Buy Better and Buy Less: A Guide to Better Shopping Habits
I know we women have a bit of a shopping addiction, so I’ve decided to guide us, addicts, through a better spending method. My method is simple: buy better and buy less.
You’re shopping at your favorite mall and approach a store with sale signs displayed in the window. You go inside to browse, then walk to the sales rack. You see a blouse you kind of like and notice the red tag marked for $19.99. Then, you look up and notice for the sign for an additional 30% off.
You’re saying to yourself, “30% off the red tag!? That’s so cheap!”
Consumed by your excitement on “saving money,” you pick through each clothing article on every sales rack and add them to your shopping bag. Then, you go into a dressing room to try on your collection of sale items and find that you like most of them enough to purchase- after all, they’re only between $10-$15 per piece. After a couple of hours scouring through clothes and trying them on, you’re finally ready to check out.
At the register, the cashier begins to take each article, scan it, remove the sensor, and then carefully fold and place it in to your bag. Nine pieces later, and your total is $125.94 (not including tax).
“Well I did get a lot of stuff,” you think as you hesitantly swipe your Visa or Mastercard.
Shortly afterwards, you find a blouse you love at Nordstrom, but see the price tag of $220 and scowl at it.
The above scenario is something we experience almost daily; it’s the internal debate of how much we’re willing to spend on a good, and what we compromise to spend less.
What would you do? Buy the blouse and add it to your splurge? Wait for it to go on sale? Return your other clothes to buy the Nordstrom blouse?
I used to buy nothing but clearance and sales items, and there is nothing wrong with that. I find great pieces on clearance racks all the time, and I love seeing the difference between the original price and the clearance price. “Oooo, I saved $40 on this piece.” There is something incredibly satisfying about seeing those markdowns and rationalizing it as saving money, when, in fact, we are still spending money.
Well if you have a shopping addiction like my myself, then you need to know how to spend less in the long run. Buy better and buy less. Return those clearance pieces and buy that Nordstrom blouse. When you buy something you love, you wear it as often as possible. When you buy something you like, you’ll either leave it sitting in your closet, and donate it to Goodwill two years later, or wear it minimally.
I know many of us find pieces we really like for a low price, but I find that I’m happier buying a few high-tag pieces I love than buying a pile of clothes I bought just because of the low price. I would wear a $100 blouse more often than a bunch of $10 tank tops. And that $100 blouse looks a lot fancier.
Remember, this only works if you actually buy less items. If you buy high-price items and buy them as frequently as you would with lower-priced item, then you’re Rebecca Bloomwood (Confessions of a Shopaholic) and you’ll be out of money by the end of the month… or week… or by the end of the day.
I find that when I buy an expensive clothing article, then that’s my one purchase for a long time. It’s not just because it was expensive, but, instead, I think I’m just satisfied with my purchase so I don’t feel the need to shop around more. In contrast, when I buying a few lower-priced pieces, I find myself hitting the mall that same week.
I often buy about two to three popular brand name purses throughout the year (i.e. Tory Burch and Michael Kors), but what if I really want a Louis Vuitton? That’s the price of, hmmmm, three to four Tory Burches. Well, I’m going to take the money I would’ve spent on those four purses, and use it on my Louis. You can bet that the Louis will be my favorite purse for a very long time, and I won’t feel the need to upgrade my handbag for the next two years.
Take the things you like, and trade it in for the one thing you’ll love. Buy less.
Don’t Be Afraid to Return
Don’t be afraid to return clothes- whether it’s because you spent too much or because you found something else you like more.
Recently, I bought a dress from BCBGMaxazria that I paid about $300 for. I often like to see if I can find better deals online afterwards, or see if it goes on sale. Sure enough, one and a half weeks later, that dress went on sale for $149 and I used a coupon code and bought it for $112. I spent less than half the price I originally paid. I then returned my first dress and waited for delivery of the second one.
The problem with waiting for something to go on sale is the risk of it selling out. If you absolutely love something, chances are, so do thousands of other women. I can’t tell you how often I buy something, and then it completely sells out everywhere. I’m not encouraging you to spend money, but instead, if you love something, then buy it and see if it goes on sale so you can exchange it. If it doesn’t go on sale within the return policy’s timeframe, then you have the choice of returning it for a refund, or ripping off the tags and wearing it out. At least now you won’t have to worry about it selling out if it’s already in your closet.
Basically, don’t be afraid to buy something you love. Keep it in your closet and see if it goes on sale. Maybe it will, or maybe you’ll find something you love even more.
Don’t be afraid to return.
We all have a shopping obsession for something, like shoes or purses. Or maybe you love buying everything.
I would rather spend more and buy a few clothing pieces I love, than buy the lower-priced things I really like. Spending more to get the perfect blouse or shoes deters me from shopping daily and spending more money, in the long run, on an army of clothes from the clearance rack.
There is often a great find that is marked down to a very affordable price, but what happens when your great find isn’t on sale? Buy better, and buy less.
Maybe this method isn’t for everyone, but I’m simply sharing what works for me. My clothes are expensive, and they look like it. I feel great in them. I don’t blow thousands of dollars on high end clothes at once, but instead, I allocate these pricey purchases throughout the year. Now I have a huge walk-in closet filled with the clothes you see in magazines.
You’re pricey collection will build up fast enough, and then you’ll look like a trust-fund baby.