Hitting the sales this weekend? Here are some things to remember before you go…
Sale shopping isn’t obligatory
Even here in the UK, Black Friday/Cyber Monday has become such a Thing now it sometimes feels like people join in, not because there’s something they want to buy, but simply for the sake of joining in, or because they’ve become swept up in everyone else’s excitement. Remember that sales shopping is a means to end, not an end in itself: you’re not obliged to take part, and if there’s really nothing you want or need to buy then you’re really not going to be missing out on anything by staying at home.
It isn’t a bargain if you’re not going to use it
Don’t buy things just because they’re cheap. No matter how deep the discount, if it’s just going to hang in your closet for years before being sent off to the charity store, it didn’t save you any money: in fact, it cost way more than it was worth.
If you have to buy something else in order to use it, think again
Ask yourself if you could build an outfit around that incredible sale item right now, using items you already own. If the answer is no, and you’d need to purchase something else in order to be able to wear it, it might not be quite the bargain you think it is.
Make a list, save some money
I love a good list, and they’re especially handy at sale time, because they help you focus on what you actually need, and stop you buying things on impulse.
Shop your closet before you go
If you’re anything like me, the phrase “shop your closet” probably makes you cringe a little. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to do a “wardrobe audit” before a big shopping trip: that way you’ll know exactly what you have, and avoid coming home with ANOTHER plain black sweater, to join the 32 you already own.
Dress for comfort, not style
Sale shopping is one of those times when you need to put comfort first. Choose clothes you can get in and out of easily (i.e. no tricky zippers, and nothing with dozens of fiddly buckles), shoes you can walk for miles in (Because you WILL be walking for miles, as well as standing in long queues), and light layers that won’t make you over-heat in the sub-tropical temperatures most stores tend to favour.
But wear something that flatters you
If you can combine function with flattery, do it: maybe it’s just me, but I know that if I catch sight of myself in one of the many mirrors at the mall, and I don’t like what I see, I’ll be much more likely to buy things I don’t need, having convinced myself I need a whole new wardrobe.
Take an honest friend, or a camera phone
If you lack confidence in your ability to resist what seems to be a bargain, take a friend you can trust to be honest when you ask, “Can I wear this?” or, failing that, a camera phone: sometimes the camera picks up details the eye fails to see, and a mirror selfie is better than nothing in times of need.
Consider shopping online instead
A lot of people fear online shopping, worrying that the items won’t fit, or will look different from the photos. It’s true that there are drawbacks to shopping online, but there are major benefits, too, especially at sale time, when you can take advantage of online coupon codes, and sift through everything available in your size, all from the comfort of your own sofa.
Get cashback on your purchases
I only recently started using cashback sites (which, as the name suggests, give you cash back on online – and sometimes offline – purchases), but now that I have, I’m wondering what took me so long. I mean, if you’re going to shop, you may as well get something back, no? I use Quidco, which is the only site I have an experience with, but a quick Google search will turn up many more you can try.
Keep the receipts
Not all stores accept returns on sale items, but some do, so hang onto those receipts, just in case you DO end up with a bad case of buyer’s remorse!