Shop Smart


No matter what our financial situations may be, we all love to shop — even if we can’t really afford it. You just have to have that jacket because it matches that gorgeous pair of pumps you’ve never worn. So you purchase the jacket, only to get back to your closet and hang it next to three other jackets that would’ve matched those pumps just fine. Then you take a look at the gorgeous pair of pumps: round toe, platform, standard 4-inch heel, the exact style of five others in your closet. Why do we do this?

Overspending may seem harmless, but many go into debt supporting a habit Newsweek dubbed “shopaholism,” a common shopping addiction that can stem from boredom, keeping up with the Joneses, and depression.
Sure, shopping is therapeutic, but it can become a hobby to fill the void and escape feelings or situations we don’t want to deal with (i.e., the guy who broke your heart, the bully at school, or the spouse who leaves you feeling unappreciated). The problem: spending when you can’t afford the price tag. Here are a couple of tips to avoid over-shopping; your credit score and central nervous system will thank you.

1. Leave your credit cards at home.

This can be tricky if you tend to need lots of emergency funds, but consider going totally or at least almost plastic free. Leave your ATM card at home, and only take out money at your bank branch to avoid additional fees.

2. Shop with cash.

When spending cash, you visually see yourself handing over a handful of 20s, so it allows you to know how much you really are spending. When using a debit or credit card, it’s too easy to become indifferent to the funds you are spending. When the money is green and in your hand, you know you are literally spending your hard-earned cash and it may make you think twice before you let go of it.

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  • Honey you could’ve done much better with this list!

    Goodwill/Salvation Army
    Flea Markets – bargain, bargain, bargain!

    It’s also good to learn how to sew;-)

  • omfg

    these tips assume people always shop at brick and mortar stores. i would say almost everything i wear on any given day, including undergarments, is bought online.

    i would also say have a plan. build a list of items you’d like in your wardrobe. so, you may know you want a pair of black open toes, heeled sandals, a colorful refined dress, a black evening blazer, etc. when you go out, take the list and only look at things that are on your list.

    focus on quality over quantity and purchase things on sale only. forever 21 and hm are set up to be so cheap you just buy and buy and consume and consume just to get into the habit of making purchases. get out of that habit. i prefer to have 1 nice dress than 15 cheap numbers. personally, i hate walking around in cheap-looking clothes.

    i’m almost at the point where i have my wardrobe basics, building blocks. then, maybe i’ll add something now and then. my goal is to only buy one or two things per season to add to my wardrobe. so, i’ll be able to focus on buying only what i love and saving up for it.

    • Cree

      What sites do you suggest??? I only think of actual stores I see in the mall when I try to think of where to shop online, lol. And when I try to google women’s clothing I come up with random sites…overstock, zappos….just not appealing at all.

    • Asos, Dorothy Perkins, Piperlime, Modcloth, and Bluefly are all great places. I also love Shopstyle, where you can search for items from tons of online retailers.

    • omfg

      i would also recommend gilt and rue la la. they have large markdowns of medium to higher end things. they do flash sales that last a few days. i bought a nice silk tucker blouse that retails at around $300 for i think $80 or so a couple of years ago. just make sure you look at their return terms.

      amazon also has a flash sales sight called my habit. they are selling marni, doo ri and a bunch of other stuff now too.

      outnet sells drastically marked down clothes from net a porter.com – valentino, tibi, marni, …tons of labels. so, you can’t spend $500 on a dress, but can drop $200, you’ll be in luck because you’ll find plenty of designer markdowns here. even some for under $100.

      i shop jcrew quite a bit too. i’m a jcrew slut for reals. they recently had 40% off the lowest sale price. it was final sale though. but i knew i’d fit these wool crepe pants. they retailed for around $120 and i got them for $40. if you go to jcrewaficionada dot blogspot dot com, you’ll see that they will list sales – it’s not an official jcrew blog though.

      i occasionally shop anthropologie but it’s not always my style.

      i just came across another store called warehouse dot andotherbrands dot com. looks nice, but can’t speak to the quality as i’ve not ordered from them.

      mango is another store i’ve been to but have yet to make a purchase from. in fact, refinery29 dot com has a feature on mango right now.

      i learned about warehouse from refinery29. if you’re looking for different brands go to sites like refinery29 or luckymag.

      marimekko dot com
      shopbop dot com
      revolveclothing dot com

      i think this should be enough…lol.

  • shadow

    I always buy off season and when buying online I look for coupon codes to help cut costs. Someplaces will take student i.d. and give discounts. NY & Company will give a 15% discount if you are a teacher, firefighter, military and I believe police officer is included. I teacher so I never go into this store without my i.d.

  • nadine

    Why can’t the entire article be placed on one page. It’s exhausting have to click thru the (sometimes)many many pages.