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Shopping intentionally is the best way to save money and get the items you need. What does “shopping intentionally” mean for me? Well…
1. Put Items on Hold and Come Back with a Clear Head
I’m a very indecisive person, especially if I’m not sure if I want to spend THAT much money on one pair of shoes. You may never have thought of this, but most stores allow customers to put items on hold without buying them. Go for a little walk to clear your head, shop around for a bit, and you might find a similar item for better value. Or, you might discover you don’t want the item, or are not willing to spend the asking price. If you do decide to get it, return to the store and purchase the item on hold. Ta-da!
2. Skip Cheap Stores and Go for Good Quality
This may seem counter-intuitive, but start buying more clothes from stores with a high standard of excellence. Clothing made with good quality fabrics and thread will last you longer. Although it costs more up-front, your item won’t be stretched, full of holes, and ready for the rubbish within the year. Skip the fast fashion stores with inexpensive but poorly-made pieces – you know which ones I’m talking about.
3. Take an Inventory of Your Wardrobe & Make a List of Items You Need
I approach libraries, supermarkets, and shopping centres in the same way: I get so overwhelmed and distracted that I forget what I came there for in the first place. Before even setting foot in House of Fraser, John Lewis, or M&S, you need to go through your closets, find out what you’re missing, and write a specific shopping list. Maybe you don’t have a button-up shirt to go with that pretty skirt you got a while back, or maybe you’re sorely lacking some stylish jumpers.
4. Browse Current Fashion Collections Online Before Visiting the Store
A great way to save and keep yourself excited for an upcoming shopping trip is to browse the brand’s online store before visiting them in person. Many of their fashions may be “online only,” but you will always find their signature collection and new arrivals. Check out the prices, pick out a few items you might be interested in trying on, and write the product number down so you can find the item in-store. If you don’t find anything you like online, you could save a lot of time by skipping that particular store.
5. Avoid Clothes that are Hand-Wash or Dry Clean Only
About half my clothes are delicate or hand wash only, and after years of making multiple trips to the laundry room, enough is enough. Beautiful and classy outfits don’t have to include a silk blouse or wool skirt. Check the tags of every garment before you buy it to find out the washing instructions. The highest maintenance you’ll want to go is machine wash and hang dry, so avoid everything with a “hand-wash” or “dry clean” symbol. I’ve ruined many a piece of clothing by accidentally putting it in the washer or dryer when I wasn’t supposed to. Save yourself the money and the trouble.
6. Don’t Be Afraid of Vintage
Sifting through multiple wracks of clothing can be time-consuming, but if you’re committed to saving money, vintage is the way to go. Charity shops and vintage stores can hold a surprising amount of hidden gems. Find a store in a good area of town, and you could find items donated by the rich-and-famous. Many of these clothes are never or barely worn, and they’re a fraction of the price you’d pay if you bought them brand new!