5 simple rules for shopping

March 10, 2013 § 10 Comments

My mom tells me I have shopped for myself since I was five years old. She was at a department store searching through the clearance bins and I walked away from her for a minute. I got back with a little purple dress in my hands (not on sale, according to mom). She says it was the cutest little thing and even though she was upset at me for walking away from her, she just had to buy it. I started picking out my own clothes from then on. Above is a my version of how I remember the dress. I know there’s a picture of it somewhere, I just couldn’t find it.

I tell you this story to show you how qualified I am to share with you my shopping process (haha):
1. Clean out your closet ( and shop it while you’re at it!)

Every new season I do a big closet cleanup. I live a very transient life, and I was raised by the very opposite of a non-hoarder. I just don’t like to accumulate stuff. Unless it is a classic piece, if it hasn’t been worn in over a year, it goes in the discard pile. My discard pile usually goes to my sisters first and then whatever they don’t want, I give it away. High quality pieces I want to one day leave for my future daughter or granddaughters, go in a cedar chest.

This is also the time to take inventory of what you have. Which leads us to point number two.


2. Keep an ongoing list:

After you clean out your closet, take inventory of what needs to be replaced. This is when you make sure your staples are in good condition, etc. White t-shirts are usually something I replace often because I can’t seem to get rid of pit stains (gross, I know).

You can also add your “wants” for the season. A few examples on my list now:

– a leather backpack ( this is a want, not a must)

– running shoes ( a must)

– hight tops ( a wish)

– a Spring dress for Easter (a need -ish)

I say this is an ‘ongoing’ list because I think you should always be on the lookout for those key pieces you are in need. I keep it on my phone.

3. “Shop” often:

I don’t believe in one big shopping trip before each season. Those often overwhelm me, and make me feel like I am missing out on big sale or great mark downs. Or even my size on a hot-item piece. So I shop or rather, browse often. Even if it’s online. This way I always feel like I’ve done “my research” before I commit to buying something.

4. Define need versus want:

When writing out my list, I talked about writing down my needs and wants. I have been known to convince myself that I really needed something when it was just a very strong want. In order to avoid buying things I don’t need, I put the item back on the rack and walk away for a couple of hours. If I’m shopping online, I leave a piece in my cart for days. If after a couple of days I’m still convinced I love it and it’s on my budget, I go back and buy it.

5. Calculate the Cost Per Wear equation:

Another way to help you define your needs and wants and keep your shopping under control, is to calculate your cost per wear. Here‘s a good explanation on it. I define my investment pieces (shoes, bags, suitcases, jeans and winter coats) and try to buy the best quality I can afford. I high quality pair of jeans can last me five years and I know it fits my body well. I hate buying something just because it’s cheap and end up spending more money trying to replace it. If it’s something I wear often, I go for the best quality I can get  and try to get as much of my CPM (cost per wear) as possible. A few example of  my best cost per wear finds: my raincoat, my Lucky jeans, my brown boots.

When it comes to new trends, I’ve told you guys before, it takes me a while to commit. For example, I’ve wanted to try pink lipstick. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it so I bought the most inexpensive one I could find at Wal-Mart. I usually seek out Target, Old Navy and thrift stores for new things I want to try. Once I am ready to commit, I may invest in a nicer quality piece later. And sometimes you just get lucky at the thrift store and find something high quality on the cheap.  😉 When I’m in Turkey, where they don’t have thrift stores, I shop at Mango and Kotton for trendy inexpensive finds and my local open air bazar. There’s always something great to be found at the bazar!


Phew, this post got longer than I anticipated. So now it’s your turn, what is your favorite shopping tip? Does my shopping system look anything like yours?


linking up with Molly and Carly

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