I’m a huge bargain shopper. It’s a quality that has been instilled in me by my mother who is awesome with money and never spends more than she has too on anything…Unless the quality warrants it. And that’s an important thing to remember when you’re spending money. This applies to nearly everything you buy- including food- but we’re going to focus on clothes/shoes/accessories in this post. So when should you spend a few extra bucks, and when is it okay to go for the cheaper option?
When to spend
1) Depending on the item, accessories can fall into both categories. If an accessory is versatile and can be paired with bargain items to make them look more expensive than they are, it may be worth the money.
Remember this picture from my Belts 101 post? I bought that belt during a BOGO sale and didn’t actually pay the list price ($38). But it’s still the priciest item I’m wearing (undergarments don’t count!). Because python is a neutral and I wear belts a lot, this item was worth the price.
2) Anything that sees constant use- like athletic shoes, a winter coat or boots, work clothes, etc- is likely to fall apart if you go with the cheaper alternative. So in those cases, spending a few extra bucks may be worth it
3) Don’t forget, it’s okay to splurge occasionally! Now I’m not encouraging you to spend so much on one item that you have to eat cereal for dinner every night for the rest of the month. But if you really love an item, you have the money available, and there is no cheaper alternative (or the alternative is so cheaply made that it’s not even worth the saved $$), go for it!
When Not to Spend
1) You’ve probably heard the old saying, “splurge on classics, save on trends.” This is definitely something I follow when I’m shopping. But to make it more generalized, if you’re not going to get a lot of use out of something, you probably shouldn’t spend too much on it.
Turquoise isn’t really a “trend.” It can be worn any time of the year and, as far as I’m concerned, never really goes out of style. But I admit, I don’t wear this bracelet too often. And that’s okay, because I bought this for $7 at a flea market. Yes, you read that right, that bracelet is not real turquoise and I only paid $7 for it. That hasn’t affected the number of compliments I’ve gotten on it though. Bargain shopping is a beautiful thing!
2) Sometimes you will find two items that are nearly identical in both appearance and quality but have significantly different prices. This doesn’t happen often, but it happened to me today!
For a long time, I was not a fan of Uggs. But things change, especially when you suddenly find yourself living in a climate where boots are a necessity not a fashion accessory- and one that you wear almost nonstop for at least 3 months out of every year. Last Winter I found some boots at Kohl’s that had the same design as Uggs. I bought them in grey and brown, but by the time I decided I wanted them in black too, they had sold out. It was starting to get late in the season for boots (for the retail world anyway) and I wasn’t able to find anything similar at other stores for a reasonable price. Fast forward to this year. I found these boots at DSW and have been drooling over them for awhile now. But at $59, I knew I’d have to save up for them. I especially wasn’t going to spend that much money on boots when it was still 80 degrees out!
Last winter when I was trying to find the above mentioned boots, I found some at Target. They were just sold out of the black color in my size. I figured now might be a good time to look for them again, before it starts snowing and boot sales go through the roof. Well, I found them again! And at $32, it was much less of a burden on my budget. They’re genuine suede, they’re comfortable, and I think they’re pretty darn similar, don’t you?
Really, the only visible difference is that they don’t have the brand name emblazoned on the back like Uggs and Bear Paw boots. Granted, winter boots are something that you wear constantly and if you buy a cheap brand, they might fall apart. Salt and slush can be especially hard on cheap boots if you wear them too often. However, I’ve always had good experience with Target’s Xhiliration brand, they’re suede not synthetic, and they’re not the only black winter boots I own. With all of this in mind, plus the fact that they were the last black pair in my size, I snatched them up! So remember to keep your eyes open for bargains like these.