“You know that thing when you see someone cute and he smiles and your heart kind of goes like warm butter sliding down hot toast? Well that’s what it’s like when I see a store. Only it’s better.”
In true flashback Friday fashion, I’m watching Confessions of a Shopaholic tonight. Confessions of a Shopaholic is the story of Rebecca Bloomwood, a young – well, shopaholic – who unintentionally lands a column writing for a financial magazine ….
“Well, these cashmere gloves I need as it is winter, and I have… Hands.”
I can definitely relate to Becks in this movie – in fact I’m pretty sure I used that same rationale to buy a fancy scarf a few years ago… Being a finance professional doesn’t mean I haven’t felt the rush of shopping a sample sales, splurging on those perfect heels, coveting that new designer bag! But for most of us, resources (translation: $cash money$) aren’t unlimited. That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy shopping – I just have to make the most of what I can reasonably afford! Here are the top 7 things I do to keep my shopaholic tendencies in control while enjoying shopping!
1) Clean out your closet.
Seriously! I know this sounds counterintuitive, this post is about shopping… but hear (rather, read) me out: Know what you have, what fits, what silhouettes look good and which ones don’t. It will keep you from buying a duplicate of something you already own and stop you from buying that cute peplum top that never looked good on you. Whenever I do a load of laundry, I always put those clothes on a different color hanger or put them facing a certain direction. Every 3-6 months, I can look at the colors of the clothes hangers and their positions and know exactly which pieces I haven’t worn in a while. I prefer to donate or sell the clothes I won’t wear. There are great sites like Poshmark where you can easily sell what you don’t want and earn some great cash money to go shopping!
2) Ditch the plastic.
Credit cards dull the financial burn of having to fork over $500 for that pair of Jimmy Choos you just had to have. It’s so much easier to splurge when you don’t have to part with the money for another month! Keep the plastic at home (or in a block of ice) and pay with the old fashioned dollar bills. Now I know what you’re thinking, “but what about the cash back”? Paying with cash allows you to set a hard budget for yourself, when the bills are gone, you’re done. In the long run, having to think twice about buying the $120 green scarf at Bendel’s will save you a lot more than the 1% cash back on that Amex will ever get you.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a proponent of responsible credit card use. Smart planning can save you a lot of money as long as you’re well aware of the caveats. Remember, holding an easily avoidable credit card balance is a giant and extremely expensive mistake! Interest on credit card debt can be anywhere from 18-25%! But that’s a soapbox post for another day. If impulse control is your end game, ditch the plastic, your bank account will thank you.
3) TRACK, TRACK, TRACK.
It’s so easy to forget about that spending spree you went on at the beginning of the month when Nordstrom is having their anniversary sale… Use apps like Mint, Learnvest, or these personal finance apps to keep track of your spending and avoid the ridiculous credit card bills later.
4) Keep an eye out for sales and discounts.
You can find your coveted items on ShopStyle, favorite them and get notifications when your favorites go on sale. A good way to save a little cash money and make sure you want the item before you splurge! I’ve had my eye on these Stuart Weitzman Highland Suede Over-The-Knee Boots for the longest time and I’m waiting for the alert… any day now….
5) Choose your friends wisely…
The ones you take shopping, I mean! You know that friend, that one you go out with and end up splurging together? Those friends are totally enablers – I know, because I am one.. oops! To keep the shopping spree at a moderate level, avoid shopping with friends who also have similar tendencies. Instead, take that friend who will give you a reality check. The one who tells you that those booties are definitely not your color and that dropping $800 on a pair of shoes you’ll wear once is the dumbest idea they’ve heard recently. That friend is the one who will curb your enthusiasm, not enable it!
6) Always try it on.
My friend Kristen always tells me that if I question it in the store, I’ll hate it at home. Clothes off the rack are made for only a handful of people. For the rest of us mortals, the only way to know if it looks good and fits well is to try it on. Whenever I go shopping, I like to take armfuls of clothes to try on. There’s something about seeing the piece under those fluorescent dressing room lights that helps narrow down the decisions for me!
7) Look for items you can transition.
Lately this has been my mantra: If I can’t think of two separate instances where I would wear a piece (ex. to work one day and out to brunch with friends another week), it stays on the shelf. I just don’t have space or the resources to have items I’d only wear once!
Have any other tips you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!