I’m a self-professed shopaholic, but even I have my limits. I believe in shopping smart, and while I don’t always practice what I preach, I still have plenty to preach. Here are a few key questions I think you should always ask yourself before buying something.
1. “Am I like, in love in love with this?”
This is my number one rule when shopping for anything. If I can live without it, then I will. But if it’s love at first sight, have-to-have-it kind of a feeling, then there’s really no other option.
2. “How much does this cost?”
You should probably ask yourself this before even trying something on — otherwise you might just fall in love with that fab pair of skinny jeans that just so happens to be $500. Oops.
3. “Can I afford this?”
Just because J.Lo rocked it doesn’t mean you can. Be realistic when shopping and make a budget beforehand. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received (from my Dad, who else?) is to only take a set amount of cash with you when you shop — no credit cards, no checks. Just cash. That way, you only spend the set amount you have.
4. “Will I wear this more than once?”
So you found the perfect pair of leopard print stilettos — now where are you going to wear them? To work? Probably…not. To a club? Maybe. But how often do you really go out? If you’re more of a Netflix-and-pizza kind of gal, then say no to the fancy shoes. But if you know you’re gonna rock them every weekend, go for it.
5. “Do I have anything that will match this?”
This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Sometimes you need a fresh start and a new wardrobe. Tastes change. But if you know you have absolutely nothing to go with those chevron print palazzo pants, and you know you’ll never buy anything to go with them, put them back on the rack, and walk away.
6. “Do I need this, or do I just want it?”
As (hopefully) everyone learned by age 10, there’s a major difference between wanting something and actually needing it. Do you need at least one professional blazer you can wear to a job interview? Yes. Do you need your 500th pair of Kendra Scott earrings? No. You do not.
7. “Is this on sale?”
It’s definitely not a deal-breaker if something isn’t on sale (in my opinion, anyway), but it’s always good to check — just to make sure. If it’s a significant amount less than its original price, it just might be a deciding factor. Another thing to consider is that the leopard print shoes you just have to have could go on sale in a couple weeks. Can you wait that long? Will they still be available? All valid questions to consider.
8. “Can I find this somewhere else?”
9. “Do I already have something similar to this?”
I’m 100% guilty of buying a thousand black blouses that look identical, so I have no room for judgment here. But it’s definitely something to ask yourself, anyway.
10. “Am I buying this because I like it, or because I’m bored?”
This is a serious question to ask yourself. It’s easy to want to spend money when you’re bored or upset. But you should buy the neon green crop top because you can’t live without it, not because you think it’ll make you feel better about yourself (because guess what? it won’t).
11. “How long will this fabric last?”
This is one of the most important questions to ask if you’re shopping for new clothes. From my own personal experience, I can tell you with 100% certainty to NEVER, under any circumstance, buy anything made from 100% rayon. Cotton? Cool. Polyester? Cool. Rayon? Bad. No matter how often you iron your new rayon shirt, the wrinkles will return five seconds later on the damn dot. Lesson of the day: Say no to rayon.
Elise is a writer, editor, and not-so-professional wine taster. When she’s not working, she’s watching a KUWTK marathon. Follow her on Twitter here.
Image via Unsplash