I find it almost an achievement to track down an on-trend piece at a reduced price. I know some people reading this may be thinking this means I’m into the whole ‘fast fashion’ approach; buy it, wear it once, throw it away, but I don’t do that either. I’m a little bit of a hoarder, I do genuinely believe that if you take care of something and hold onto it long enough it will come back into style.
Obviously, I have bought things in the past in a sale or a vintage find that I now look at wondering what I was thinking, but most of the time I know it will be my style and fit in with my wardrobe; the reduced price is just a real bonus. I’m also responsible with my clothing and always either recycle it, sell it or donate it to a charity shop. When I was a student, I only worked part time and got used to watching my money and made sure not go crazy buying full price clothes. This has helped me not go too crazy when shopping on a full time wage, allowing me to save at least a little!
Life is too short to sit in worrying about money, not that I’m saying go out and get yourself into debt either, but I do think you can still have a great life of going out and enjoying things without spending an absolute fortune. This is where my sale shopping skills have come into play; I’ve always had an eye for a bargain and with this I have still managed to treat myself to some new items without fearing (too much) for my bank account. I thought I’d share a few of the rules I live by in my sale shopping in the hope you can enjoy the power of a bargain, practically guilt free shopping in the summer sales…
Evaluate your wardrobe
There’s no point going and buying a bargain if it won’t go with anything else in your wardrobe. I like to keep a note of what I’m lacking, usually when I’m getting ready and think that my outfit would look better with a specific colour of blazer, for example, or style of bag. I keep this in mind when I’m out shopping and if I find something in the sale which fits the bill, I don’t feel guilty buying it as I know I’ll wear it.
The great thing about mid-season and summer sales is that they normally start on a weekday (hello Zara and Topshop in particular) so, if you can, pop in before work or get up early to online shop and get the best bargains. Some sales even go online at midnight so you can shop before everyone else has even realized its on – the best! If you need to wait until the weekend, get in for the shop opening so you can browse in a relatively quiet/tidy environment.
Take a Friend
If you are heading to the sales on a mission, it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed with what looks nice on without an opinion. Be selective – serious shoppers only! My mum and sister are my best people to go shopping with as we all shop the same and will go off to find our own pieces then come back together and give our opinions. Yes, a family of shopaholics – the economy can thank us later…
Check the Return Policy
Most high street shops will let you return sale items, but there are some who have different conditions (I’m looking at you, New Look, who now only offer you an exchange of a sale item if you buy it in-store). Some also reduce your return policy from 28 to 14 days, but – as long as you know you can return – I sometimes like to buy everything I like then try it on when I get home and decide whether to keep it then. It also gives you a chance to try it on with other pieces in your wardrobe and see how it goes together.
Although signing up to emails from your favourite shops can get pretty annoying (so. many. emails.) it does give you a heads up on any upcoming sales, offers or (my fave) free next day delivery. If you really cannot stand your inbox being filled with junk through the year, set up a separate email address just for this kind of thing and keep an eye on any sale alerts.
Wait it out
If there are a few items you like, but aren’t totally fussed over, put them back and wait a week or two. If you’re still thinking about them by then, go back and see if they’re still there – if they are, I think that’s fates way of telling you that you should buy (or that’s what I tell myself anyway) and chances are it will be reduced further by then! Win/win.
To really get the best sale bargains, I’m always prepared to do a few rounds of the shops and have a good dig through even the messiest of sale rails. Hardly glamorous, but I’ve managed to pick up some amazing pieces including my favourite leather Topshop Boutique heels reduced from £95 to £15 so it really can be worth it.
Set a Budget
Never has my iPhone calculator been used more than in the midst of a busy sale. It’s easy to grab everything that takes your fancy, but all those £10 and £15 dresses and tops add up. Keep track of how much it will cost all together and then do an evaluation of your purchases to pick your favourites and still be in budget.
The Perfect Sale Shopping Outfit
For a full-on sale shopping day, think about your outfit. A bag with a shoulder strap is ideal to keep your hands free and only carry the essentials in it so you’re not weighed down. Wear things easy to get on and off if you plan on trying things on (for summer, a simple maxi, sandals and a denim jacket are great to keep cool in stuffy shops and quick to change in and out of). If you’re looking for something in particular, for example a cut price race day outfit, wear simple neutral coloured underwear which won’t distract from the piece you’re trying on. Oh, and don’t forget your purse or phone!
Take the Car
When I can, I will usually drive if I plan to buy a lot as I hate being weighed down by bags. A quick trip back to the car to unload your sale purchases will make you feel much better than fighting your way onto a packed rush hour train, trying to squeeze your new belongings into the smallest space possible.