If there’s one thing we know about shopping a sale, it’s that our most successful retail deals are the fruition of an intense game of chicken between consumer and retailer. Me, the consumer, waiting semi-patiently on the tracks for the price to drop and the retailer enticing me with whatever item I really want, hurling toward me like a moving locomotive. Of course there are times when we pay full price, we’re frugal, not cheap. But there are also times when the price is just too high. In those cases, here are things we consider to try and get the best deal.
Know the retailer: Are there any potential sales coming up? Depending on the brand, you can almost guarantee that there will be an upcoming sale. Is there a holiday this month? Is it almost black friday (a holiday in and of itself)? What season is it and what season is the item? If new inventory is coming in, this item will have to go and they’ll be willing to move pieces at a lower price. If we are talking designer or even lululemon you will just have to decide if the item is really worth the list price because a sale item is most likely not in your future.
Be strategic: There is a risk to waiting for a sale. The item could sell out before you have the chance to snag it. Make sure to consider what kind of sales the retailer has had in the past. If they are stingy when it comes to percentages off, it’s probably not worth the wait. If you know them to have bangin’ deals every once in a while, you could save big. Step 2 sub-step A: Master percentage math in your head.
Know yourself: This is the most important. This is when Marie Kondo’s advice comes most in handy, in the store. Does this item spark enough joy to pay full price? Does it spark enough joy to wait for it? Will you feel regret if you don’t buy it and it goes out of stock? If you think you are willing to pay full price, how many times do you think you will wear it? Do you like it enough that it doesn’t matter? Is the quality worth the price? Some things don’t have to go on sale to be worth purchasing.
Subscribe: I’m sure everyone has been offered the massive “10% off your first purchase” for signing up for a brand’s email list but the email list isn’t only a one time benefit. If you’re waiting for the perfect price, being on the email list will make you one of the first shoppers to know when a sale hits. Plus, you might get extra bonuses or money off as an email insider. Another way to stay up to date is to follow the brand on social media. Getting all of those emails may fill up your inbox, but when it comes to frugal shopping, these tools are necessary to strike when the price is right.
This process is the internal dialogue that runs through my head anytime I make a clothing purchase. It’s saved my wallet but it’s also helped me stay true to what I really want. I’ve found less and less that I buy anything I end up disliking after a short time. It’s a way to build a capsule wardrobe of any varying size. This capsule isn’t only about versatility and minimalism, but about value.