Shopping Smart & Not Settling For Less

Happy Monday everyone! Today I have a special guest on the blog. Janelle and I met online because I was an avid reader of her blog. She was looking for this lace top from Forever 21 that was sold out, and I actually still had it, with the tags still on, and I never wore it! I offered it to her and she bought it from me, and the rest is history! She actually inspired me to start blogging about personal finance because I was so intrigued with the way she was able to save money and buy a condo all on her own. We've become great friends and I'm sure you'll enjoy her blog!

Onto the post!


Hi From Shopping to Saving readers! This is Janelle from the blog elleandish.  I blog about shopping, decor, DIY, travel and trying to pay for it all.  

Shopping Smart & Not Settling For Less

I distinctly remember a time when I was shopping with my mom at Target.  I think I was about 10 years old.  Even at a young age I’d routinely peruse the girls’ section, flipping through the racks, knowing that I couldn’t buy much without my mother’s permission.  

That day, though, I was looking at a bright green, knit sweater.  It had a mock turtleneck, wide ribs, and a zipper down the middle.  I think it had two thick horizontal stripes near the collarbone too:  white and black.  My mom saw me touching it and asked if I wanted to get it.  

“Okay,” I replied.  But I knew in my mind it wasn’t the greatest sweater.  I wasn’t that excited about it.  In the end, I don’t think I ever wore it.  Not once.  It sat in a drawer in my room until I grew too big to fit it.

I was too caught up in the moment.  I was holding the sweater in my hands and I wanted to have IT.  Something!  Even though it was just “okay.”

That was one of my first memories of shoppers remorse.  But it wasn’t my last.

Since then I have made the following shopping mistakes:  

  • Shopping too often when I’m bored and buying more than I actually need or wear
  • My closet has some items with the tags still on
  • Wearing many items only once or never
  • A continuous cycle of binging, then purging new items with tags or items that are damaged due to poor quality

Nowadays, I’m trying to make smarter shopping decisions.  Shopping smartly requires self awareness.  When you shop, don’t focus on the item and how *pretty/cute/sparkly/gorgeous* it is.... instead concentrate on YOU.  

Focus on your life, your lifestyle, your finances, and your aspirations for the future. 

Quality:  Is it up to YOUR level?  Does it make you feel amazing?  Don’t settle for less!

Let’s talk about “fast fashion.”  
Is the quality worth your hard earned money, even if it’s cheap?  YOU are #1 here.  A lot of people shop to feel better about themselves.  No.  You are already amazing!  What you buy needs to be up to YOUR LEVEL.  It sounds cheesy, but thinking of it this way helps me a lot.

Be picky! Look at items with a keen eye.  Is there something that bugs you about it?  Is it unflattering on you?  If so, put it down.  (I tell myself, if it bugs me now, I will probably hate it once the “newness” fades away.)  Something else will come along that will outshine it and you will forget all about this one!  

Look for quality.  Will it pill in the wash?  Do you already see damage on the item hanging on the hanger?  For me personally, I check to see if the damage is easily fixable.  If not, it’s probably not worth the trouble to maintain.

Peruse the aisles.  Fast fashion constantly changes inventory but in general the trends for that season can last for months.  Take in the trends, the different cuts and styles for that season.  Shopping doesn’t always have to be about the act of acquiring.  Think of it as an experience to increase your sartorial knowledge; it can be a time to reflect on your shopping priorities and to make better choices for yourself.    

Window shop different stores, compare and see what new additions can be right for your wardrobe.  Mull it over instead of buying on impulse.  Different stores are competing for your dollar and you deserve the absolute best of what they have to offer.    

Now what about luxury, name brand or designer items?

Most times, name brands or designer brands will have higher quality to match.  So it’s easy to say, “Hey its worth it. I’m worth it!”  The quality will be there, sure.  But the higher cost will require more thinking on your part to determine if it’s worth it for you to buy.  Are you still going to be excited about this item, months or even years from now?  

Let’s say the brand name excites you!  Aside from the perceived high quality, the name brand is why consumers purchase these items at such a high cost.  If you put it on, do you want to jump for joy?  Or is it just, “okay?”  Even if the brand is highly coveted, you shouldn’t settle for just “okay” at such a high cost!  Again, be picky and don’t settle for less!

Dreaming should be encouraged!  There’s no harm window shopping designer clothes or accessories.  Doing so can reaffirm your closet priorities and daydreaming about a high quality item makes fast fashion a bit less palatable.  

Now on to the more practical stuff.

Your lifestyle:  Will you wear/use it?

Know yourself.  Know what you will probably wear or not wear. Does it fit your lifestyle?  If you work, does it fit your dress code at your job?  Does it fill a void in your wardrobe, or do you have a very similar item already?

Take a look at your closet.  Do you continuously buy the same kind of things but never wear them?  Are you buying into a lifestyle that doesn’t match your own?  Be honest with yourself.

Think of your wardrobe in terms of a well balanced meal.  Do you regularly wear the ‘meat and potatoes’ staples 80% of the time and the ‘desserts’ only 20% of the time?  Or even less than that?  Keep this in mind when buying a wardrobe full of your ‘just desserts.’  

Does it align with your current finances and financial goals?

If a clearance price or item availability pressures you to buy, ask yourself, “Am I even going to remember this item next week?  Or next month?  Is it going to kill me to think about it for a day or two?”  If you still want to buy the item, check the return policy and then keep the receipt.  After the initial high wears off, decide if the spent money was worth it.    

Will this purchase set you back financially?  If so, will it hinder your other dreams goals for the future?  Owning a home?  Providing for your future family?  Traveling the world?

Shopping initially feels exhilarating and fulfilling.   It can enhance your wardrobe and boost your esteem.   But experiences, memories and peace of mind can last much longer.   If you shop just to accumulate, in the end you’re valuing material things instead of putting yourself first.  It does sound a bit backwards, but that’s how I like to think of it.      

Hopefully this post has made you reflect upon your shopping habits a little bit.  Do you have any tips to share?  


Editor's Note: I LOVED THIS POST. I think I need to print it out and carry it with me wherever I shop or have the urge to shop. J - thanks so much for guest posting for me, you are so awesome!


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