I feel like I've been doing a lot of shopping this past month or so, but in doing so, I've realized how my shopping habits have changed a lot in the past few years. I thought I'd share some tips on how I've become a more savvy shopper.
Stick to a budget.
Stick to a budget.
Then: I would buy whatever I sort of liked if it was cheap and as long as there was money in the bank.
Now: I (try) to stick to a budget and focus my shopping efforts on things I actually really like and that fit well.
Setting a budget should be a no brainer, but you should actually have an actual budget and not just a "whatever is in the bank" budget. Having a set budget helps me focus on what I actually want to spend my money on. It's also good to have some rules with your budget. For example, I decided that my extra income from my part-time job doesn't add to my shopping budget, but if I sell items at resale shop I will count that towards my extra shopping money.
Figure out what an item is worth to you.
Then: I'd go for whatever was cheap and not so much focus on fit or quality.
Now: I determine which items are worth a little extra splurge and which ones aren't.
Best case scenario, you find an awesome fitting, good quality item for a fabulous price... Right!?! In a perfect world, that's the way things would go. A while back I decided I wanted to get another denim jacket since I wear my other one so much. It's an item that I knew would get a lot of wear, so I decided to take the time to look for the right wash, fit, and price. In the end, I ended up with one that I really love. I love purses and for a long time was buying on average 1 new purse a month. Sure, they were only $30 or so each, but I wasn't getting anything of good quality and was getting tired of them really fast. I've found, though, that I'm more content spending $150 or $200 on a nice more classic purse once a year.
Try not to give into impulse buys.
Then: I used to buy things just because they were cheap.
Now: I do my research before buying items... I look up outfit ideas, compare prices, and look for coupons before making most purchases.
One thing I've learned about from shopping often is sale patterns. I think in a lot of ways this has helped me be a better and more careful shopper. There are certain stores that I will not pay full-price at because I know there's almost always a promo or coupon that will be going on. With other stores, I know that if I really want something, I may need to snatch it up sooner than later because it may disappear quickly. If you do give into an impulse buy, check the return policy... There are times I do buy something on impulse because it's a good find, but I want to try it with items I already have before I decide to keep it. If something is a FINAL SALE item, you'd better be committed!