Shopping Tips

June 20, 2016

Everyone wants to feel good about themselves and look nice, but many of us have budgets. So, learning to be a smart shopper is really helpful for buying the right things and also saving money.  Here are a few tips:

Store vs. online.  Be careful when shopping in stores as I feel like people tend to buy just anything in person, as long as it fits and seems reasonable. No. Only buy something if you love it. For me, I think that I am more discerning when shopping online. I search longer, think about it in context to my wardrobe and I read reviews if available. It’s harder for me to pull the trigger when shopping online and that is a good thing.  Also, I have found that I can find many more things I like online vs. in store for the exact same store. Sometimes I go to the store to try on and then buy online with discounts. Also, some stores have online exclusives that never appear in stores or have things that the store never carries. I have found some amazing well-made dresses at Old Navy online this summer.

Wait for sales. Put something in your cart or pin it and keep a close eye for it to go on sale. Only buy immediately if it’s a one of a kind thing that you are really excited about, you would be upset if it sold out and you are completely willing to pay full price for.

Find coupons.  About 75% of the time, if I’m shopping online, I can search for coupons and find something that will work. Just google the store name + coupon code. Try the codes until you find one that works. Or even better, let Honey search for you!  Honey is a browser extension that automatically tries all known coupon codes for you when you are at the cart stage! This is a genius idea and has definitely helped me save some money.

Store cards.  If you shop at one particular store a lot, you might want to get their credit card, because they’ll send you lots of coupons. Also, if you use their card, you’ll rack up points that become coupons. I have a Banana Republic card which works for Gap and Old Navy, too.

Buy what you really want / need first.  Sometimes you might be tempted to buy something, but stop and think — what is it you really, really want right now? Is it that dress you just got an email about (that’s beautiful, but you don’t need) or is it a new pair of shoes you can wear to work? Wait and get what is at the top of your wishlist and don’t impulse buy. Use Pinterest to organize your wishlist and help you visualize it. Prioritize. Always think, if I buy this, then I can’t buy _____.

Doesn’t fit or doesn’t work. Return it! Just return it. Even if it takes a little effort, it’s better than totally wasting your money on something you can’t use. I bought a gorgeous dress for Easter. It arrived and I tried it on and it fit. Success. Not so fast.  The first time I wore it, it twisted horribly.  HORRIBLY.  I was uncomfortable all day trying to fight this dress. So, I sent it packing. But, typically, if I order something — I try it on immediately and if it doesn’t fit, I immediately package it back up.  I have found that if you are questioning it or can’t decide, usually that’s a sign that you don’t LOVE it. However, sometimes, you might just be trying something new that looks great on you, but is new to you and is a little out of your comfort zone. So, being adventurous can be good if you know how and when to do it.

Buy only what works for you. Don’t get too wrapped up in trends or in what looks good on other people. Know what works for your body. Sometimes I see something on someone else that I love, but I know it won’t work for me. I used to buy these things and then they would sit in my closet. Loving the item isn’t enough. You have to love it on you and feel good in it. If I feel self conscious, then it’s probably not working. If I feel good, that’s what I want — and unfortunately that doesn’t include some things that I’d like to be able to wear. Same for colors.

Buy only what you can use.  Even if something fits me and looks good, what’s the point if I have nowhere to to wear it?  Buy for your lifestyle. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t own a great cocktail dress, even if you only wear it once or twice a year.

Invest in good pieces. It took me a while to learn this, but I believe in this wholeheartedly. I would rather have one really nice piece of clothing that I know will hold up, wear well and I feel really good in than several cheap pieces that will shrink, be ill-fitting, go out of style, fall apart or whatever.  I have a great pair of Italian leather nude flats from J. Crew. (They are on sale right now — Use code “MONDAY”!) When I got them, they seemed expensive, but I have gotten my money’s worth ten times over. I wear them constantly and they are so comfortable. They also are sturdy and have held up well.  Otherwise I might have been through several pairs of cheap shoes by now.  My Hunter boots have also been a great investment. They have been through snow storms, rain and gotten me knee high grasses. So versatile for all seasons.

Invest in accessories. Low on cash and want to get the most for your money? Accessories are something you can potentially wear every day and feel good about every day.  Handbags, sunglasses, jewelry, etc. I know that when I buy these items, that they will get tons of use.  My Stella & Dot Avalon Tote has been such a great bag. I have gotten more compliments on that bag than I can possibly count…almost every day I carry it! Also, I love having a good pair of sunglasses.  What better way to feel good and elevate your look that with something you’ll wear every day? I love these Chloe glasses I got at a killer Nordstrom sale this spring.  (Note: The color I got isn’t online though.) Also, I love these Celine sunnies.

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Anyone have anything to add? Would love to hear it!


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