10 Essential Steps to Shop Smarter

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Let’s face it, the one thing we all must do is shop and buy clothes. Every single day we have to clothe ourselves and go out into the world. (Now that holds true unless you’re living on a nudist colony or something lol, but I digress!)

Most women I talk to dread shopping and feel so overwhelmed by all of the choices, trends, sizes and endless options. Even as a Stylist and fashion enthusiast I totally understand.

One of my main tools to conquer those dreaded feelings is to learn how to shop smarter. What if there were tips you could follow that would:

A. Help you make better decisions for your overall wardrobe
B. Help you stress less and eliminate impulse buying
C. Help you shop intenionally and keep more money in your pocket
D. Help you feel better about your purchases and in turn enjoy shopping

Well today is your lucky day because I have just the steps for you. Following these steps has helped me spend less money on clothing and still have a stylish wardrobe. Hopefully they’ll do the same for you!

Let’s get started.

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1. Make a list – Yes, just like you make a grocery list, make a shopping list. This will help you if shopping tends to be an overwhelming task for you, which for many, it is.

It will also prevent you from being distracted by things you don’t really need and purchasing things on impulse. Make a list and stick to it.

Once you have conquered doing so, you can then graduate to shopping without one.

2. Try it on – This is the only part of shopping I actually dread. As a stylist I rely heavily on my eye and knowing if something will fit right on me, but I too should be trying things on.

Trying on items will decrease your chances of not returning items and being stuck with things that don’t ultimately work out for you. You don’t want to waste precious closet space on items that you never got around to returning because it fit improperly.

Make trying on items fun by taking selfies and asking people you trust for their opinion!

3. Make friends with Sales Associates & Managers – Sales Associates and Managers can give you the scoop on when new shipments arrive, tell you about upcoming sales and they may even keep an eye out for an item you’re looking for.

If you shop at the same stores, befriend the employees and get to know them. In turn they will be happy to fill you in on what’s happening in the store.

4. Shop during off-peak hours – Use your lunch hour to do some browsing. Weekday afternoons are a great time to shop if you have the time. If you have a non-traditional work schedule use that to your advantage and shop when most people are busy working away.

I suggest avoiding Saturday afternoons at all costs! Recently I went to a Target on a Saturday evening, about 2 hours before closing and it was glorious. It was practically empty and there was no chaos whatsoever. I was able to browse at my own pace and even try on a few items without the hustle and bustle of a ton of people around.

Off-peak hours are your friend.

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5. Check-in before you checkout – By that I mean ask yourself if you really need what it is you are buying. A lot of times we buy emotionally because we’re tired and just want to get it over with quickly, so we grab whatever, or we’re trying to cheer ourselves up.

Ask yourself will the item(s) serve you and your wardrobe? If not, put it back. Checking in with yourself before checking out will help you tremendously.

6. Shop solo – I know, I know, you’re thinking “but Dee Dee I love shopping with my girls!” I get it and I promise I’m not a party pooper, but shopping alone allows you to focus on just you and what it is you really need. We love our girls (and guys) but sometimes they can egg us on to purchase things we don’t really want or need.

Eliminating that will allow you to really hone in on being a smarter shopper and applying some, if not all, of these smart shopping priniciples.

7. Set a budget – A budget helps you to not overspend on things. It will make sure you don’t buy more than you can afford.

Set your budget and like your shopping list–stick to it! Do it per item if you prefer. What amount won’t you go over for a pair of jeans, a jacket, boots, etc.

I have tried this and it really worked. It also made it a fun challenge for me to find what I was looking for and then make sure it was within my set budget. I was thrilled when I made it happen!

8. Pay with cash – My Mom used to tell me this all the time. It’s easy to get swept up in swiping your credit card or debit card. Using cash helps you to actually see what you have and what you’re spending.

You will either be sad that your money is dwindling and that will keep you in line or you will be happy to see how much you have leftover and how much you did not spend. Research shows that we spend 20-50% more when we shop with plastic, so cash is king!

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9. Set a time limit – Most of us shop as a leisure activity, something kind of regular and routine. But if you want to shop smarter this is not the way to go. Set a specific amount of time to complete your shopping in and once your time is up, that’s it!

Don’t allow yourself to wander around store to store aimlessly. Doing so could lead you to buy things you don’t need and wasting your funds.

Setting a time limit means you’ll spend not only your time wisely, but your money as well.

10. Don’t remove tags – Once you do buy something and take it home, don’t remove the tags just yet. Wait about 3 days to think your purchases over. Remove the tags once you’re sure you’re going to actually wear the item(s). This gives you just a little more time to be absolutely positive you’re happy with what you bought.

It also allows you the opportunity to return it and get your money back if maybe 2 or 3 weeks have passed and you still haven’t worn it.

There have been many a time where I brought my purchases home and for some reason I changed my mind and ended up returning it. Having the tags still attached saved me from not being able to return it and get my money back.

And there you have it. My 10 steps on how to shop smarter. What do you think? Was it helpful? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.Β 

Now that you’re equipped with this knowledge feel free to share it with anyone you think could use the help!

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