It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are packed with a plethora of food, time spent with loved ones, and good old-fashioned sales… lots and lots of sales.
I’m not going to lie, as much as I spend on my loved ones this season, I can’t help but always sneak a little something for myself. After all, who could resist all of these amazing discounts and goodies?
While I would love to spend all of my money on gorgeous clothing, unfortunately, life requires me to take care of my “responsibilities” and pay my bills – lame. But as a girl who sees shopping as her major form of cardio, I have worked hard to improve my shopping habits to ensure that I am approaching my purchases wisely.
This week I wanted to help set everybody up for success both fashionably and fiscally this holiday season and beyond by sharing 5 of my very favorite budget-conscious shopping commandments!
Thou Shalt Not Buy Just Because It’s On Sale
We’ve all been there – standing in the dressing room stuffed into a piece of clothing that kind of fits or studying your reflection wearing something that is not necessarily your style. Deep down you know it isn’t a wise purchase, but you try to convince yourself that you can somehow make it work because it’s on sale!
If I had all the money I’ve wasted on items that I convinced myself to buy just because they were on sale and never wore again, I would have enough to go on a pretty in-depth Net-A-Porter shopping spree. And right now, as a girl budgeting to buy a home that makes me insanely depressed.
This rule is simple and easy to follow – it doesn’t matter if the item you are looking at is 5% or 99% off if you aren’t completely in love with it just don’t bother making the purchase. If you are having a hard time putting an iffy item down, consider this: with the money you save on this piece that you may never wind up wearing you may be able to purchase something you truly love in the future. At the end of the day, even saving $5 will still buy you a cup of coffee in the morning.
Thou Shalt Sleep On It
When I am online shopping, I am all in. I don’t know about you, but my method of online shopping is to scroll through each and every page, throwing any item I am drawn towards into my cart and popping back in to my bag to narrow down my items when I hit my limit or notice my total is looking more like the cost of a used car. While I don’t always end up buying my cart full of statement pants, this style of shopping can get dangerous.
When I am scrolling through a shop online, I am not always necessarily thinking logically. Maybe I had a long stressful day at work, or perhaps I just binged through a few episodes of Gossip Girl and momentarily forget that I was not a Waldorf. Either way, when shopping online it is easy to act on impulse and not think rationally. The implementation of AfterPay hasn’t helped my case either.
Now what I try to do is cull down my list when I am shopping online to a few pieces that I feel are must-haves. After I do this, I close my computer and leave it be for the rest of the night. When I am able to go back into my cart the next morning I take a look at the items that I felt I couldn’t live without the night before and reassess. Nine times out of ten, I always end up realizing that the striped trapeze dress I had thought so highly of before bed wasn’t as cute as I remembered and kind of looked like a circus tent.
By sleeping on it, you can approach your shopping cart with a renewed sense of rationalization and logic, which will help you purchase the items you love, and limit impulse purchases that you may regret.
Thou Shalt Know When To Splurge And When To Save
As a girl on a budget, I always gravitated towards fast fashion (I know, I know, it is the ultimate no-no and I am working harder to reduce my purchasing frequency). As much as I have loved my trendy pieces from these brands, it became frustrating to find that after a few wears my go-to black sweater started pilling or that the stitching on my everyday handbag was coming loose. Sometimes I lie awake at night wondering where I would be if I just bit the bullet and splurged on my essential items, rather than popping into fast fashion retailers every month or so to replace them.
Conversely, there have been times in the past that I have fallen in love with a very trendy high-street or designer piece and decided to shell out the cash for them. At the time I thought I would love this item forever, but a few months later when the trend died off or I got sick of the pattern, it ended up gathering dust in the back of my closet.
When you are shopping, use rational thought over the pieces that you are looking for. Are you on the hunt for pieces to go into a capsule wardrobe, a quality winter coat or an everyday handbag? It may be a good idea to explore high-street or designer brands. Even though it may be painful to initially fork up the cash, because you will be wearing these items so much you will save money in the long run knowing that these essentials are well-made and won’t fall apart after a few wears.
Consider the opposite when it comes to extremely trendy, unique or pattern-heavy pieces. Sure, some of us may feel the itch to nab those dad shoes every New York fashion blogger is rocking, but do you REALLY want to spend $900 on a pair of Balenciaga’s when you can find something just as comparable at Urban Outfitters for a fraction of the price? A trend is called a trend for a reason – you may love it now, but in a year when you are 100% over it your wallet will thank you.
Thou Shalt Clean Out Your Closet
We all have THAT item in our closet, you know what I am talking about. It is that piece dangling from a hanger, still donning its original tags and everything. You have had it for months, and not once did you ever wear it out of the house. You try to tell yourself that SOMEDAY it will come back in style, that you will be able to fit in it or that you will have the perfect reason to throw it on, but let’s get real here, it’s not gonna happen. It’s time to clean out your closet.
This is something I have been extremely active in performing as of late, especially during the holiday season when I am anticipating receiving plenty of gifts and purchasing new items. As they say, you have to go out with the old and in with the new!
The way I handle cleaning out my closet is simple, I grab a few trash bags and step into my closet with the same mindset as if I was shopping in a store. How is the quality of the fabric? Has it become thin, itchy, or misshapen? You would never buy quality like that in person, so throw it in the bag. If it was on display at Nordstrom, would you walk over and pick it up? No? Throw it in the bag. Would you be able to teeter across the showroom floor in those shoes without getting major blisters or pinched toes? In. The. Bag.
Most importantly, when you are cleaning out your closet leave your emotions at the door. You may have worn that dress on your first date with your boyfriend, but if you have not worn it since that day, you only cluttering up your closet with a sentiment. You will always have those amazing memories in that piece, but if you are not enjoying it, consider donating it so that somebody else might be able to create their own magnificent moment in it.
Thou Shalt Sell Smart
This is a bit of a continuation from my last tip, but it is important to use your previous items to your advantage in order to acquire some more spending cash for yourself and provide yourself with more financial leverage.
After I clean out my closet, there are several ways that I handle getting rid of them, but I always break it down into three main steps.
First, I work on taking them to consignment stores like Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange to see what they will take off my hands and earn a little extra spending cash from it. Some consignment stores may be iffy and it may be frustrating when they only take two items, but cash is cash. Try to keep in mind that there is so much that goes into the process in the backend. The secret to consignment stores is bringing them items that will fit the next season. For example, if it is fall, don’t expect them to accept your summer sundresses and shorts. They are often only curating warmer pieces for the upcoming winter season.
Following this, I will usually take my items back home and place them for sale online using Poshmark or Facebook Marketplace. This process is pretty manual and takes a bit of time, but I find I am often able to sell my out of season items for a reasonable price. With these online selling options, you are often able to sell some of those trendier, gently used items and earn some more money on top of what you earned from the consignment store.
Finally, I take those pieces that are a little too raggedy or not getting any bites to locations like Goodwill or local thrift shops. Doing this gives me a piece of mind knowing that my items might become an exciting new find for somebody else.
Side note: please NEVER throw your clothes in the trash, no matter how beat up they may be. Fabric is not only difficult to break down in landfills, but some synthetic fabrics contain chemicals that may leach into the ground. Always donate any beat up clothing item (besides used socks and underwear of course) to places with recycling programs like Goodwill. If it isn’t deemed quality enough to sell, they will give them a second life by turning them into rags.
By following these shopping commandments you will not only prepare yourself for the holiday sale season, but you will also enforce shopping habits that will be healthier for your wardrobe and your wallet.
Do you have any other shopping commandments or rules that you love to follow? Share them below!