How to shop on a budget is the number one thing I always get asked whenever I have a conversation with someone about how much shopping I do (I love it! Can you tell? haha). The truth is, I don’t have a lucrative amount of money (ahhh I wish!), but that doesn’t mean you are limited. It is all about strategizing and maximizing what you have. These are my tips for how to shop on a budget. Some of these may not be surprising, but I do hope that it helps!
How to Shop on A Budget
Create a Budget
Before you even start shopping, you should have an idea what your maximum shopping expense should be. I once made a mistake right out of college buying clothes because they were on sale. Of course, I bought more than I should because they were a great deal. In the end, it resulted in me spending more than what I could afford. So before you shop, you should have a number in mind that you can spend. Typically, it should be about 10-15% of your monthly take home income (after tax). I highly recommend reading the book Shoo, Jimmy Choo. The author does an amazing job breaking down finances, budget, investments (derivative markets, stocks, etc) from a shopper’s point of view.
Filter Price from Low to High
Whenever I am online shopping, I look if there is a filter option. If they have a filter for the price from low to high, I select it. That way I know that the most affordable options are available to me first. Then when it gets to a certain dollar amount, I stop searching. Many people seem to be surprised how I am able to find so many great ‘deals’ at Nordstrom. Although Nordstrom sells high-end brands, they have so many affordable options too. The filter is key!
Create a Wishlist
If you’re ever on a website, they tend to have a wishlist option. Use it! The best feature of the wishlist option is that whenever your wishlist item is marked down, you get an alert. I love that feature because I know immediately when to jump on it before it sells out. Plus, you get added to the site’s email list and you’ll know all about their promos right away.
Did you know that if you shop my Instagram outfit, you can have a wish list too? Open the Liketoknow.it app and search ‘rdulay’. On my photos, you will notice a heart icon. If you click on that heart, you have added it to your wishlist. So if you don’t have the funds right now to shop, you can shop it later!
As much as we hate having more things in our email inbox, the promos that brands and companies share in their emails are really good. Sometimes they’re not obvious on their site. But when you are part of their email list, you get to know it right away. Why pay full price if you can get something for 40% off? If you don’t need to shop that day, just immediately delete those emails. That’s what I do to keep my email inbox under control.
Check Other Retailers
In the past year, there has been an increase in brands diversifying where their collections are being sold. This is great for us consumers because that means we have options. Different stores, brands, and retailers have their own promos and sales. Chances are the prices vary even on the same item!
For instance, did you know that J.Crew is sold at Nordstrom and Net-A-Porter? This already gives you 3 places to look at and check if the item(s) you want are marked down! J.Crew is one of the many brands that diversified where they are being sold. Also, check if any do price match. More and more retailers and department stores are doing the price match! If you are not familiar with price match, basically if you are shopping and you noticed another store with the same exact item at a lower price, you can tell the store you are currently shopping at that it is cheaper elsewhere. That current store will honor the other retailer’s marked down price.
Less is More
Sometimes it makes more sense to splurge on a specific piece that you know will last and you know you will wear multiple times. These pieces are what I call investment pieces. The upfront cost is scary, but when you think about the “cost per wear” it may be worth it. Typically, these investment pieces will last a long time. You are paying for high quality and they usually have an amazing warranty. And you can most likely create multiple outfits with these investment pieces, which leads to less shopping, which eventually leads to less spending! Hence, why here and there on the blog you see me wear pieces that are a “splurge”.
Buy Now, Save Later
Take Advantage of Big Sales
So what does this mean? Basically, if a store is currently have a big sale for an item that you know you want to buy later (or will need later), then it makes sense to purchase the item now. If you know you will eventually buy it, why pay full-price later? For instance, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale occurs once a year and primarily marks down their new arrival Fall items. For me, I know there are some Fall clothes & shoes I want to buy and wear when the temperature drops. It doesn’t make sense for me to spend full-price later when I can basically get it half off now. The spending amount I would have spent in the Fall, I just put away in my savings!
So there ya go! This is how I have learned to shop on a budget. I’m not a fan of paying full price, especially since I have applied the tips above to my shopping. It may seem overwhelming at first, but trust me, once you’ve practiced this, it will come naturally and you will maximize your shopping budget.