Friday, April 3, 2009

Shopping Tip #1: Shopping Smart in this Economy

I love shopping! In bad economic times like this, it is sometimes a dilemma for people like myself to decide if it would be wise to spend more or spend less. With so many sales everywhere and luxury items with incredible mark-downs like 70% or 80% off retail, it seems hard to resist those bargains. In good times, you would very seldom see top designer brands on sale not to mention more than 50% off its retail. Now, deals are everywhere only to be found by lucky shoppers (and I don't mean only Lucky Magazine shoppers). Thoughts like "If I buy this bag which used to retail at $2200 for $995, I would be saving over a thousand dollars!" or "This cute fuchsia pink coat on sale for 50% off is such a bargain and can really dress up my spring outfits!" run through my mind every time I walk into a store or when I shop online.

My 1st rule of thumb is "
Shopping more doesn't mean buying more." To me, it is all about self control until you find a great deal. My favorite shopping places are discount retail stores, sample sales and outlet malls. Loehmann's, Off Saks and Last Call are amongst my favorite stores, and I got my first couture gown and suit there for a fraction of the price. For those of you who are used to shopping at upscale department stores, and now have to cut down on spending (by choice or not by choice), always keep an eye on the sales because there might be a chance that item will eventually go on sale or you might find something similar on sale. Of course, sales typically don't apply to Chanel and Louis Vuitton, so for those items, I call them investment pieces. For me, I always give up something when I make a single item purchase of over $300 - sometimes it's drinks and dinners with friends for several weekends, most frequently it is giving up another item I had in mind which was obviously less important than this one.

My 2nd rule of thumb is "Always read fashion magazines and blogs." You may not be able to afford what you see in the pages of high end fashion magazines right now, but it will help you to stay on top of the latest trends. If you have to buy something every season, then pick a few (at most 3) key items and match them with what you already have. I might buy an investment piece or two from each season, then I will pull pieces from my current wardrobe or find similar looks for less and mix and match them.

My 3rd rule of thumb is "
Never buy anything on impulse or just because it was a good bargain." Personally, I have made that mistake too many times and I end up with a pile of clothes, shoes and accessories that still have price tags on them. As a Recessionita I always ask myself, "Do I really need this?" And if my answer is "Yes", then I will make myself get rid of one item in my wardrobe before I introduce this new member to my closet.

Perhaps I am making a generalization here; but it is solely based upon my own personal opinion. Whether you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth, or have a good-paying job, or don't have a good-paying job, or married into money, I can safely say that most females love shopping. To me, there are 3 distinct types of shoppers: the ones who shop all the time and shop compulsively, the ones who do not shop at all and only does when they need something, and then the ones who shop all the time but mostly window-shop for the best deals before buying. I happen to be the 3rd type of shopper. Irregardless of which category you fall into and what your budget is, there is always a better way to shop to maximize your is all about shopping smart and then maximizing your investment pieces to look a million bucks!