Money Management: How To Splurge The Bargain Hunter Way

shoppingI am constantly asked do I spend a lot of money on clothes and shoes. Well…yes, but in the long run. When I compare my shopping to that of most around me I find that I use a totally different way of thinking and technique. There are a few basic rules I give myself when I am ready to “splurge” spend:

1. Shop around.
You can definitely find all the trends pop up in many of the well-known stores but what is it worth? Department stores love to advertise all of the trends by name brand companies and it should be no surprise that they come with a steep price tag. If it is an item that you absolutely love and more importantly will look good in (hey some trends are not for everybody) then don’t be afraid to leave it in the store and check out smaller chains for that very similar look. This is when online shopping is ideal because you can pull up multiple windows and compare prices all at once from the comfort of your room. Not only are you saving time but you ultimately save money.

2. Set a limit.
Now this is different from setting a budget. The budget is going to be how much you spend overall while the limit is what you are willing to spend on a particular item. For example whenever I am shopping around I always have my limits in mind. I have come to a point now that when I am browsing any online store that I immediately go to the sale’s tab, sort the items from low to high, and stop looking when it reaches a certain price. This comes with a lot of discipline but really becomes easy if you follow the first step because you learn that there’s always going to be another store that has them for less. Next time you shop try this; for a complete outfit (top, bottoms and shoes) set your limit for your top at $8, your bottoms at $10 and your shoes at $20. This is very easy to do with stores such as Wetseal who always offer an additional discount off of their clearance section, Forever21 that have the “Style Deals” section and Shoedazzle who offer a $15 clearance section for VIP members.

3. Set a Budget
As mentioned above, your limit and your budget are going to be two different things. Why? Well 9 times out of 10 you are going to be purchasing from different stores and if shopping online you have to consider shipping and tax. So be realistic with your budget both with your income and your source of shopping. My budget ranges from month to month depending on several things. Such as, am I planning a trip, what priorities (bills) do I have to take care of first, what sales are happening at the time and I work three jobs to support my habits so most of the time it’s based on how many hours I raked in. So lets say $100 is your shopping money for the month. My biggest problem is that I LOVE shoes and would rather buy shoes all day everyday, then realize that it’d illegal for me to walk around with only shoes on (I know, such a cruel world we live in!). So try to find a balance in your budget where you split it and set aside have on shoes and half on the rest of the outfit. If you follow my limit plan above you can easily come out with items or outfits with the $100.

4. Stick to 1-3.
There is nothing worse than having buyers remorse on something you thought you absolutely needed. A lot of splurges are due to that extra income or just finding a great deal at a store, but these two scenarios together can be a recipe for disaster.  First, you might not have had the opportunity to buy yourself anything for a while and you feel that you deserve to get that new blazer plus the shoes that match.  Second, both the blazer and the shoes are on sale so maybe you decide to buy multiple blazers and get the shoes and a purse you also found on sale.  Finally you find yourself at the register with all these sale items that add up.  Yes I speak so in detail because this has happened to me…multiple times.  If you only remember one thing from all this, remember this step because this step is just a reminder of steps 1-3.

Don’t expect to be this amazing budget friendly fashionista right from the start because that is not going to happen. Instead I encourage you to make mistakes. I did. A few Ramen noodle cups for lunch in a row and I learned my lesson rather quickly. Enjoy a responsible splurge  with these tips all on your dime with Elle Woods.  Happy Splurging!