after-christmas sale frenzy: how to spend wisely


I hope you had a lovely holiday.  My day was perfectly relaxing with just the right amount of FaceTime with family members (including watching my 3 and 5 year old nephews go ape crazy over their gifts).  But more on that later; I will be posting on the cioppino we made because it turned out incredible.  I am attempting to brave the mall at some point this week and with that will inevitably come sales, long customer service lines for returns (can you believe Husband did not like his leather gloves with tech capabilities?), and pushy salespeople trying to clear out the remaining winter 2012 merchandise.  It’s a great time of year to buy winter clothes and electronics yet it is also easy to fall into the sale trap.  I adore a good sale, honestly, yet find the sale trap (i.e., buying something that is on sale because it’s on sale yet never wearing/using it and it is then relegated to spend its life taking up room in the closet, nonreturnable and guilt-inducing with every glance at the still-attached tag) extremely frustrating and wasteful.  I’ve been able to weed out the non-worthy sale items by asking myself these six questions when contemplating purchasing an item on super sale with an unfriendly return policy:

1. Have I been vying for this item for several months yet could not justify purchase at full price?  I tend to stalk things online and will wait, and wait, until it goes on sale.  Win.

jcrew sale

2. Am I familiar with this brand?  For example, if this is a brand I normally shop I know the sizes, etc, and feel more comfortable buying something that is a final sale item.


3. How trendy is this item (e.g., snakeskin pants)?  True, it’s best to purchase trendy items that are inexpensive and put more money towards classics, yet then I feel like I am buying something just because it is on sale…which usually means it’s on the way out.

trendy pants

4. Do I wear a version of this item frequently, ensuring this new addition will get plenty of wear as well?  

tory burch cardigan

(I live in open cardigans like this and know I will wear any version plenty.  Hello extra 25% off!)

5. Do I actually have the money for this item or am I caught up in a frenzy of fear and illogic that it will sell out and I’ll forever regret not buying it?  True, I have regretted not buying a sale item (an amazing DVF wrap dress at Nordstrom Rack stills haunts my sister) but never when I just could not afford it.  If the funds aren’t there, they aren’t there.  And I’ve learned that the hard way, too.

money cake pops6. Do I feel the need to buy this immediately because the sale has a closing time (for example, Rue La La)?  Will I feel the same about it tomorrow?  Don’t let these websites stress you into purchasing something that you’re not 100% sure about.  Wait a few hours, or a day, and if it’s still there and you still want it then take the plunge.

I hope these lessons help in the end of the year, after-Christmas, New Years sales frenzy that is upon us.  Now, go out and spend those gift certificates wisely!

{Images via Pinterest, J.Crew, and Tory Burch}

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