Shopping 101

I think shopping is something that a lot of people take for granted. You go to the store, pick out what you want and you take it home. Unfortunately, with that example you usually end up paying too much, especially for home decor items. I have been shopping for a long time now and I’m kind of a master at it. My husband used to hate it and complained that I was “always shopping.” However, once he really saw my method and realized how much money I save he started to do it too.

The big factor in my shopping method is to literally always be shopping… let me explain that.

I always have a running tally of the things that I’m looking for around my house, whether it’s a furniture item or decor or even  clothes and shoes. Sometimes I even keep a list in my purse. Step two in my process is to know the general price of the items you’re looking for and figure out how much you’re willing to pay for them. Set a budget and stick with it.

The third step is to shop. Every time I’m at a store that might carry an item on my list I browse that section to see what they might have, especially at store where I have scored big before. Of course, my personal favorite is Target (whose isn’t?) I have gotten some of the BEST deals there. Throw pillows for $5 candles for $3. Every time I go to Target I check the clearance areas, it’s a must. I know this sounds time consuming but it really only takes a few minutes, if I don’t see what I’m looking for I move on.

One major word of advice however, Don’t even bother looking for it if you’re not willing to buy it that day. Right now I’m shopping for a dining table. If I don’t want to spend $300 today I’m not even going to bother looking in the furniture sections. I would hate to find the perfect table at a great price and have to pass it up because I’m not prepared to buy it today, I would rather not know. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

The story is a little different if you’re on a time line or need a new item sooner rather than later. Right now my brain is in vacation mode. I’m looking for a new swimsuit and a birthday dress. I’ve been kind of looking since we booked a beach vacation but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for and the trip is quickly approaching. Since now I’m looking for something specific and I have a time line my shopping approach changes.

I’ve got a shopping trip planned for the specific purpose of finding these items. It’s still a few weeks out so I know I won’t be desperate and pay too much or settle for something I don’t love. My plan is to start at the cheapest place first. I might be willing to pay $100 for a dress but if I can get it for $50 why not? Start cheap and gradually work your way to the more expensive stores as your search goes on. I tend to do to an outlet mall first so I have lots of great discount options. Although this example is for clothing this counts for home decor items too, especially big purchases like couches and tables.

This method isn’t for everyone. Some people like to just go and get what they need and be done but I would much rather take my time in order to save a few bucks.

Do you have any shopping tips and tricks for me?

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