I often make purchases I didn’t intend on and I am the QUEEN of impulse buys, I really do try (emphasis on TRY) to budget my spending money wisely. With that being said, I have created a fool proof (that’s a lie) 3 step process to help me make better spending choices when I go shopping…
To give you a back story as to why I am the queen of impulse buys… one of my best friends (who I roomed with sophomore year) still laughs at the time I came home from the grocery store with multiple bottles of mustard. She asked me why I purchased them (bc we didn’t need it for anything) my response was simply that they were on sale for 39 cents????
Another inside joke is that my friends ask if they can go shopping in the trunk of my car because it is filled with clothes that I purchased and never returned. Working in customer service for 5 years has really made me a rule follower of return policies. So, if I am past the 30 days, I don’t feel it’s right for me to ask them to make an exception just because I was too lazy and procrastinated on returning the item.
I would be lying to you if I didn’t say that this polka-dot shirt wasn’t an impulse buy. Well, one weekend (our first year out of college when I was working at the Marriott) I picked up my friend in Atlanta to head to Oxford, MS for a football game… but before hitting the road, I wanted to stop by Macy’s to see what all they had on sale. I mean hey, I was a WORKING WOMAN who had cash to SPEND! 3 hours and $500 dollars later, I was defeated. What makes it worse is that this polka-dot top was the only shirt out of the bunch that doesn’t still have the tags on…
Now that you’ve heard a little bit about my purchasing track record, there’s a reason why I implemented the 3 step purchase process. The process contains these three questions I always ask myself before leaving the fitting rooms.
1. Do I love it? (aka trying to make sure it’s not my ADD reacting + causing me to make an impulse buy)
As discussed, I have been really bad purchasing items that either never get worn or get thrown in the back of my car to be returned though never actually get returned. I cannot afford to keep letting that happen and also, I just don’t have enough trunk space!
2. Is it transitional ? and if so, what items do I already have to pair it with?
It is important to me that if I’m going to spend money on something, I will be able to wear it several different ways. When I try on something, I think about what I already own that can will work with it. Often, I buy a skirt that I love but never end up wearing it because I don’t have anything to wear it with.
3. Will my budget allow for it? (save vs splurge)
I really only splurge on staples like denim, coats, and leather. I feel like those items are my pieces that will last me for years and really help build the “foundation” of my wardrobe. Now, I love a good jacket find at TJ Maxx or fun distressed denim at Zara, but I’m a sucker for J.Crew dress coats and Paige Jeans. If what I am buying is trendy and I don’t think I will be able to carry over to the next season, I typically cut my cost and either go to F21/h&m or wait until it is on sale. Now of course, there are those times when your friends are encouraging you to pull the plug and you just have to splurge, and I think that’s okay—every once in a while!!
While I can’t say I don’t still buy random things, this process has really helped me weed out some poor purchase decisions. If you have any tips and tricks to staying on track, please share!