A Woman's Guide to Smart Shopping - Tips and Tactics

It's no secret that I love clothes. I love clothes shopping too. I love wearing pretty things, and know how much clothes shopping can be dangerous financially even to the otherwise frugal woman. Hopefully you'll find these tips on smart clothes shopping, by reader Hayden, helpful to you in your attempts to dress well while keeping costs down.

Every woman could use some tips on how to shop smart - after all, we spend so much of our lives shopping that it would come in extra handy if we had ingenious tips and tactics to ensure we get are hands on the best, for less. Some of us are pro shoppers, and then there’s others who are impulse buyers - which is probably the most dangerous category to fall under. But, if we honest, every one of us are guilty of this! 

Whether we’re bargain hunters, impulse buyers, pro shoppers - or anything else- we all have one thing in common; we want a banging wardrobe, we want to look good, we want to feel good, and we don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to make these wardrobe dreams come true. We also want to stay up to date with the trends, we want to improve on our own personal style and we want to have options - plenty of them! So, what if I told you that our helpful guide could get you looking like a million bucks without spending a million bucks? Whether you believe it or not, we think you should give it a read anyway - because you deserve some insider secrets!

When you have a plan, it eliminates the risk of making the wrong choices, buying what you don’t need, or paying high prices for items you could get for cheaper. So, how does one ‘plan’ their wardrobe? Well, unfortunately, it involves some effort. You’ll need to pull out all those clothes that you have stacked in your closet for years - it’s time to get to the bottom of what’s in there! (Perfect time to spring-clean and find things you forgot you had). You then need to separate the summer items from the winter; separate the daywear from the nightwear, and along the way throw out what you know you’ll never wear.
Once you have separated your clothes, try to make outfits with what you’ve got. This may sound like a time-consuming task, but it really shouldn’t be - basically, you just need to know that each item has a purpose and has a ‘match’. If it doesn’t have a match, but you really like the item, think of what would go nicely with it - and then write this down on your ‘shopping list’.
Often, I find that we end up buying and buying and buying, oblivious to the fact that there are items that we really need, in order to complete a cute outfit.

After you have completed the planning stage, it’s now time to identify what you would like more of, what you really need and what you want. Perhaps you have identified that your wardrobe needs more color and prints, or maybe it could do with more basic items such as T’s and cami’s. Maybe you have realized that your wardrobe doesn’t really represent you anymore, and you would like to make a change. Whatever the case may be, write down your findings (sounds rather detective-y, but this is serious business). The findings are going to act as your ‘shopping list’ - so don’t miss this step!

Now, once you know all that you want and need, it’s now time to hunt for bargains - because they’re out there, you just need to look a little harder! The best way to find bargains (this always works for me), is to:

Follow local fashion bloggers on social media
Stores love to use local bloggers as a means of advertising - to reach out to their target audience. By following local bloggers, you’ll be able to keep up to date with a number of different in-store or online sales, of various brands. It’s also a good idea to follow your favourite stores on social media, so that you can keep track of their new merchandise and perhaps some sales, too!

Read fashion magazines
Fashion magazines are not only a great source of information regarding new trends and tips for your wardrobe but is also a place where various brands will advertise their latest sales and their new styles for the season.

Buy second-hand
There are many people who love to buy second hand because it’s the most affordable way to shop, and because the items are usually of incredible quality. (Vintage is always better, right?) If you haven’t yet given it a try, you should! You’ll find some hidden gems, for sure!

Purchasing is the fun part - but also the part where you can quickly overspend. The best ways to purchase - without having to call on debt consolidators in the not-so-distant future - is to:

Pay with cash
For some reason, working with something tangible (hard cash), helps one to visually see how much they’re spending. Swiping a card is just too easy - and one can easily forget how much money they’re spending.

Buy off-season
Buying off-season is the way to go if you’re looking for bargains. Usually when the seasons are changing from summer to winter or vice versa, the current season’s clothing will go on sale, to make space for the new season’s items. Clothing can sometimes be marked down as much as 50-75%, so it’s worth shopping during off-season!

Set price alerts
Trackif.com is a great app for those that love a good bargain (which is all of us!). Next time you fall head over heels in love with a pricey item that exceeds your budget, TrackIf.com will alert you when the price drops.

What are your favorite tips for clothes shopping wisely?
My main tips that I'd add are the following:
Only buy things that you love. Buying things because they fit, but you don't actually love them, are a good way to ensure that the clothes that you buy don't actually get worn. If you buy what you love and your clothes make you happy, you will have gotten your money's worth, instead of spending money on things that just head straight to the give-away pile since they're never worn.
Make a capsule wardrobe- strive to buy clothing items that can be mixed and matched to make different outfits- something that can only be worn with one other thing you own is a waste- multiple outfits with the same clothes is far better. Most of what I wear tends to be the same style and the same colors- jewel tones, and in solids or geometric patterns, so they can mix and match easily. This also saves on storage space as well.
Hit up clothing swaps!
And lastly, I try not to buy things that are specifically trendy, but more classic, so that way they don't go out of style, but I can wear them until they wear out.

See my disclaimer.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Excellent article I like the actual instructions on how to plan a capsule wardrobe, not just a description of what it is and why it’s desirable.

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