I love a good bargain. I can spot clearance signs a mile away! Even my wedding dress was $99, marked down from $549!
However, I have had a tendency to buy things marked down because they are cheap, even if they don't fit, or I don't have an immediate need for it. It is cheap, therefore I will buy it because that might come in handy one day. Fellow hoarders, I'll let you in on a secret: it rarely actually comes in handy!
Here are a few rules I try to follow, to keep my bargain hunting in check:
1. Try It On! Do not buy an item of clothing if I haven't tried it on to make sure it fits properly. I seem to have size 10 shoulders, 12 bust, 14 waist and 16 hips. Even if it is only $2.87 on a clearance rack at Target, I still need to make sure it fits my bust without gaping around my shoulders, or my hips without gaping at my waist. I have bought far too many things that haven't fit well, and ended up getting rid of them because I don't like wearing them.
2. Be realistic about repairs and alterations. Sewing a button back on is easy, and worth getting the marked down item for. Replacing a zip isn't. I have methods for taking in waists, but only as a last resort. Adjusting sizes is easy on some things, but not others. I found a skirt once for $6 that was two or three sizes too big, but was a simple a-line that I took home and ran a new seam up the side and then got a tonne of wear from it. I also have a cute dress in my box of unfinished sewing projects that, well, it proved a little too hard to make the skirt part bigger.
3. Only buy it if I actually want it, not because it is dirt cheap. I have bought marked down stuff at the supermarket a gazillion times because it's cheap but then don't find a use for it, or no-one really likes it anyway.
4. Only buy it if I need it. It's better to get the marked down option rather than the full priced one if I was buying it anyway, but not just because it is marked down. Kitchen gadgets, sewing notions, gardening supplies, clothes, books: I'm guilty of buying all these things because they are cheap, even though I don't need them. And, surprise surprise, most have been left unused or only used a few times before realising they were a waste of money.
5. Only look at sales racks, especially clothing, if I'm looking for something in particular, and be satisfied to pay full price if I can't find something on the sales rack. I have settled for second best too many times because I haven't wanted to pay full price. Second best ends up as clutter.
I once heard a saying: a bargain is an item that you don't really need but is too cheap to leave behind. I'm practising leaving it behind because spending money on things I don't need is just wasteful. no matter how much it has been reduced by,