Wednesday, January 6, 2016

To buy or not to buy?: How to Be a Better Shopper


Questions to ask yourself before you buy something

With a new year upon us, many are making resolutions. While I didn't make any formal resolutions, I could always make do with less stuff

When buying something for my closet, I use a very calculated criteria that I have put in place over the years to ensure I make a 'good' purchase. Today I'm sharing my buying process as I am asked about this often! 

This list is mostly for clothing items. Usually fine jewelry, shoes, handbag, furniture/houseware (aka pricier items) purchases go through a more rigorous list. I ask myself:

Can I afford it? 
If not, I immediately nix it or add to my mile long wish list. 

Do I 'need' this or want it? 
Usually, if I need it, I won't hesitate. However, I let my wants sit for at least a week before I buy anything over $100. And of course, I use 'need' very loosely... I really don't 'need' anything ever. 

Will I want this next year?
If you think you'll get bored of something a year down the road, it's probably not a good purchase. Being able to enjoy something years after you buy it is a true sign of a 'great' purchase. 

Will I get 12 wears out of this in a year? 
12 wears breaks down to once a month and where I can justify adding it to my (limited space) closet. This excludes cocktail dresses, though, I only wear those about once or twice. 

Is this trendy? 
If so, then it's usually a no. But once in a while, I'll go out of my comfort zone. I don't like to spend 'a lot' on a trendy item because it will 'go out' eventually.

Does this go with my style?
Think about all of the items in your closet and then think about your most worn and your least worn. You're likely to notice a pattern in the two groups. For me, I reach for classic, comfortable, neutral pieces the most, while things that need constant dry cleaning, steaming, etc. usually get pushed to the back of my closet. Buying items that only fit in with your aesthetic will keep you from making poor purchases. 

Will I get rid of something I already own if I get ____?
I say no to this question a lot and still go ahead with the purchase, which I need to work on. For example, I have multiple pairs of black pumps. If I ever want another pair, I will make myself get rid of a pair in my closet... you hear it here first, folks. 

Can I get it cheaper somewhere else? 
This is one of the main reasons why I shop online. But even when I'm in a store, I Google the item to make sure I am paying the lowest price available. 

Is this a quality product?
When buying anything, I always look at the tag to survey what it is made from. There are fibers I prefer over other fibers; I don't like to buy fake/synthetic things (like fake leather shoes or bags), etc. It's really easy for me to decide whether or not the quality is up to my standards. The trick here is to not let the price fool you. There are some pretty expensive poorly made things out there! A nice sweater should last you five to 10 years (even 20+ years)! A really nice pair of shoes should last several years-- bonus points if they're well made enough to just get re-soled when they become worn out. 

So there you have it! Do you ask yourself similar questions before you make purchases? I'd love to know some of your 'best purchases'... feel free to share in the comments below! 

6 comments:

Elizabeth Rose Hisle said...

I follow most of these as well, but especially the natural fibers part. That has easily cut down on my closet A LOT over the years. In my opinion, most things are made poorly these days, so most of the clothes on my blog are thrifted or have been in my closet for years. Ain't no room for garbage in an apartment dweller's closet!

aroseisinbloom.blogspot.com

Olivia Luko said...

I love this article! I will say, that I am trying to be better at employing "buy and return". This is where I will buy an item I am really leaning toward, take it home, see if it goes with things in my closet, etc. If I end up not liking it, I can always return it. (I generally employ this rule at stores like Neimans and Nordstroms only). I have had too many times where I say "I'll come back another time" and a super good sale item is gone. At stores with great return policies and customer service, this is a trick I am trying to employ more.

Sammy Sohl said...

These tips are so helpful! I find myself going through a similar process when I shop, but its nice to see it all written out!

Best,
Samantha

Laura Cronin said...

Great tips! I would love a post about the different fabrics and materials that you prefer and key ones to avoid, sometimes it can get confusing!

Laura | Laura Aime Vous

Kathryn Byers said...

What great tips!

xx Kathryn
www.chicandshimmer.com

ayme nicole said...

I'm usually the same in terms of what my thought process is when purchasing something. Last year, my New Year's resolution was to not buy any shoes or bags over $100 unless it was a luxury item or unless I REALLY wanted it. Mostly because my goal was to own really nice luxury items and stop buying the $200-$300 range bags. And I kept my other purchases under $50 (this I didn't end up doing all that well haha). I think the year worked out pretty well. Instead of buying the $200-$300 bags, I saved that money and managed to buy my first real designer items (Chloe Drew, Mansur Gavriel and Alexander Wang). I made 2015 my year of "Shopping Smart" and I think 2016 is going to be the year of "Shopping Smart" for clothes. Budget budget budget!

Haha, thanks so much for sharing and it's so nice to see others with the same mindset and goals!

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