Shopping for a new wardrobe is a fun and rewarding experience, but it can be a bit daunting if you don’t know where to start. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to make your experience easy, stress-free, and affordable.
TOP TEN SHOPPING TIPS
1. Shop with a list.
This is my number one tip for good reason. Many people overspend or buy things they don’t want, don’t need and never end up using because they haven’t prepared properly. This is your hard earned cash and precious time you are spending – it’s worth a few minutes of preparation, don’t you think? Sure it is (and remember, you’re worth it!). So, before you set off on your shopping trip, prepare. Review what you already have – in your closet. And finally, remember to use that list when you shop!
2. Set a budget.
Yes, oh yes – the “b” word. Budget. This is important. Many people overspend on things they don’t want, need or use because they had no parameters around their spending – they just went ‘hell for leather’. Not a smart way to shop. You want to feel great about this shopping trip long after the ink has faded on the receipt, right? And one way to do that is to make sure you don’t buy more than you can afford. Set your budget – and like the list – stick to it!
3. Pay with cash.
The research is clear: we pay 20 – 50% more when we shop with magic plastic, whether it’s using a credit or debit card. There’s something about that magic plastic that can make us feel like we’re using Monopoly money, play money. Like it’s not real. Unfortunately, those credit card fees are very real! So once your list is prepared and you have a realistic budget you can stick to, withdraw your funds in cash and use only that cash for this shopping trip. Paying with cash feels more “real” and that’s what we want – to reconnect you to this shopping experience so you only buy things you genuinely need and will use. You’ll save a fortune and those impulse buys will seem far less alluring!
4.Don’t shop when you are tired, hungry, lonely, bored or upset.
This is not an exhaustive list of the emotional states that lead some people to over shop and end up buying things they don’t want or need. But they are some of the most common emotional triggers that prompt people to shop unconsciously and therefore not smartly. If you are feeling any of those emotions – you are tired, hungry, lonely, bored, and upset – don’t go shopping. Do something else until you feel on more of an emotional even keel.
5.Try It On.
Obviously you’ve heard it before. But it’s true! You really don’t know how something is going to look on you until you try it on…for better or worse. Sometimes a piece is stunning on the hanger but just doesn’t look right on your frame and sometimes it’s the other way around. It’s also important to try on a variety of silhouettes (midi skirts, boxy tees, crop tops, shift dresses, etc.), so you have an idea of which styles tend to work best for your body. This’ll help when you’re shopping online, too.
6.Remember that the sales person is there to sell to you.
No matter how friendly or pleasant a sales person is, here is the fact you cannot avoid: they’re in it for the sale. Yes, they may care that you walk out only with items that suit you and that you will use. But they want you to walk out with something. That’s what they are there for – to sell you something, or to maintain a relationship with you whereby you keep coming back. That’s their business. Sales people, no matter how charming and helpful they are, aren’t there to be our friends. They may engage in friendly behaviors, but their purpose is singular: to sell us something. Today. Be mindful of this so that you only buy items you need and will use – not because an effective sales person talked (or quilted) you into it.
7.Pick the best time for you.
Shopping can be a fatiguing and stressful activity if you don’t shop at a time that works well for you. Shopping when the malls and stores are most busy (such as late night shopping and Saturday mornings) can lead to shopping fatigue where you end up fractious and irritable – not a state in which smart shopping usually takes place. Remember that our physical environment affects us and overcrowded, jostling environments like congested shopping centers rarely bring out the best in anybody. So, pick a time to shop when you are going to be at your most alert and positive. And make sure that you take regular breaks or shop for shorter periods to avoid becoming fatigued.
8.Dress for shopping success.
Trust me, if there’s anyone who’d much rather shop in her sweats with no makeup on, it’s me. But it’s just not a good idea. Think about it this way: If you’re trying on a pretty date-worthy dress over a sports bra with a nest of unwashed hair on your head and a shiny T-zone, you’re sort of setting yourself up for failure. That’s when you get yourself into “nothing looks good on me” territory, which we all know is never fun. This is not to say you should pile on layers of makeup or deck yourself out in a body on dress and platform heels for your trip to the mall—your daily beauty routine and a chic, easy-on, easy-off outfit (a T-shirt dress and Nikes) will do just fine.
9.Consider what you have in your closet that you can wear with the item before you buy it.
If it only goes with one or two other things, is it really worth getting? Likewise, does it ONLY work during one or two seasons? The best items in our closets are the ones that we can wear in different ways depending on the season. For example, a dress that works bare-legged with wedges in spring/summer, or with a turtleneck underneath and boots in fall/winter.
10. Don’t buy just because it’s on sale.
Sale really is a four-letter word! Accompanied by the word shoe, it is possibly responsible for more impulse shopping than almost any other word! Remember that a bargain is not a bargain if it’s not you, doesn’t fit correctly, you don’t love it, or it doesn’t fill a legitimate gap you have and is therefore a real need. Spending money on a $20 shirt or shoes or anything else that you never wear (or wear only once) or use is a waste of that $20. We justify it by saying “oh it’s on sale, it’s only $20” but those $20 add up. You wouldn’t throw $20 out the window, so don’t throw your hard earned cash out the window on items that appear to be a ‘bargain’ due to their discounted sale price. Only buy items on sale when it’s something that is on your list and is within your budget.
Before shopping for new clothes, make a maximum budget and a list of everything you need. Choose items you love that fit well with clothes you already own, but check the care label and price tag before committing. Look at yourself from every angle so you can spot any stains or tears in the clothing. Focus on how the clothes fit as well as when, where, and what you plan on wearing them with.