I've used the phrase "But it's on saaale!" to justify so many past purchases, it's not even funny. These days, I'm a little wiser. My friends can tell you about my bargain shopping skillz. My mother will tell you I find a sale wherever I go. (It's true.) But what I can NOW tell you is that being on sale isn't a good reason to buy something you'll never need! (Like the time I bought a "Happy 25-year Wedding Anniversary" guest book, in case I knew someone who would have an anniversary party? I forgot the fact that there is no scenario in my life where I'd be helping plan the party of anyone celebrating their 25th anniversary. Heh.)
|Image via here.|
So I'm here today to share with you a few questions you can ask yourself to help you distinguish which sale purchases are actually worth the purchase.
1- Can I afford it?
Because if you CAN'T, well then just put it back on the shelf...
2- Do I need it now?
And by NEED, I don't just mean WANT. Is there a legitimate need for this item? Does nothing else in your closet fit the bill for the occasion?
I find it hardest to shop when there's something specific I actually need. (Like... that one time I needed a modest black top -- preferably with 3/4 sleeves but I was willing to take whatevs -- that was fancy enough to wear with my sparkly blue skirt for a fancy work event... I didn't find one in time and had to wear something else.)
Then there are other times when you NEED something (like this pair of denim shorts), and you find it on super sale for $11, and it just totally makes your day! PS I really DID need new denim shorts! Sadly, last year's shorts were in no condition to be re-worn this summer. :(
If you NEED it, and you find it for a steal of a deal, BUY IT.
3- Will I need it later?
Maybe you don't need it right this second, but you know you'll need it later. Or in the case of the story I'm about to tell you, it's something I had needed before that I hadn't found but knew I'd need again in the future.
18 months after I was first looking for that perfect black top for my schmancy blue skirt, I found it. For $5! At H&M! You'd better believe I bought it! It'll be a top I wear over and over.
I also buy things on sale all the time that I know I'll use in the future. Like shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, etc. Also, pork chops. (True story. I bought 30 pork chops on sale for less than 50 cents each yesterday. Why? Because they were on saaale! And because that's how many came in the packs. I'll freeze them so they won't spoil, and I'll eat all of them eventually. And who knows? Maybe I'll invite you over for dinner, and you'll eat them, too. :D)
|Here's hoping the power doesn't go out again!|
4- Is this price significantly cheaper than what I'd normally pay?
This one is for the stuff you don't need NOW but will need later.
Target does this thing all the time, where they'll put a bright red SALE sticker on an item, and I grab it and get all excited... only to realize it's only, like, 17 cents cheaper than normal. Not cool, Target. Not cool. There's no point in buying something right this second, if it's only a few pennies cheaper than normal and there might be a sale (Or a coupon. COUPON!!! More on that in a future post.) down the road.
As far as clothing and shoes, I generally don't buy anything that isn't AT LEAST 50% off. I usually stick to 66-75% off (because I'm cheap), but sometimes, if I "need" it, and the 50% off price is reasonable, I'll buy it anyway. Very, VERY rarely do I buy something at regular price (like, maybe only at the Dollar Store). Just remember to check what the original price was and compare it to the sale price. Just because it's on sale, doesn't mean it's a good sale.
5- Is this the best price I'm going to find for this item?
Do a mental checklist of places you regularly shop that might have this item for cheaper. If it's not a pressing, urgent, IMMEDIATE need, and taking the 20 extra minutes to go to Store #2 means you'll save loads of dollaz ($$), put the item back on the rack!
Sometimes, I have a mental list of things I'm looking for that I haven't found for a while. For me, this list usually includes modest dresses, select business pieces, and tops that require no undershirts. Right now, this list also includes the "perfect" pair of summer wedges (ones that I could wear with shorts, pants, jeans, dresses, skirts... everything!) If I spot an item on my "list" for a really good price, I'll snag it. Check out some of the wedges I'm lovin' right now (I think my favorites are 2 and 5. But 6 were really comfy when I tried them on!):
|1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7|
Basically, if this is the cheapest you think you'll find this item, go ahead and buy it. :)
Every now and again, I'll go ahead and splurge for a sale item I don't "need" but really want. (Very rarely! And only if I have the $$ for it. And maybe sometimes as a treat to myself. :D )
But for the most part, I stick to these four rules, and I've found that I'm able to shop smarter this way. I hope this helps! Happy sale shopping! :)