Sunday, June 29, 2014

Four Shopping Tips to Keep a Healthy Bank Account

Photo Credit: In My Own Style
Contrary to Carrie Bradshaw's infamous line on Sex in the City, I don't like to see all of my money hanging in my closet. It's not going to do me much good if I have a closet full of amazing clothes but I can't afford to go anywhere in them. Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson through trial and error. After having a "see, want, buy" mentality in college, I would end up with pieces that I never wore or wore just once. I wouldn't stop to think about whether I would still like this piece in six months or if it would even last that long.  Fortunately, my shopping habits have since changed and I now know how and when to shop to keep both my wardrobe and bank account full.

  • Wait. The reason is twofold.
    • Often times we have an initial attraction to a piece and we feel as though we have to get it now. However, if we wait a week or two, that excitement may subside. The idea here is to give yourself time to get past that initial excitement period. If you still really like the item a month later, then chances are it's not just a phase. I give myself at least two weeks before committing to an online purchase (most of my shopping is done online). If it's gone by then, hey I'll live.
    • It may go on sale. Nothing irks me more than paying retail for an item that goes on sale a couple weeks later. A little patience could save you 20, 30, maybe even 50 percent off. 
  • Get to know the sale schedules at your favorite stores. Places like Nordstrom have their anniversary sale at specific times each year. Get to know these schedules and choose to shop during these times. Also, mark off the major holidays - Memorial Day, 4th of July (which is coming up soon!), Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Most stores do big sales during these times. I plan my shopping during these windows to maximize savings. 
  • Think about the cost per wear of a purchase. Cost per wear is simply taking the cost of an item and dividing that by how frequently you'll wear the item in a given period. I have this denim top that I love. I got it from Topshop a few years ago and it cost me 60 dollars. Now 60 dollars may seem expensive for a top but this top is extremely versatile. I can wear it with multiple pieces in my wardrobe and it's neutral enough where I can get away with wearing it multiple times in a month (and I do). This makes the cost per wear low. For pieces with more distinctive patterns or prints, or items that I know I won't wear as often, I won't spend as much on them to keep the cost per wear lower.
  • Set your own price. More recently I've begun to make up a price based on how much I think an item is worth. I base this off of the quality of the fabric used to make the garment, how much I think I'll wear it, and whether it's a staple piece or more trendy. Once I've decided how much I think it's worth, I'll compare that to what the retailer is asking for it. If their price is higher than mine than it's a no go. I'll either wait until the price comes down or just forget about it.

These are just some of the tips I use to make sure that I'm spending my money wisely. What tips do you use to help you shop smarter? Tell me in the comments!

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