How to be a Smart Shopper

by - January 19, 2016

Hi everyone! I'm back this week with another tips post to help you shop smarter in 2016. Just a tiny disclaimer: I'm not saying that these are rules you absolutely must follow. They're meant to guide you and inspire you to shop in a more thoughtful way. By taking the time to assess your purchases, you can buy pieces that you'll actually get a lot of wear out of and use the money saved to indulge in other things like vacations or charity funds or bills. This doesn't apply only to clothing but anything that you can spend money on that isn't really a necessity.


Are you buying the item because it's on sale or are you buying it because you actually like it?
You'd be surprised how many people shop for products based on price rather than personal preference. Often times, it becomes a situation of convincing yourself that you'll wear the $10 jeans at least once. It must be worth the $10. Wrong! If you don't truly love the piece, you'll never reach for it in your closet. It becomes wasted space and money.

If it's a clothing item or shoes, did you try it on at the store first?
I hate bringing home clothes that end up not fitting. Not only that, it's hard to envision how it will look on your particular body without trying it on. Sometimes I realize that even though it fits, the material doesn't feel right or the cut isn't flattering. If you have the time, please try it on!

Does it fit?
Again, it's important that you aren't buying something because it's trendy or cheap, especially if the piece doesn't even fit properly. I've experienced this with jeans where it might be a little baggy around the waist but I convince myself to buy them, thinking I'll wear a belt with it. I never do. I never touch them because I have other jeans that fit way better. Same with shoes. I've bought boots that look really cute but hurt my feet so I end up not gravitating toward them as much.

How much wear will you get out of it?
This is a hard question to answer, no doubt. When you're out shopping, it can be challenging to imagine how an item can coordinate with other pieces in your wardrobe. Instead, my tip would be to think about how it fits into your overall style. Do you wear pieces like this often? If you're trying something new, ask yourself if it styles well with basic items that you most likely do have, such as black jeans, white t-shirts, chambray button ups. That way, even if the item you want to buy is outside of your usual style, you'll know you can get wear out of it if it works with pieces you definitely know that you own.

You don't have to cut yourself off completely but set a monetary goal in mind when you go shopping and try not to spend over a certain amount. If you come across something that you absolutely can't live without but it happens to go over the limit, don't feel like it's the end of the world. Buy it if it means a lot to you to have it. The monetary goal is to help curb any impulse purchases and also to help you keep track of how much you actually spend during these shopping trips.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to literally use only cash to pay, and to bring the maximum amount I'd allow myself for that shopping trip. That way, I'm forced to shop more thoughtfully and to consider what purchases are worth my money.

Have you ever bought a shirt or a pair of shoes or even a necklace and realized when you got home that you own something very similar (or even the same item!)?
I can't even tell you how many striped shirts I have. That being said, it helps to familiarize yourself with what you own. What pieces do you have the most of? Maybe try not to buy anymore of the similar style (unless you really wear all of them often). That also means knowing what you don't own. You may have a ton of black dresses but you don't own any that are formal. Or you may fill your closet with brown ankle boots. The next time you go shopping, it could be worthwhile to look into brown ankle boots with different textures, shapes, heel heights, etc. Or you could buy different colored ankle boots instead. Knowing what you have and don't have can help you make wiser decisions about what to buy and what to add to your collection.

You can have a separate account set aside for fashion items as long as it doesn't interfere with other fiscal obligations, such as bills, loan payments, etc. Even $20 per paycheck can add up and you won't feel as guilty about spending it because you have already set that money aside specifically for shopping purposes.

If you don't already have an idea of how much you spend per trip, you can jot it down in a journal or notebook. You can also make an Excel sheet, whatever works for you! See how much money you're using for fashion purchases per month and it will be a lot easier to know where you want to cut back or even how much you want to cut back. The great thing about this is that you can be as detailed or as vague as you want. If it's too difficult to list each and every purchase, you can start by documenting the total amount per trip. Being aware is the first step to shopping in a more meaningful way.

Shopping online can be dangerous because it's very easy to add items to your cart. It eliminates the process of feeling the item and there are often a lot more choices online. My tip would be to add whatever you want to the cart, take a break, and then revisit to see if you've changed your mind about anything.

It's almost like writing an essay. The first time you write the entire thing, it can sound very good and you may not notice any grammar errors or whatnot. The second time you read it, you start to notice sentences that can be moved around or an odd wording that could be edited. Revisiting something with a clearer mindset can help you see better. So while you're in the shopping mood, add items to your cart that you want to buy. Come back in a few hours and reconfirm that you truly want to buy those items. You'll save yourself from having to return a bunch of products!

What are some shopping tips that you have for saving money or just for preventing your closet from overflowing? I'd love to hear your thoughts so leave them down below!

Bye for now,

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  1. Great tips :)

  2. Great post !


Thank you for taking the time to stop by! Always happy to hear your thoughts :)