Monday, December 20, 2010

Shopping Style and Flash Sales

I've recently decided it would be best if I did not buy clothing for a year. I have far more clothing than I need but for now am done narrowing down my closet. By not buying clothing I will be able to focus on what I already have and (to use a hackneyed phrase) shop my closet.

Through a little self examination, I've come to the conclusion that I tend to shop as a way to treasure hunt. I don't channel my inner pirate and map my way across the department store, but instead I spend hours of my time filtering every sale rack, every aisle of a thrift store... turning over every knickknack and examining every clothing item. I search for items that strike my fancy in a particular, long-lasting way but also meet my standard in price vs. retail value.

Becoming self-aware of my reason for shopping has made not shopping a little easier. Right now, I've decided that if I need something, I need something. Which means I should buy this item and only this item.
Example: My winter coat is a black, wool pea coat made by Calvin Klein. Last year, it fit like a glove... but now the top button stays open. I went to the mall this Saturday with a friend from work and tried on five similar coat from the same designer and have decided that my waist is too small for a 10 and my chest is too large for an 8 for this season's Calvin Klein coat line. However, I still need a winter coat that zip/buttons to the top. This is the frozen tundra of the Midwest that I live in. I chose to purchase a Columbia medium weight coat in a Medium. Which fits perfectly, I want to add.

Then, I got the hell out of there.

I'm making a point in all future purchases to only use store cards when a discount is provided for store card users. I paid for this purchase on my everyday credit card which has an interest rate much lower than a store card's.

Which brings me to section two of this blog entry. I am closing all store cards that I do not use. I am keeping my Younker's card (for use that in Wisconsin), my Macy's card (for all future Minnesota, Mall of America shopping), and my Old Navy Card (for all basic clothing purchases). This might seem like a lot of store cards to keep but I've closed four accounts this weekend and am calling Maurice's in the morning. It shouldn't hurt my credit too horribly, because all of these accounts have been inactive for over six months.

Finally, I recently read an article published by Jezebel on Flash Sales. This article has reinforced my belief that "limited time" offers are scams. Without fail, I recoil at any sales pitch that is offered "for the next 48 hours" or "until close today." Mostly, because I watch a lot of TV and have seen make-believe con artists fool their marks into rushed decision making. Outside of treasure hunting... I don't fall prey to flash sales or BOGO offers or even coupons. If you're offered $10 off a $50 purchase... that's 20%. That is not a sale. If it isn't 50% off... it isn't a sale. If you didn't even want it... you aren't saving money.

My dad always would correct someone who would deliver a sales pitch claiming to "save" you money if you buy an item for $40 that is normally $50. "You aren't saving money; you just aren't spending as much money." If you want to save money you just take $10 and stick it in a savings account. Now, you have saved $10... and come to think of it you could just not buy anything and put away $50.

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