Sunday, December 28, 2008
Sale Is a Four Letter Word
No, not the one you're thinking of. I'm talking about another four letter word that can trick us into going into debt and leave us still proclaiming "I have nothing to wear". S-A-L-E. It's one we're seeing everywhere these days, even in those unexpected places that never have sales (no, don't worry, I'm not even going to tempt you here). But buyer beware: don't let a sale sign turn you into a foolhardy shopper. Read on for some tips on keeping your wits about you amid a sea of discounts.
We all know the lure of the sale. For one reason or another, though, the items that have been marked down are not always right for you - they're too small, not your color, you don't really need them, etc. Yet they've been marked down to 75% off and you just can't walk away from a deal this good. My advice - walk away anyway. It doesn't fit, it's not your color and you don't need it! Enough said.
But for many of us, it's not enough. Even I found myself in a cute little boutique recently, trying on a Michael Kors sweater that was marked down to about $50. It was gorgeous! I loved the cut of it. I loved the color. But it was a Medium and I'm a Large. I was tempted, but after a long, hard look at the big picture, I realized I may as well be throwing that $50 down the drain because if it didn't fit, it woudln't look good, and, hey, I'm an image consultant and my business is all about looking good. And I'm here to help you from making costly mistakes in your closet. Here are a few tips to help save your sanity, as well as your bank account:
1/ Make a list and check it twice - if you shop only for items on your list that you truly need, you'll be less tempted by that pair of purple satin mules that are only $20!
2/ Use the Buddy System - take a discriminating friend (leave your s.o. at home with the kids) who will be brutally honest with you about whether something looks good or not. Communicate your goal of shopping smart to her and ask her to help you keep it in check when swoon at the sale bin.
3/ Look long and hard - Is the item in question something that works for you? Does it fit? Is it your color? Do you NEED it? Would you pay full price for it? Don't settle for less just because it's a bargain. Chances are, if it's something you wouldn't have thought twice about at full price, it's going to just sit in your closet. That's money down the drain.
4/ Do a CPW Analysis (cost per wear) - If an item is on sale for $20, and it's something you may wear once or twice, then it costs you $10 - $20 per wear. If it's $300 full price, and something you plan to have in your wardrobe for the next 5 years, then divide that out by 100 (or more). That comes out to $3 per wear. Which is a better bargain in the long run?
5/ Remember, you're worth full price! Despite what the economy is doing, this is a powerful message. "I'm worth full price". This may mean that you forego buying 5 items on sale and buying just 1 at full price. Use the formula above and make your choices wisely. If you blow $200 on a closet full of sweaters that are just ok, but were a steal, you probably won't wear them nearly as much as that $200 pair of jeans that fit you like a glove and go with every top in your closet.
6/ Shop Smart - if there's a jacket you've been eyeing all season and you can now get it for half off, then I say go for it! But if it's something you've never considered, then use the above to see if it's really a great fit for you.
7/ Nourish yourself (and those with you) - shopping on an empty stomach, or worse, after skipping meals and eating a sugary donut, will not put you in the right frame of mind for mindful shopping. Instead of rushing into the stores, take time out for a healthy meal or snack, and carry a protein bar or trail mix and some water with you. Don't forget the kids. Nothing clouds our vision as much as hungry, whiny kids!
So go forth and hit the malls! Just take a deep breath and shop mindfully. Your closet will thank you and so will your wallet!