Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Shopping Rules

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,


  1. This is great advice Susan. I have to confess that I have been guilty of all of the above in my previous life and still have to be careful with no.5 at times. Thank you for reminding me that it is more economical to pay full price for only the things you need than to buy lots of crap you don't just because it is on sale.
    Life is sweet though when the thing you need is on sale or will go on sale if you are prepared to wait.

  2. Love this post. You have brought to the front many important ideas and thoughts I should constantly remind myself about !


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