a car and then a puppy!), I need to be careful with how I'm spending my money. As a result of living on a student budget for so many years, I've become a Super Shopper and thought I'd share some of my tips and tricks of how to get the best deal on clothing items you really want and/or need.

1. Start with a list of items you want. 

This can be generalities (I keep a list on my iPhone) or very specific (I've had my eye on this pleated skirt from the Loft). Nerdy as this may be, I use my own tips from my post on organizing your closet to decide what makes my list.

2. Google the shit out of that item. 

Seriously. If I know I love a certain product that is sold by multiple vendors, I will troll the Internet like nobody's business to find the best deal. Which leads me to point three.

3. Use shopping sites. 

I'm on an embarrassing amount of shopping sites, including Hautelook, My Habit, Rue La La, Ideeli, Gilt, Joss & Main, and One Kings Lane. I only sign up for ones that I know have carried or are likely to carry the lines I'm interested in, and I've scored some great deals on products I'd been eyeing for forever. Which naturally leads me to point four.

4. Deliberate if you're not sure. 

Maybe I'm cheap (or, more likely, just broke), but I rarely pay full price for clothing items. If I'm not willing to pull the trigger the minute I see it, I will wait and watch for the best deal to come along. My Pinterest board Shopping Spree is a constantly-rotating collage of items I'm debating, either because I can't afford them at that particular moment (ahem....Free People Destroyer boots) or because I don't feel justified in spending the listed amount. Reasons for 'not justified' range from 'I've already blown my budget for the month' to 'it's stupid they're even asking that price' (coughAnthropologiecough). This leads me (sensing a pattern?) to point five.

5. Put dollar signs on specific items. 

I do this for items I really want but can't justify paying the current price for. For example, I love these $80 Loft leopard print wedges, but for a variety of financial/personal reasons I can't see paying myself paying more than $40 for them. So I tag the Pinterest image with the list price, then add a comment with the limit I've set to remind myself. This way, when they are 40% off (last week!) but not 50%, I remind myself that I set that price for a good reason, and slowly step away from the credit card. That said, see number 6:

6. Buy when you find the best deal. 
We've all been there--found our dream item, but waited too long to pull the trigger and it sold out. Heartbreaking. So the 'best deal' doesn't necessarily equate to 'cheapest'--pick the price you're comfortable with and stick to it. If it sells out before then, you probably didn't want it bad enough if you didn't buy it earlier. If it drops in price to what you're comfortable with, yay! The other option, of course, is:

7. Buy when you can't handle not having it RIGHT MEOW. 
This recently happened to me with this Mikkat Market peach piece of heaven. I tried to wait for a sale, but it was selling out quickly and its loveliness just taunted me until I caved and paid full price. And I haven't regretted it for a minute because it's currently my favorite clothing piece I own. So if you're dying over a piece, and can afford it, go for it!

EDIT: Although I highly recommend going through Mikkat Market, I can't in good conscience NOT post this: the peach and mint versions of my dress are available at Sosie, and the peach is on sale. 

8. Shop what you know during sales. 
Sales are obviously a great thing, except when you get distracted by the theoretical money you're saving and buy a bunch of stuff you don't really need (thus defeating the whole money-saving bit). Case in point: I recently put in a big purchase to Old Navy because I got suckered in to their 25% off sale and hadn't yet written this post to refer to/restrain myself by (heh. So modest). So I ended up getting a bunch of cheap items that I was only kind of interested in (well, except for the gingham goodness). THEN Mikkat Market restocked my (more expensive) peach dress in other colors. So here's a (super ghetto) graphic representation of my dilemma:

Know what I did? Returned the pieces I wasn't in love with (including a black dress that I thought was only ok but filled a gap in my closet for a versatile LBD), and bought the black version of the dress I already knew I love (and fills that gap in my closet much better) plus these earrings I've been ogling, all for roughly the same price.

9. Understand that quality < quantity. 

Old Navy and Forever 21 are alluring in their trendiness and cheap pricing, but they tend to fall apart on me quickly. Understand that 5 cheap Old Navy items that you only kind of love are more expensive  in the long run (both in cost and environmentally) than 1 beautiful, well-made dress and pair of earrings that you'll wear to death. Unless you find the rare gem, that Old Navy piece that you love AND can wear to death. Score! 

My last piece of advice is the most important, in my opinion:

10. Only buy things that make you feel happy, sexy, pretty, or another positive emotion. 
As stated here, even though I love fashion and shopping, I always need to remember that clothes are not important enough to get me down. If you're stressing about money, STOP SHOPPING! Get creative with your closet instead. If you gain a couple pounds, instead of getting bummed about your too-tight jeans, wear a great bra that shows off your ample boobs--and hit the gym, because (at least for me) exercise makes you happy AND healthy. And that's a win-win in my book.

So that's the official I'm Glad I Exist Guide to Smarter Shopping! Hope these tips helped! Anyone have tips they want to add? Anyone disagree with my ideas? Let me know! :)

1 comment:

  1. These days, almost young people like the online way of buying clothes. On the internet, we can easily find the best varieties in our likable prices. I always like to buy clothes from the online websites because I hate the actual event of buying clothes.
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