I was born to be a shopper. And much more than that, I was born to be a budget shopper*. My mother is the master of shopping for a great deal (as in $400 down to $14 great deal). While I have not yet reached her level in deal-hunting, I've learned a few tricks of my own, and thought I'd share.
- Timing. Shopping only takes as short or long as you want it to. If you have 30 minutes, you have time to shop. Sometimes the quickest decisions force you to make a good one (if not, look below on returning).
- Be patient. If it's not perfect, or not on sale (and you want it to be), don't buy it. Better to have one of what you actually want than three similar pieces that just don't cut it.
- Know its worth. No, not the value of the fabric, or worksmanship, but what the piece is worth to you. How much are you willing to pay? Keep that in mind.
- Round up. If it's $18, call it $20 (it will be at least that after tax). If it's $13, call it $15.
- Try it on. A hanger is nothing like a woman's body, so it's really hard to judge. Even if you're just slipping it on over your clothes, try it.
- Shop for now. Sure, we all want to lose another 5 pounds, but will we? Who knows. Shop for the body you have now. If you're looking at an investment piece (a suit, per se), but still hope for changes in your body, buy value now and invest later.
- Return at will. If you can't try it on, or if it's a great deal and you can't bear to make a choice, make sure you can return it. Keep your potential return receipts in your wallet (or somewhere else where you can find it easily) and make note of return deadlines. All those little purchases add up.
- Leave empty-handed. Don't shop just to buy something. Be okay with leaving with nothing.
- Shop discount. Ross, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack...there are plenty of places where you can find great deals on quality duds. Just be picky when you're there--there is a lot of nothingness to sift through.
- Thrift. I am not that experience here, but am hoping to start this soon.
- Don't be duped. An extra percentage off is usually only worth it when it can be applied to already-on-sale items.
- Step away from the computer. In my experience, stores generally have better sale prices in person than online (plus, you don't have to pay shipping). If you can't find your size or the right color in store, but you know it exists, ask the sales associate to call another store. Oftentimes they can either hold the item for you or send it to your store so you can still get the store sale price.
*I know budget means different things to different people, and at the core is just spending less than you make. Budget clothes for me mean under $50 in general, and under $20 for things like tees and tanks. I do randomly splurge, however, although I do make sure to stay within my means. I'm debt-free and intend to stay that way.
What are your budget shopping tips?