Monday, August 11, 2008

Maximize Your Summer Sales Debauchery

I read a lot of personal finance blogs and can certainly relate to Madame X's feeling that I don't do enough when compared to other financial bloggers. Someone is always saving, planning ahead and just stockpiling more than I am. In some ways reading stories of fast loan payoffs and great savings is inspiring. Sometimes it just casts doubt on my own finances.

Notes from the Frugal Trenches writes on why she is not tempted by summer sales:

I've been spending a fair amount of money on clothing lately. I grew up weighing around 120lbs but during a particularly depressing year jumped to 140-145lbs. Unfortunately during my depression I never imagined I'd regain my figure and subsequently donated/garage saled almost everything I owned. Now that life is cheerier I'm back to 120lbs, 19.75bmi and have a sparse closet.

So here are my tips for MAXIMIZING summer sale purchases:

1. Buy stuff you can wear year round Thanks to the miracle of layers this the perfect time to buy stuff you can wear under sweaters this winter.

2. When in doubt black and white are solid color choices Before working in fashion I never realized color palettes changed with the season - I know I'm a disgrace to the gender. Black and white are safe year round bets.

3. Look for further discounts I have no qualms about opening store cards for discounts. Also keep an eye out for smaller, less obvious ways to save. At Mandees earlier this week I was able to save 20% by texting a number that was on a sign by the register. They texted me back a savings code which I gave the cashier.

4. Shop out of season Believe it or not some stores still have wintry garb for 75%-90% off. I know the last thing you want to do is try on a sweater over a tube top but you'll be glad to have it in a few months!

5. Don't look at the price tag first I'm guilty of this one - something will be marked done enough to be the type of bargain I just can't refuse! At my last garage sale a lot of these bargains" were sold for even less than I paid. I've learned the slickdeal effect is not just an-line phenomena :(

6. Don't set out to shop I never go to the mall expecting to buy clothing. I tend to buy things piecemeal over long periods as they strike my fancy. Some of my friends go out with $200 and don't come home until its been spent. Foolishness. If stuff doesn't make you happy just go home.

7. Make sure items can be returned Some stores can be sketchy about accepting returns on sale items. When in doubt use AMEX. They will accept your return even if the store won't.

8. Use AMEX Wether you think that new dress will become a family heirloom or plan on only wearing it to full moon raves, make sure you pay with AMEX. Look at what it says right on their page: "Pull a loose string on your new sweater and left with a giant hole? Good thing you have Purchase Protection"

9. Stop Buying the Same Stuff Unless you wear a uniform or just enjoy a uniform look - stop buying the same stuff! Chances are if you own five similar items, four of them are not the ideal fit for you and should be returned or garage saled.