Why Did I Buy That?

We’ve all been there. Trawling through clearance racks at end-of-season sales, dazzled by shiny must-have accessories, lured in by 50 percent-off price tags.

That bright yellow handbag is too good a deal to pass up! It would be a sin not to grab it, right?

Back home, without the aid of fancy displays and accent lighting, the thrill of the buy evaporates. And stripped of its pretty tissue packaging, the item you were so eager to have now seems kind of lame. Regret starts seeping in – ‘Why did I buy this?’

But it was on sale…

At one time my closet was brimming with such impulse buys, but after purchasing pink cropped skinny jeans last summer, I’ve finally learned my lesson. At home I realized my preschooler had an identical pair.  So it’s best to stick with what you know and what works for you. And as for jeans, blue, black and white only for yours truly from now on. I’ll leave the pink ones for toddlers.

Of course the guilt is compounded if you just splurged on a high-ticket item. You can always return it, but why waste precious time.

So here are five ways you can curb the urge to splurge and avoid buyer’s remorse:

1. Plan your shopping trip carefully. What items do you really need right now? Scrutinize your closet and see what basics you could use and what can be a ‘treat’ item. Do you need a new dress for a formal event, like a wedding for example? If so, decide beforehand on styles and colors you’d like to try, and check if you also need accessories and shoes. Know your wardrobe before you leave the house so you’re sure everything you buy will match what you already own. Take photos on your phone if it helps, then you won’t second-guess yourself. And make sure you buy it because you really like it, not because it’s the latest trend or fashion and your friend Marlene has one. And speaking of BFF’s – take a practical, sensible girlfriend with you (lure her in with the promise of lunch), someone who will give you honest feedback and stop you from veering off course.

2. Have a strict budget for the week, month, or even year if you can plan that far ahead. If you find it hard to stick to a set amount, take only cash and leave the credit cards at home to avoid any spontaneous splurging. It’s amazing how we think twice about purchases when we have to budget and pay cash.

3. Avoid buying things just because they’re super cheap and on sale. It doesn’t save you money in the long run especially if you never wear or use it. We all have the ‘results’ hanging forlornly in our closets, abandoned, unworn items, pristine with tags, the stuff that ends up on eBay!

4. With outerwear, boots and shoes, less is definitely more, and when you have less you can spend a little more on quality items that will last. Stick to classics that will never go out of style. Knee-high boots in black or brown, either heels or flats (or one of each if you can afford it!), and every woman should own a pair of stylish black pumps and a pair of black or brown flats. This also applies to a good winter wool coat that will last for years, a go-to, versatile bag (one for daytime, one for evening), and everyone’s must-have closet favorite – a trusty LBD!

5. For every item you buy—get rid of something in your closet, especially if it’s something you never wear. Not only will this free up space for those newbies, it will help reinforce what clothes you really like and what styles suit you best. What are your favorite outfits? What feels comfortable? What do you feel good wearing?

Sales are great when you plan ahead and snag a real bargain. But it’s only a good deal if you need it, will wear/use it, and you love it!

Happy shopping!