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Tuesdays With Meli: 10 Shopping Tips From A Shopaholic

Alright y'all - let me be real honest. I have a shopping problem. I prefer to think of myself as a "Retail Therapist". For me there are few things that can compete with the high of discovering an amazing sale or deal. The excitement of wandering through the mall armed with a hot Starbucks and some money to spend. My absolute favorite is lounging in my PJs shopping online from the comfort of my bed. So before you read any further - you have been warned and please accept my apology in advance for most likely adding more fuel to your shopping addictions but hopefully these tips will help you shop smarter and save money too.

1) SLEEP ON IT. Someone once told me if you really want something - you'll still want it in the morning. This has been the best advice I've ever gotten when it came to purchasing. I am an impulse shopper. I see something - I love it - I buy it. I'll sometimes say to myself "just get it now, you can always return it if you go home and change your mind." Don't fall into this trap. I hardly ever return anything. It takes way more effort to go back to the store and you will usually talk yourself out of it. If you instead go home and take the night to think about it - more often then not I realize I really don't want it that bad. Of course there are exceptions to this rule like major sales, only one in your size, and pre-owned purchases, but in general it's a really good rule to follow.

2) IF THERE'S ANY DOUBT - WALK AWAY. I can't tell you how many times I try something on and have a few minor concerns. For example: it hits a little weird around the waist or it's not a color I usually wear. If you have even the tiniest of concerns about a piece for your wardrobe don't buy it. The doubts only get stronger when you get it home and chances are you will rarely if not never wear it. I like to think of those doubts as the Jiminy Cricket of my fashion sense. If you listen closely and let it be your guide it will usually steer you in the right shopping direction.

3) DRESS FOR THE BODY YOU HAVE NOW. If it doesn't fit you now - DO NOT BUY IT. Don't do that thing where you buy and say you're going to lose the weight. I have done this so many times and let me be straight with you: I have NOT lost the weight. These pieces of clothing are just gathering dust in my closet. Shop for what fits you now and what makes you feel confident in your body now. Going to your closet to be greeted by a collection of clothing that you can't squeeze into is depressing - not motivating. If you don't want to buy clothing for your current size - buy shoes and accessories. Once you actually lose the weight you can buy the smaller size.

4) INVEST IN QUALITY STAPLES. Never spend much on a trendy piece of clothing but always buy the best in the staple items for your wardrobe. Over time you'll actually save money by doing this because you won't have to constantly replace those items. You should have a great pair of jeans, classic black pants, a good pair of nude & black pumps, an elegant white button down top, a timeless coat, and of course a little black dress.  You can tell a staple piece from a trendy one by thinking - is this something that would have been in style 10 years ago and is still in style today? Classic items never go out of style. For example: a skinny dark wash jean will always be current but a distressed boyfriend jean or light washed bell bottom jean will fade in and out of style. 

5) SHOP PRE-OWNED. I have an unhealthy obsession with Poshmark. It is without a doubt my favorite place to shop and I literally check it before I even get out of bed each morning. I love discovering amazing items and getting them for incredibly low prices. The best thing about shopping on here is you can negotiate. You can offer what you think the item is worth and more often then not - they will work with you. I am a huge fan of Zara shoes. More than half of mine are easily from Zara and Poshmark is the best place to get your hands on them. I bought 2 pairs yesterday and only spent $27 total. You should also hit up your local thrift stores. I have found so many amazing items while thrifting and almost all of them cost me less than $5. Check and see if the thrift stores in your area have email lists or Facebook pages because you can usually get coupons for certain days and save even more. My favorite thrift shop emails a coupon for half off your purchase 2 Mondays a month.

6) SIGN UP FOR THE EMAILS. I know it's annoying to sign up for all the sites you shop from  - you get some serious spam for sure. I created a special email account just for when I sign up for a store's newsletter. You end up with some amazing coupons and sale alerts in your inbox by doing this. You should always check it before purchasing to make sure you are saving the most possible (also check Retail Me Not for coupons). One tip: if you have an absolute favorite store that rarely has sales - send that one to your primary email. I am obsessed with Zara & Gorjana but their sales are few and far between so I want to make sure to never miss them. They are the only stores that have my primary email address.

7) SHOP IN THE RIGHT FRAME OF MIND. Have you heard the rule never go to the grocery store hungry? The same applies to shopping. Not that you can't go shopping hungry but your mind needs to be in the right place. Think zen. Don't go shopping mad, don't go shopping sad, and definitely don't go shopping in a rush. You'll make poor buying decisions. You end up chosing things in haste or frustration. When I'm sad or angry I tend to buy things I really don't even want that much. I'm very impulsive when I'm grumpy.

8) BE PREPARED. It's always smart to embark on your shopping trip looking your best. This means fix your hair and put on your makeup. Haven't you noticed how you can't focus on anything but how poorly you look when you go shopping in lazy mode? Those fitting room lights are harsh enough - don't make the experience even harder on yourself. Most important: plan your undergarments accordingly. Don't shop commando in your yoga pants and sports bra. This will make trying things on a nightmare. Wear a nude panty - preferably a thong or line free style. Think about your shopping mission. For example: if you're looking for a formal look - wear your spanx and your strapless bra. Pack some heels in your bag. This way you can really visualize how the items will look. 

9) CREATE A WISHLIST. Don't go shopping just waiting for something to catch your eye. Create a list of the items you really want and need in your wardrobe. Make this list over time - not in the driver's seat of your parked car before you hit up the mall. This should be thought out and constantly edited (though NEVER editing while shopping). This way when you go shopping if the item you are about to buy is not on your list - you can easily recognize it as an impulse buy. Put the item back, go home, and refer to rule #1. 

10) EMBARK ON AN OUTFIT HUNT. We all have those items hanging in our closet just waiting for the missing ingredients to make it a fabulous outfit. Check your closet and find these lonely pieces, for example: I have a vibrant printed skirt that I can never find the right top for in my closet. I love this skirt but it never gets worn. Grab items like that and toss them in your bag before shopping. Then you have a quest to find the missing pieces of your outfit. It's a satisfying feeling when the purchase you make results in an amazing outfit built from something you already own.

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