Thursday, June 3, 2010

How to save money at the mall

Don't be a shopaholic like Rebecca Bloomwood!

With the gigantic, fantastic Tysons Corner Mall a stone's throw from my house, you can bet that I spend a lot of my free time perusing the racks at the many clothing stores at my fingertips. This is both a blessing (for my closet) and a curse (for my bank account). What's a recessionista to do? I like to follow these rules:

1. Pay with cash
I don't buy the whole "pay with cash because it's harder to let go of" theory that I've read about in countless magazines, but I do know a few reasons why paying in cash is the best way to shop. It goes something like this: debit card overdraft fees, credit card interest rates, slowly acquiring debt without realizing it. Plus, it's easier to set a budget-- if you have $25 cash money in your wallet, you can only spend $25. Pay with cash and save money.

2. Ask yourself if you really need this particular piece
This one seems really obvious but it's surprisingly effective. Do you really need one more LBD? Another cardigan? A furry vest? If you do, then go ahead. If you don't really really need it, put it down and move on.

3. Don't buy stuff that looks bad
Ok, so I know you do that thing in the fitting room where you try on an outfit and pose in all types of unnatural, ridiculous model poses to make it look good when you look in the mirror. I do it too. Stop doing this. To get a realistic perspective on how the outfit looks, stand about 6-7 feet away from a full length mirror, close your eyes, and stand in a way that feels natural. No skinny arm, no hip cocked to the side, and no sucked in stomach. Now open your eyes. Does it look good? If it does, consider buying it. If it doesn't don't waste your time or money on it.

4. When in doubt, walk away
I can spend a record-breaking amount of time going back and forth about a piece I'm not completely convinced I can't live without. This is the conversation I have with myself every time this happens:

It's a really cute dress
But it's kind of short
It looks really good
Yeah but it's uncomfortable
My boobs look awesome
But they're about to fall out
It's only $29.99
I can find something better
This one's good enough!

Et cetera et cetera et cetera until I'm completely disoriented and I've been hogging the stall for 20 minutes and the other customers are all getting really antsy.
Here's the truth, though: if you absolutely love something, you'll know right away. If your feelings are up in the air, take the piece off, declare out loud "I don't need this" and move on to the next item. That being said, if you're still thinking about it a few days later, it's ok to go back for it.

Well, that's all I've got for now. If y'all have any more tips I'd love to hear them!


LyddieGal said...

I too have brought home my fair share of things I really don't need. I've also belabored over some items not purchased them, then regretted it, and spent months tracking it down on eBay.

Somethings I find, somethings I don't.

I've passed up turquoise pumps twice because they pinched my toes and still wish (months later) I'd gotten them.

Cash I don't really like though. I have self control. I pay off my bills in full each month. I like knowing just where my money has gone, and not worrying about falling in love with something a few dollars over budget.

Bug said...

Oh my goodness, I have the same problem with Tysons! I try to stay away, lol. These are great tips. I need to try asking myself if I need this or that. I bet it would keep me from buying so much.

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