The Shopping Low Down
I’ve never felt the need to justify my purchases even though I certainly clock people questioning how I purchased a bag or picked apart my outfits on Instagram. I’m a savvy shopper; I always have been and always will be. It’s a rarity that I will pay full price on anything if I can help it. These are my tips for buying the things that you want without breaking the bank.
At the beginning of each season I will make a list of my must-haves. Occasionally I will add in a few extra bits and pieces that I’ve overlooked but I mostly work my way through my list and purchase what I can, when I can. I also have a list of timeless classics, the big-ticket items that seem out of reach or are astronomically expensive that the only way it would seem to snap them up would be to win a Euromillions Rollover (yes, I mean you Saint Laurent tuxedo). This is also when you need to budget yourself. Figure out what you’re comfortable spending on clothes, ask yourself if you need the just-arrived Chloe sandals in the midst of January if you’re not going on holiday until July (if the answer is ‘it can wait’ try holding off this purchase until the sales).
After I’ve made my list I will then check out various online stores that stock the pieces that I’m after (I hate shopping in stores, online is my poison of choice). There can often be fairly significant price variations so I’ll find the most economical option and start there. Most online retailers offer sporadic discounts in the form of coupon codes (these can also be for signing up for a newsletter, making your first purchase etc). These are often 10%-20% off at a time. My motto is that every little bit counts so even if you’re saving $20, that’s still $20 that can go towards a grocery shop, a round of coffees at Starbucks or even a manicure.
When I shop online I always try to go through Ebates, you can get a small percentage cash back from your online shopping which is tallied up and sent to you via a check or Paypal every few months (again – every little bit counts).
As I mentioned previously I also figure out what can wait until the sales hit – I’m not ashamed of making lists and hunting around sales to find the pieces that I really want for a price that I’m a lot more comfortable with. It’s also worth mentioning that I will continue to look for pieces that I missed from seasons past on Vestiare Collective or eBay (I don’t particularly like following trends, if I like something then I like it, it doesn’t matter where it’s from or when it was made).
I’m trying to do what I can to avoid fast-fashion. I get complaints that I don’t wear a huge amount of high-street fashion however I would rather skip three big ASOS shops and buy the dress that I really want and not cram up my wardrobe with someone that hasn’t earned its place. Not also forgetting the huge environmental impact that these fast-fashion chains have on the earth.
When I’m looking to make a big purchase I like to use what I have to pay for it as much as I can. I will regularly send off boxes of clothes to sites such as The Real Real of Vestiare Collective to generate money from the forgotten Dolce & Gabbana leopard dress that has been gathering dust in my wardrobe. I don’t believe in hoarding and like to pilfer through what I’ve got in order to make room (and money) for the things that are filling up my Net-a-Porter Wishlist. Ebay is a great option for those of us with time and the patience of the saint (sadly that ship has sailed for me) but there are also resale stores which can often pay you upfront (Designer Exchange is a great place to send pre-loved bags).
It’s also worth pointing out that I have an affinity of vintage clothes. Denim and leather jackets, t-shirts, evening bags, summer dresses and even cocktail dresses can be bought for a fraction of the price. This is an environmentally friendly option but also saves you the embarrassment of wearing a dress that every rat in town has worn before you. The small vintage clutch bags I have are a fraction of the cost of any designer evening bag I own – they also seem to get a lot more attention than they drastically more expensive competition.
It’s not easy to save money. I certainly know that when I get a check from The Real Real it’s easy to blow it on a giant Zara online order or buying an entire new gym wardrobe but I have to keep reining myself in and make sure that I remind myself that I’m better off buying that bag I’ve been drooling over for months. My mother always said to me that it’s important that anything in your wardrobe should earn its place there so I make sure that consider her wise words anytime that I’m shopping (or doing an online binge order).
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