Tuesday, 2 June 2009

12 Cheap Tips for Impulse Shopping Trips

Impulse buying; we nearly all do it. The world wants us to do it; it is the very lifeblood of our economy; but snap decisions can lead to disaster when it comes to our dream style. However, as much as it may surprise you, I’m not totally against impulse shopping. Done in moderation, I believe it can actually be beneficial to your look.

Impulse causes us to take risks, push our boundaries and lose ourselves a little in fashion. If we constantly regulate and restrain ourselves, shopping and style stop being fun, our wardrobes can become stale, and we shut up a part of ourselves that is aching to be expressed. Who wants to play by the rules all the time?

But how do we stop ourselves going overboard, making mistakes, and blowing our budgets on impulse buys? If we accept that we are going to play the game of impulse shopping, how do we play smart?

1. Always read the label. You love that cardigan, but at 35% polyester it ain’t going to love you for long. Snap up the item with the highest percentage of quality material, like cotton, silk or wool.

2. Paint the picture. Mentally visualise the item with at least ten other things you own. If this is a struggle, then it’s just not worth it. You’ll only end up needing to spend more and more on other cheap items to get it to work for you.

3. Play the field. Just because all the items on the rack were churned out of the same factory and appear identical, it doesn’t mean they are. Scan each one for loose stitching, potential holes, and small marks or stains etc. then pick the best looking option.

4. Try it on. In my opinion, if you can’t be bothered to try it on, you don’t deserve it. Trust me; it’s a good mantra to go by. Getting something home that you won’t wear is foolish and detrimental to dream style. Always assume you won’t have the chance to return it.

Image thanks to D Sharon Pruitt

5. Consider your Aesthetic Affirmation. Does the item work with it? This is similar to point number two, but don’t assume one item is going to turn your style around single-handedly. It won’t. And unless you have the funds for a whole new wardrobe, chances are you won’t end up wearing it very much.

6. Make it worth it. Before checking the price tag, hold up the item and ask yourself how much you would pay for it, trying not to let the normal prices of the store influence your decision; how much is it worth to you? If the actual price is over that, leave it.

7. Make an occasion. My sister recently impulse bought a Juicy Couture dress for about £200. Everyone thought she was mad, but she’s since worn it seven times, with more occasions coming up. That’s about £30 a wear (or 7 cheap, poor quality dresses) and it’s still decreasing. An impulse buy worth having, I think you’ll agree.

8. Buy on your own terms. Don’t impulse spend because there’s a perma-tanned sales person giving you the evil eye, buy because you truly want it. Equally, don’t let a friend encourage you if your better judgement is saying “no!”

9. Draw the line. Similarly to when you spend a whole day shopping and can’t find a single thing, once you’ve parted with your cash you’re likely to get a taste for it and go wild. Impulse spending should only be done in moderation. So, if you’ve spent already, stop.

10. Question your motives. Do you desire the item because it will fit perfectly with your style? Or because it has been placed in appealing multicoloured piles, right by the front door, in beaming spotlight? Think about it and don’t be a sucker.

11. Don’t succumb to impulse at the counter. If there’s something you spot and want to buy once you’re already queued up, it’s likely you’ve fallen victim to the store’s strategic floor plan. Don’t make impulse decisions whilst under pressure or you’ll probably make the wrong choice. Get out of the queue and take a minute to decide.

12. Play your cards right. When it comes to impulse shopping, absolutely don’t, don’t, don’t spend on your card. Get out the cash. Otherwise, the fact that you may have significantly dented your budget for the month will go unnoticed…

Do you have any cheap tips to add? How do you save money impulse shopping? What are some of the worst impulse blunders you’ve ever suffered? Tell all!


Marie said...

I'm a firm believer in if you like it and think you need to have it, leave it and go back later on near the end of the day. Then, if you still like it go for it. If you worry about someone taking the last one in your size, most shops will be happy to hold it for you until the end of the day.

This sort of happened with a gorgeous dress I saw in TopShop in one town - I left it, but wish I'd bought it; a month later it popped up in my local so I had to snatch it up.

Sara said...

Megan, I just wanted to tell you what a perfect site Charade is. I'd rather read your blog than a thousand glossy fashion mags.
I think I might need to print this list off and keep it in my purse!
Thank you so much for all the hard work!

Sara x

Voila Megan said...

Marie - Great tip. I often do the same and find I forget about the thing within half an hour! That's how I know it would have been a mistake to buy.

Sara - Thank you so much! It means so much to me to hear people say that and really spurs me on to work harder. ♥

Anonymous said...

(hey, first-time commenter)

I'm a horrible CYBER-impulse-shopper! I will get online and browse for hrs, then buy something just because it looks good on the mannequin. As a poor college student, I generally try not to succumb to these impulse but it's definitely hard lol. I once bought a beautiful dress online that fit me horribly around the bust. It was quite the disappointment. My solution is to window shop online very leisurely, (when I have the time to make sound & lucid decisions), and if I like an item I try to make time to go to the store and try it on. This gives me the time to think it over, and also the ability to test the fit of the clothes. If it doesn't look good on me, it is not worth the purchase.

mpino said...

That's a great check list to have when you have one of those days that can only be cured with a night of shopping. I get the impulse syndrome just about every Tuesday when Anthropologie puts new stuff out on sale. I've been better recently and have been questioning a lot of my motives on purchasing a new skirt or shirt I don't need.

Melissa said...

Thanks for posting this. Invaluable checklist. I've noticed that if I can't get a piece out of my head for a few days - weeks, (it literally haunts me), then I should get it. Thank goodness so far I've felt that way about a winter coat and a bag for work. ;o)

Jessica said...

Excellent advice! I'm a horrible impulse shopper, but fortunately for me I've been lucky enough to only buy things on impulse that were under $10 (for the most part). I'm excellent at taking advantage of sales! But evens till, my shopping adds up. Buying that top for $6.99 makes it easy to justify buying those jeans for $14.99, since I've completed an outfit for about $20. It gets bad, trust me:)

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